September 21st, 2015 | Rachel Parry
For this afternoon’s real wedding we are crossing the north/south border in order to share with you original Sheffield girl Laura’s big day.
She and beau Andy met in the capital and so for them it seemed only right to invite their guests from both the north & south to join them in the place they call home.
After saying their ‘I dos’ in the beautiful Islington Town Hall, the happy couple and their guests travelled on board a red double decker to a modern restaurant for the party to continue.
Highlights include Laura’s stunning Pronovias gown, pretty blush pink touches and a very cute ring bearer!
With images by Georgina Martin.
laura says: We got engaged the Christmas after our son Reuben had been born. It was on Boxing Day morning at my parents’ house, Reuben was just two-months-old. Andy asked me to marry him and it made everything perfect!
We had quite a long engagement as weren’t really financially in a position to get married when Andy asked so we waited until we were, and Reuben was a little older to be part of the experience – then we got planning. We decided on May 2nd for our wedding date, the start of spring/summer time so hoping for some sunshine and it was a bank holiday weekend.
Although I am from Sheffield I have lived in London 13 years, it’s where Andy and I met and where we dated. We had always said we wanted to get married at Islington Town Hall one day, I used to live in the area and we’d often walk past and say how lovely it was and that one day that would be us!
We had originally wanted to have the reception in a pub in East London where we had our second date but for various reasons this didn’t work out. Chiswell Street Dining Rooms was the only other place we looked at and instantly thought it fitted in perfectly with what we wanted, a relaxed day with our closest friends and family with good food, drink and a great party!
We didn’t really have a theme as such, Chiswell Street had a really lovely elegant feel to it that didn’t need a lot of dressing so I stuck to white flowers in simple pots from Ikea and lots of chalkboards for the seating plan, and signs around the venue that I bought as prints on eBay and mounted myself. I also bought chalkboards and easels for the table numbers and mini chalk heart pegs that went on everyone’s wine glass as their seating position.
I kept the colour scheme simple, opting for white flowers and blush pink for the bridesmaids so I added a few blush peonies to my bouquet too.
I had always said I wanted a silk/chiffon wedding dress, something floaty and maybe a little boho but my actual dress was much more fitted than I thought – a beautiful Pronovias dress, chiffon with lace and a low v front and back. I put it on and zipped it straight up, the perfect fit and so comfy! It was the first one I tried on. Though I tried lots, something kept taking me back to that one, everyone loved it and the shop were selling their sample so it was even under budget, it seemed like a sign. I bought it there and then.
As it had come in under budget I splashed out on a beautiful pearl and diamante head piece from Gillian Million who had been highly recommended to me, she made it to order and it went perfectly with my dress, she even custom made me a matching cuff. The only other jewellery I wore on the day was my mum’s silver and emerald ring, as my something old.
Andy wore a blue three piece suit from SuitSupply in London, with brown brogues from Ben Sherman and a Zara tie, which matched the best man and ushers. I bought him a Lanvin silver tie pin as his wedding present too which finished his look off perfectly!
The bridesmaids wore gorgeous Ted Baker blush pink maxi dresses, which had lace that complemented my dress perfectly. I managed to find flower girl dresses in almost the identical shade from Autograph at M&S, they also wore M&S cardigans and shoes and tights from Debenhams.
The best man and users all wore blue suits from Moss Bros, their own white shirts and the same blue Zara tie as Andy. Our son Reuben, wore a navy waistcoat and trouser set from Next with a white shirt, bow tie from Ted Baker and his favourite Converse!
As a special touch to the wedding day, Reuben carried the rings on a beautiful personalised ring cushion that I bought from MissSDesigns on Etsy. We really wanted him to feel part of the day and he even brought them up to the registrar, we were so proud of him and all walked down the aisle together at the end of the ceremony.
My wedding car was a black London cab, our friend Gary was a cab driver and kindly offered to be our chauffer for the day. The boys also borrowed a friend’s Bentley to arrive in London in style and we hired a Routemaster bus from London Retro Bus Hire to take the guests from the town hall to the reception.
Our photographer was Georgina Martin. She is Sheffield based and I came across her through my sister during her wedding planning, we instantly loved her work and booked her for our day. As she was in Sheffield and we were in Essex we didn’t meet that much before the day but she fitted in perfectly and made us all feel relaxed. Andy wanted someone to be around while the boys were preparing in the morning too so Georgina brought an assistant Charlie and both girls were great, they captured our day perfectly.
