April 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s couple prove how a vibrant setting can actually help your big day stand out all the more. Rachael and Zariah combined their love for the arts, entertainment and all things bright to produce a colourful wedding that dazzled, in more ways than one.
I particularly love how happy and natural everyone involved in this special day looks, all captured by On Love and Photography – fabulous pics guys!
rachael says: We got engaged on that Olympic Super Saturday 4th August 2012 during a holiday in Paris. Before we went away, some of our friends speculated ‘ooh maybe he plans to propose in Paris!’ which I laughed off. After visiting a variety of stereotypically romantic settings (with limitless opportunities for proposal) – The Eiffel Tower, Sacré-Cœur, banks of the Seine etc. he hadn’t popped the question and so I wrote it off. Therefore it certainly came as a surprise as we got back to our hotel room on the last night and Zariah tells me he wants to spend the rest of his life with me and produces a beautiful aquamarine engagement ring! I cried for a long time; half in shock, half in happiness and woke up the next day with a puffy but very happy face!
We were originally going to get married in February 2014. However, when I found out I was pregnant in December 2012, we decided to postpone the wedding so that we could solely focus on getting used to being new parents, without having to plan an imminent wedding too! Thankfully, the venue were so accommodating and happily rearranged it for 28th February 2015.