The wedding bouquets were gypsophila and my bouquet also had some pink peonies in to tie in the girls’ dresses. They were from a local florist in Hornchurch called Emma’s Ivy.
Pinterest was my best friend in wedding planning, I created a board of all my ideas and went about sourcing them! To decorate we used gypsophila again at the venue in simple Ikea pots tied with a Mr & Mrs ribbon. We also hired some amazing light up letters in our initials from Vowed and Amazed, which everyone loved!
Other details included white bunting bought from eBay, along with the chalkboard signs and I sourced some lovely banners for the sweet and cake table and a personalised one for the fireplace in the reception from Celebrating Together on Etsy. I also bought some giant balloons in our colours with beautiful tassel tails from Bubblegum Balloons, these were a last minute purchase that I’d been holding out to see if we could afford at the end but I’m so glad we did as they make amazing photo opportunities.
We didn’t have favours as such but the chalkboard heart pegs on everyone’s glasses were theirs to take away and quite a few guests took to wearing them as name badges throughout the day!
We wanted to keep the cake simple along with the rest of the theme. I came across an image on Pinterest and then went about finding someone who could make it for us. I found Millie-Ann at Ever After Wedding Cakes on a wedding blog, she’d done a beautiful modern cake for another London wedding so I got in touch. We met in a shopping centre and she brought me some delicious cupcakes to sample and I was sold! We went with three tiers, the top two lemon with lemon curd and the bottom chocolate, I also added in some red velvet cupcakes, which were amazing!
We had prosecco and summer berry cocktails as arrival drinks on the day. For the food we went for a pear and stilton salad and a choice of Chiswell Streets’ signature fish pie or an Irish stew and dumpling for the main and miniature Amalfi lemon tarts and vanilla cheesecake with cherry jam for those that had room for dessert. The food really was amazing. In the evening the waiters brought round bacon sandwiches and fish and chip cones, and cut up the cake to soak up the alcohol!
In terms of entertainment, we wanted to create a party to resemble your best night out with your friends with all the songs we knew would keep the dancefloor going all night so we were recommended Love 2 Groove DJ’s by a friend and we cannot fault them. They started with some Motown classics, we had Al Green Lets Stay Together as our first dance, which was a very special moment, and everyone was singing the words and joined us on the dancefloor halfway through. By the end of the night the dancefloor was packed with guests dancing to old school house music until midnight. We had lots of compliments on what a great party it was.
For our guest book I bought a Fuji Film Instax Mini Polaroid camera and made a frame to hang the photos in with pegs and twine, I bought a few props by Ginger Ray and everyone had fun taking silly pictures and leaving us notes. The pictures are a great memory of the day, especially the ones as the night went on!
We would definitely recommend Chiswell Street Dining Rooms to other wedding couples. Nicole our event planner was amazing and couldn’t do enough for us, she made the whole day come together exactly as we had planned. It was everything we’d wished for.
We’d also recommend Feel Good Invites who supplied our invitations. This was actually the same company my sister used and she recommended him to us. The quality was very good as was the service, we were really pleased with the finished product.
My favourite part of the day was the actual ceremony, you put so much time into planning the reception it sometimes slips your mind about the actual ‘getting married’ part. The whole thing was so special, walking down the aisle with my dad, seeing my husband-to-be waiting for me and our amazing son being such a big boy and handing over the rings. I felt so happy and proud at the end of it when we all walked down the aisle together, a truly unforgettable moment!
For our honeymoon we went to the Amalfi Coast in Italy; four nights in a beautiful boutique hotel in Sorrento and three nights in a spa hotel on an idyllic island called Ischia. It was the perfect finish. We went without our son and it gave us time to relax as husband and wife and look back and reflect on what an amazing day we had. My parents and sister kindly took our son away too so he didn’t miss out!
It sounds like a complete cliché, but a wedding day really is the fastest day of your life so my top tip for other Brides Up North would be to take time to take it all in and enjoy every minute!
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September 21st, 2015 | Julia Braime
The styling of today’s real wedding was inspired not by the season or the venue, but by the groom’s favourite film – back to the future. Though a cult classic of the 1980s, David and Lisa chose to style their wedding on the era Marty and Doc Brown were thrown back to, the 1950s, which made for a colourful and upbeat big day.
We love both the bride and groom’s choice of fitting attire, especially Lisa’s pretty tea length dress, finished off perfectly with a pair of cute Charlotte Mills heels.
And what better way for David to travel than in his very own DeLorean time machine car? We think this one might make a few grooms rather jealous!
So join us as we travel back in time to relive David and Lisa’s big day.
With images by Ragdoll Photography.
david says: We got engaged on the 1st September 2014. We were on a visit to Canada to see my Uncle Neville. We had an amazing holiday visiting Niagara Falls, Forest in Sarnia, and Windsor Ontario. We spent our last few days in Toronto, and I thought there would be no better time and place than to propose on the glass floor of the CN Tower, with a beautiful Tiffany ring. I knew she wouldn’t be able to say no, and I was delighted that Lisa accepted to spend the rest of her life with me.
lisa says: We chose the 4th July 2015 as our wedding date because Dave is a big Back To The Future film fan, and this date marked the 30th anniversary of the film’s release date.
We were welcomed so warmly into the community at our local Methodist church in Sale, Cheshire, that we wanted to take our vows there, and were really pleased that Rev Richard Mottershead agreed to marry us.
We both agreed we wanted a really relaxed and informal day that our friends and family could let their hair down and enjoy, so where better than our home for the reception? We hired a marquee from Marquee Hire 4 You, which we dressed beautifully with 50s style bunting, cut glass vases, summer bright flowers and candles. It was a great bonus that our house was only a short walk from the church. We were also blessed that our wedding day fell on one of the best summer days in July. The days leading up to the wedding and immediately after were wash outs, but on our day the sun just kept on shinning down on us.
We loved the idea of having a fun theme to a make our day that little bit different, so we continued with the Back To The Future theme and travelled back in time to the 1950s. Lots of our guests got into the spirit of the era, wearing swing dresses, trilbies and 50s hairstyles.
In terms of the colour scheme we just wanted things to be vibrant and bright, so we gave the florist free reign to use their creative flair. We were very happy with their fantastic choices of summer flowers, which added lots of colour.
On the wedding day I wore a lace 50s style tea length dress by Justin Alexander, which I chose from Puure Bride in Lymm, Cheshire. The ladies in the shop were fantastic, and the seamstress altered it to fit me perfectly. I wore fresh orchids in my hair, which was pinned up beautifully by Michelle from House of Finesse in Altrincham. My shoes were by Charlotte Mills, with a silver six pence sewn inside for luck.
Dave wore a lovely bright electric blue suite, off the peg, from Marks & Spencer, along with a grey Christys’ trilby hat, a yellow cotton tie, and brown brogues. He finished the outfit off with some DeLorean Time Machine cuff links, which I bought for him.
My flower girl Natalie, wore a dress similar to mine, which I bought from Debenhams. Our sons Sam and Josh wore matching blue check slim fitting suits from Next and Trilby’s from M&S. They really looked the part.
My good friends Rajiv and Shalini, drove me from the hotel to the church in their gorgeous silver Jaguar car. David, meanwhile, arrived in his DeLorean time machine car, hired from Tom Reddaway of DeLorean Timemachine, Devon. After the service the Reverend put on a pair of shades, jumped in the DeLorean and myself, Dave and all of our guests followed as it drove to the house for the celebrations to continue.
Our photographer for the day was Rosie from Ragdoll Photography. I met Rosie at the Brides Up North Bowden Rooms bridal fair and as soon as I started to explain what our theme was and what we wanted, her face lit up and I knew she was going to be great. We can’t praise Rosie enough. She was amazing with a very natural and relaxed style. It was like having a friend/guest at your wedding that just happened to have a camera. We are so pleased with the photos and the video slideshow she produced.
My bouquet and all our flowers were from Living Colour Floral Design, Warrington. I asked Amy there to use whatever bright and beautiful summer colours were available, and the results were just stunning. For decorations, we had pew ends and flowers on the altar in the church. They also filled the large vases for the marquee tables with a vibrant splash of colourful flowers, each unique. Everybody loved and commented on the flowers
Our reception was in our garden, so we thought that forget-me-not seeds tied with a pretty ribbon would make nice favours (David definitely banned sugared almonds!)
We didn’t want a traditional wedding cake or cutting of a cake, so we decided instead to have a selection of beautiful cakes from Slattery’s Bakers, Whitefield. There was something for everyone’s taste. They looked great and tasted delicious. We also had a selection of handmade chocolate decorated strawberries from McAuley’s Coffee Shop in Swinton.
For the wedding meal we decided to stick with our Back to The Future theme, and so chose Ollie from Pizza Loco, which is a quirky traditional wood fired pizza oven inside a steam train, to provide the food. They cooked a choice of perfectly crisp pizzas at a rate of one every ninety seconds for our 200 plus guests. We also had two chefs, Colin and James from Hewitt’s Hog Roast, cooking tasty American style BBQ food. We provided a well-stocked bar with everything our guest could want, and had Pimms on arrival and a champagne toast.
As an extra treat (and because I love sweets), I turned our little summerhouse at the bottom of the garden into a sweet shop, which the children and adults all loved. Dave illuminated it with a varied selection of LED lighting and bunting, giving it a 50s old sweet shop feel.
When it came to the entertainment, we searched for a 50s style band, and booked Rockin’ Robin & Honky-Tonk Hoods (aka The Ginger Nuts) from Nottingham, through DG Music online. James and the band were just awesome. They did two main sets, and all the DJ’ing. We asked if they could perform our first dance, which they learnt, and played for the first time at our wedding. It was Earth Angel, by Marvin Berry, from the Back to The Future film. Their version was wonderful, and just what we wanted. The dance floor was never empty during their sets.
Following our wedding day, we would highly recommend others consider having a wedding at home. To us it allows a much more personal touch than any other venue.
Our favourite part of the day was dancing out of the church, much to the surprise and delight of our guests. Everybody was laughing and clapping as we exited to the sound of Huey Lewis and the News, The Power of Love.
Following our wedding we jetted off on honeymoon to Sorrento, Italy. It was both romantic and beautiful.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – don’t get swayed by other people’s ideas of what your wedding should be, and what you should have. Keep focussed on what you really want and not what other people expect. Nothing says you have to conform, so just be yourselves and most importantly enjoy every moment of the occasion.
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September 15th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – we love pink and we love pretty. It’s no surprise then that we fell head over heels for Sally and Liam’s wedding when it landed in our inbox.
This wedding is pretty through and through, from Sally’s stunning fishtail gown to the maids’ sweet pink dresses and those beautiful blooms.
The men at this wedding are also looking fab in their modern blue suits which complement the pink theme perfectly.
With images by Daniel Murrientes Photography.
sally says: We’d been together for almost ten years when we got engaged. We planned a weekend trip to Barcelona in September 2013 after a friend told us we should go. It had been booked for over a month but it was only a week or so before we were due to depart that Liam decided to propose. Unknown to us there was a street festival in the city and the night after he proposed there was a huge firework display on the beach that just finished off the city break perfectly.
Our wedding date was 17th July 2015. We picked it in the hope we may get a sunny day so we could have an outdoor drinks reception. Luckily when the day came, although a little windy, the sun was shining.
We got married at St John’s Church, Hindley Green. This has been my mum’s local church for more than 20 years. When we got engaged we weren’t sure where to get married but then my mum said that she had always pictured that I would get married in St John’s Church – so we did.
The wedding breakfast and evening reception was then held at Stanley House and Spa, Mellor, Lancashire. They had everything covered and wedding coordinator there, Joy Parker, was a credit to the hotel. We had a sheet with a long list of questions prepared but we didn’t need to ask a single one – she answered everything. The venue is designed mainly for weddings and it shows. After viewing Stanley House our search came to a halt as it we knew it was the one.
We wanted the day to have a simple theme with a vintage/rustic feel and thought along the lines that less is more.
I’ve always loved pink so there was no other colour I was going to have on my wedding day. The bridesmaids wore pale pink dresses and the flowers were shades of pink, peach and creams. The groomsmen wore blue suits which contrasted great with the pink bridesmaid dresses.
When it came to the dress, I picked the 1551 style from Mikaella Bridal, a Canadian designer. I tried on a few dresses in different styles but as soon as I tried on this dress both my mum and I knew it the right one. I didn’t buy it straight away though. Me and mum went back again a few weeks later to try it on again and ensure it was definitely the one.
Liam wore a blue Lambretta suit which we purchased from Slaters in Bolton. His best man, ushers and the father of the groom all wore the same suit, teamed with a navy blue dickie bow.
Initially the bridesmaids had each picked their own style dress from a range with each style to be ordered in the same colour. Unfortunately when they arrived, two of the four bridesmaid dresses were missing. We were told replacements would take three weeks however, they took eight and when they did arrive they were in completely the wrong colour.
All four dresses had to be refunded and with just three weeks to go until the wedding, a last minute bridesmaid dress search began. After trying highstreets shops with no hope my mum and I headed out to bridal warehouses in Bolton, Stockport and Liverpool and eventually found four bridesmaid dresses in the right colour and all the correct sizes in Bolton. The staff at the wedding dress factory outlet in Bolton were amazing and so helpful. They went above and beyond to ensure we got sorted. Not only did the bridesmaids look stunning, but we ended up saving £100 per dress – every cloud!
Our wedding transport was provided by Satin Cars in Wigan. They were so professional and I loved the vintage wedding cars we picked. They transported the groom and ushers to the church prior to collecting myself, father, mum and bridesmaids.
Photographer Daniel Murrientes captured the day for us. We wanted a photographer that would catch the emotions throughout the day. My favourite photograph is the one of me, Liam and my dad at the aisle were I’m wiping away a tear (I was a blubbering wreck). This is photograph will now always take me back to that moment and how I was feeling.
Dan was also just an all-round great guy. Most of the time you didn’t even notice he was there. He seemed genuinely happy to be a part of the day and clearly enjoys his job. We loved having him there and I wouldn’t recommend anyone else!
On the day I carried a bouquet of roses in shades of pale pink, peach and cream. These were provided by Sara at Flowers with Passion. I chose Sara after meeting her at a wedding fair at Event City. We went to her show room not long after and she was so professional and did everything she could to ensure she understood our requirements and preferences. She had a large portfolio and has won lots of awards.
Her showroom was fab – she had a large book of cuttings of all different flowers, styles or colours that she looked through with us first of all in order to ensure she knew exactly what we wanted. She also had a number of flowers, vases etc. within our showroom and put together some mock centre pieces so we could have a taster of what they would look like on the day.
In addition to the centrepieces by Sara, we also had decorations provided by Creative Cover Hire. They provided us with full length white table cloths with ivory lace overlays, lime wash chivarli chairs and ceiling drapes with twinkle lights. Our name cards were luggage tags neatly tied to each chair, which were ordered from Etsy.
Normanddorothy provided our invitations and also the order of service. They are based in Manchester and were really helpful. Everything was perfect and they couldn’t have done anything more for us.
We did DIY favours. We ordered 100 small glass jars from eBay for just £35 and filled them with retro sweets. Some with white jazzies and some with dolly mixtures and covered them with different fabrics purchased from both eBay and Etsy and added twine, plus a thank you tag.
To save on costs our cake was from Marks & Spencer. We added some ‘just married’ bunting to the top tier, which we purchased from Etsy. We then placed the cake on an apple tier next to other cakes, sweets and treats. We had created a sweet table the night prior to the wedding which included popcorn, flying saucers, marshmallows, cakes and cookies.
We found our entertainment via the Function Central’s website. We chose the band Downtown Underground, who were fab! The band was led by Lil Vinny and they provided a mixture of motown funk and soul followed by a DJ set of pop music and indie classics. Our next to last song was my dad’s favourite song I’ve had the Time of My Life, with the final song by Oasis, Don’t Look Back in Anger.
We bought flip-flops for the evening as dancing shoes for guests whose heels might have started to rub to ensure there were no excuses for not being up on the dancefloor. For guests staying overnight we also provided a ‘hangover kit’, which we put in their room. We found these small personalised drawstring bags on eBay and filled them with sugary sweets, chewing gum, a vitamin c powder drink sachet and a sachet of coffee.
Looking back I have several favourite parts of the day: walking down the aisle to see Liam for the first time, the father of the bride and best man speeches (which were so thoughtful and funny) and the evening disco when the rest of our friends joined us and we could finally relax knowing everything had gone to plan and it had been a great day!
We headed straight on honeymoon after the wedding. We spent one night in Dublin, Ireland. We stayed at The Shelbourne Hotel and as it was our honeymoon were upgraded to a suite. Not only that, the taxi driver that we had flagged down at the airport to take us to the hotel, found out our married name was Murphy and agreed to take us back to the airport to catch our next flight the following day at no charge!
From Dublin we flew to San Francisco were we spent three nights – again, as honeymooners we were upgraded and it was a fab city to visit. We went to Alcatraz, saw the Golden Gate Bridge, and went to China Town, Fishermans Wharf, North Beach as well as a bike ride around San Francisco breweries!
After San Francisco it was time to relax and we flew to Mexico, Cancun were we spent ten nights. We were due to stay at the Moon Palace Hotel. However, due to the hotel being overbooked we were upgraded to Hotel Le Blanc a 5 Star hotel where we even had a butler during our stay. The hotel could not have been better. Here we visited the spa, went wine tasting and even swam with dolphins. Other than that we just enjoyed doing absolutely nothing for a few days!
When planning a wedding some things may not go to plan (just like our bridesmaid dresses) but my top tip to other Brides Up North would be not to let it stress you out. It will eventually become something you will laugh about and there is a solution to nearly any problem! Otherwise, just enjoy it – after all that planning it’s over in a few hours (although it feels like seconds).
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September 14th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s real wedding is filled with sunshine, not only in the form of lots of happy faces, but also lots of lovely sunflowers.
Lining the aisle, adorning the tables and sitting proud in Fern’s bouquet, the vibrant blooms add plenty of colour and character to the big day.
Further rustic wedding touches in the décor and cake help to bring the whole theme beautifully, and we’re pleased to see that Fern was prepared for the venue’s outdoor elements in her handmade cowboy boots!
With images by Jess Yarwood Photography.
fern says: We have been together for six years and in that time been blessed with three beautiful little girls. We never planned on getting married, we wanted to save the expense of a big wedding and so I changed my surname to match that of the children and Mark as were a family in everything but name. However, I remained a Miss. Often I was mistakenly called Mrs and this time it was in front of Mark and I always explained why I changed my name to the person who made the mistake. He asked me if it bothered me that people got it wrong and I said sometimes. He said I should change it to Mrs then but I said I couldn’t without being married – then he said let’s get married and I said yes! That was a year before our big day.
Our wedding date was six years to the day since our first date at Chester Races, it was 1st August 2015.
We got married at Manley Mere. It’s a quirky venue that we felt suited the relaxed and informal tone to our day. Plus we hadn’t been to any other weddings there so our day wasn’t competing against something else we’d experienced.
We had a rustic and sunflower theme on the day. Mark and I come from a country/farming background and appreciate the simple things in life. We sent out sunflower seeds in the invites so guests could grow flowers to bring to the day and add colour. I wanted to hand make as much as possible to add to the individuality of the day.
For the colour scheme, we put navy with the yellow of the sunflowers and added hints of orange to give a bright and summery feel. The venue is quite outdoor and we brought the sunshine feel inside where we could.
My dress was from Wife to Be in Warrington. It had lots of beading over the shoulders and down the back that reminded me of cobwebs! It added to my rustic theme but the pearl beading was so pretty it kept it ‘fancy’ and feeling bridal. I teamed it with cowboy boots as a quirky touch, which were handmade in Spain.
Mark wore a sand coloured Next suit which we bought in the sales keeping the costs down. His yellow tie was from a tie shop in Chester and took ages to find in the right shade. The best men wore matching suits to Mark and navy ties to complement the girls.
My adult bridesmaid wore a navy maxi dress from Coast (which made us chuckle when Sally Webster from Coronation Street was spotted wearing it at an awards ceremony weeks before the wedding). The little girls wore navy party dresses from Marks & Spencer, which we customised with yellow ribbon.
Mark travelled in a Bentley that his sons arranged as a surprise. I was already at the venue so no fancy motor for me!
We chose Jess Yarwood to capture our day. She was simply amazing and would recommend her to anyone. She is full of enthusiasm and creativity, capturing the essence of the day. The guests have gushed over the photos and commented how unobtrusive she was, yet so warm and friendly.
We also had a video done on the day by Unique Videos, which we are waiting to arrive.
S&J Flowers in Weaverham, Cheshire, did my bouquet, which was perfect and just as I described.
We did the entire venue dressing ourselves. My family and a team of my girlfriends worked so hard at making decorations such as the decorated vases and painted signs. The majority of the sunflowers were artificial as the ones we planted hadn’t flowered in time!
We gave out ‘little bags of love’ with items that told the story of us as favours. They included things like a magnet for the attraction, a scratch card for the gamble, a flower as our love grows.
My best friend Liz Clarke, made our cake. We went for a simple design and she added decorated pine cones to represent me, Mark and our three little girls.
For the wedding breakfast we chose a buffet, which was best to help our day stay informal and feed the huge amount of children who attended. We have lasagne, breads, salads, fish goujons, wedges and nibbles followed by profiteroles and trifles.
Mark and I love to gamble be it horse racing or bingo! So our entertainment was casino tables hired from ML Events, which everyone could play. We also had a magician called Danny Jewell, working the crowds who was amazing! In the evening we had a DJ.
As a special touch on the day, we gave our dads their own personalised glass to use; my dad an engraved wine glass and Mark’s dad an engraved whiskey tumbler. We gave our mums and my nanna a personalised engraved vase which contained paper flowers hand made by Danielle Oultram from Little Bird Flowers. They were a lasting memento of the day but also decorated our tables.
We would definitely recommend our venue, particularly to those who want a blank canvass to dress in any colour or style. The stunning scenery outdoors provides stunning backdrops for photos too.
My favourite part of the day was walking over the bridge towards to summer house and seeing all the guests and Mark for the first time. Mark’s favourite part was the confetti as he was too nervous during the ceremony but that was when he first relaxed.
For our honeymoon, we went to Rhodes and had a week in the 5* Princess Andriana. It was very hot reaching 36 degrees. It wasn’t our usual holiday as we are very active but was a lovely change to simply relax and laze for a week – child free!
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to get married earlier in the day and get a late bar! The day goes so quickly after the ceremony that I would do anything I could to extend it, even by a few hours. We made the day our own and didn’t follow tradition unless we wanted to, a bit like our regular lives really!
September 4th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s real wedding has lots of lovely inspiration for crafty brides-to-be that are planning to hand make a lot of elements for their big day.
Having decided on a relaxed and pretty rose pink theme, bride Shona worked her magic on everything from the flowers and stationery, to the décor, and the results are nothing short of stunning.
So we’ll leave you to take note..
With images by Sue Pell and video by Top Table Films.
shona says: We got engaged at home in our front room on 10th December 2013, having already argued about the fact we were putting the tree up two days early. Little did I know Lee had more to think about than just putting up the decorations.
One of Lee’s family traditions is to close your eyes and make a wish when the lights of the tree are turned on. I was sat patiently with our Labrador Boulmer, waiting for the big light turn on when Lee told me to keep my eyes closed for a second longer. When I was allowed to open them he was down on one knee with a huge plastic flashing ring in front of me. Lee knows how picky I am so thankfully let me chose my own ring, which I had designed by a good friend of mine at a local jeweller. And in case you are wondering the wish I made (and had made every day up until that point) was that Lee would ask me to marry him!
We got married on 30th March 2015 at the amazing Newton Hall in Northumberland. I had already been to two of their open days with both of our mothers for a look around and I absolutely fell in love with the place. Years before we got engaged Lee had told me that we could only get married if I found a venue that could allow us to have a relaxed wedding, next to the beach or countryside and involving our dog – I actually think I couldn’t have found a better venue. I love the quirky styling and the fact that we could make the day exactly what we wanted.
By the power of Pinterest I had about a million themes/styles in my head to begin with and I did find it difficult to stop pinning and start planning! I knew the day needed to be informal to suit our personalities and I wanted to create many of the decorations myself. So I suppose you can say we had a relaxed homemade theme with lots of pretty details. I decorated lots of jam jars and glass bottles, painted some old books and folded some of them to create beautiful centrepieces. Lee cut me lots of wood slices which were perfect for adding some rustic detailing. We had lots of fairly lights and tea light candles to soften the look.
As the wedding was in March I wanted to look at some lovely pastel spring colours. I ordered some fabric swatches online of colours I liked and literally bought everything and anything that matched them so I could see it in a bigger form. I sat with my bridesmaids and went through greens, blues, corals, pinks until we found a light rose colour we all loved. It is such a romantic colour and suited the time of year perfectly.
As with most brides I had an idea of the type of dress I wanted and then went for the exact opposite! I only tried on about six or seven dresses and ended up finding mine by pure chance when visiting L’Amour Bridal Boutique in South Shields. The staff were really nice and helpful and helped narrow down my search very quickly. My mum began flicking through a Mori Lee catalogue and spotted ‘the one’ – Mori Lee Blu style 5108. By chance the store had it in stock, it was stunning and very figure hugging! We narrowed it down to a final two but when I came away all I could think about was the Mori Lee. In the end I didn’t actually buy it from L’Amour as my uncle picked the dress up in America for me – however the girls in the store were fantastic and I would definitely recommend them.
I had wanted Lee and the boys to wear grey as I thought it would match the rose colour theme well but he argued for navy and I’m very pleased he did too! Lee wore a tailored suit from Marks & Spencer and the boys were in a very similar one from Matalan. All in all I’d say they looked very smart, and it went perfectly with the rose of the bridesmaids.
The girls dresses I actually just picked up from the high street, I went on my own in my lunch hour and spotted them out the corner of my eye. They were exactly what I wanted and suited all the girls really well. I was worried the short length would mean they were a bit chilly so I matched it with a gorgeous grey cashmere pashmina and told them to brave the cold if they could!
Lee and I, along with six of our close friends, spent the night before the wedding at Newton Hall. We went for the last supper at The Joiners Arms and then had some drinks and treats back in our room. It made it so much easier being at the hall on the day! Waking up the morning of the wedding next to Lee was so exciting and much more special than being apart I think.
Lee got dressed at the cottage his family had hired down the road and made his grand entrance to Newton Hall on his beloved Mountain Bike with Boulmer trotting along by his side.
Our photographer was a very dear friend of mine Sue Pell. I actually work with Sue and she had long since retired from wedding photography when I met her. However before we met she photographed my cousin’s wedding six years ago which I was unable to attend. In my place I sent a life sized cardboard cut-out of myself and Sue could not believe it when we worked out the connection. She thought it was a sign and agreed to do our wedding photography as a gift to us! She is amazing, and we had a great connection on the day. I would recommend her to everyone although I’m not sure they would be able to persuade her back out of retirement now!
I knew from the start I wanted a lovely romantic bouquet which wasn’t too formed or structured. I love a challenge so I decided to do my own flowers! I ordered a mixture of Avalanche, Memory Lane and Amnesia roses as the colours matched the theme perfectly, then to add some texture and scent we included Freesia, Gypsophila and some gorgeous Silver Brunia. My auntie has been involved in the flowers for all of our family weddings over the years and was amazing at helping me tie them all up and get them looking just perfect. Because we had ordered the flowers from a wholesaler we had so many left over that the glass jam jars and bottles I had ready for decoration were filled with the same flowers as my bouquet.
I was concerned that favours wouldn’t work well as we didn’t have a table plan, however I did want the guests to have a little memento of the day. I packed up some wildflower seeds and let our guests take a pack from a basked we placed on the bar.
To save some money we decided to make our cake stand a little more special and buy our favourite Costco cakes! This way we got a little bit of variety and weren’t concerned if they didn’t get eaten. Lee cut some wooden discs as cake stands and we decorated the table with fairy lights and wicker hearts.
To continue with our relaxed wedding day theme we invited guests to meet us on the beach on the morning of the wedding. We had a lovely walk with all the dogs and our family and friends and then retreated to The Joiners Arms for a good old pub lunch. As our ceremony was later in the day we simply had a hot food buffet later in the evening once or night time guests had arrived. We decided on a Thai curry with sticky rice and some really good side dishes.
I was set on my chosen entertainment from the start. We booked the band Hip Operation as I had seen them several times before and they never fail to put on a performance. The mixture of music they perform was fantastic and they had everyone up dancing. They really get involved with the guests and even came out to join us on the dance floor a few times.
Five weeks before we got married we attended Lee’s sister’s wedding where she had booked a surprise caricaturist. He was so fantastic that Lee and I decided there and then that we wanted him too. Mike Giblin is such a fantastic artist and really mixed well with our guests.
As per Lee’s wedding day stipulations our Labrador Boulmer had to be by our sides all day and he really did make the day fantastic. Also, I think that so much of the wedding being handmade, from the stationery to the décor, really added to the day and made it so much more personal. It was a labour of love for me and I poured my heart and soul in to everything.
During my decoration research I spent a lot of time watching people’s wedding videos from Newton Hall but one really stuck with me. It was by Top Table Films and I realised we should have a video done. I called Jon and explained our unconventional dog walk and pub lunch and he was really enthusiastic. The final five minute preview video absolutely took my breath away. I love having it to look back on and it is by far the one thing I will recommend to every bride. We also got a full length DVD featuring all the speeches and the full ceremony, which I adore.
We would definitely recommend Newton Hall as it lets you be as unique or as traditional as you want. The styling of the venue means to really don’t have to add a lot to it to make it look special and the team that work there all wonderful. Jane was the manager on duty for the day and her organisation skills were fantastic. We had also specially requested John Parker to be our Master of Ceremony as he spent a lot of time talking to us at an open day and really put my mind at ease about doing things different.
Other than the ceremony I have to say my favourite part was getting ready with the girls. I don’t have any siblings and my best friends are like sisters to me. There was such a buzz in the bridal suite while we were getting ready and I didn’t want it to end. Lee’s speech was also a very special moment. It was really good, he made sure everyone was mentioned and thanked but also told some very special stories about the two of us. It was so sweet and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room.
To avoid the school holidays we waited a few weeks after the wedding for the main honeymoon and so as a surprise for Lee I booked us a minimoon at Singdean B&B in Keilder. We later went on an all-inclusive honeymoon in Playa Del Carman in Mexico. It was two weeks of pure relaxation and indulgence.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to never settle for something you don’t want. There is always a way around it and if it doesn’t tick the right box for you then don’t do it. Also do not stress over the guest list! Talk to your partner and if you both aren’t completely happy then change it. When it comes down to it the only people that have to be there are you two!
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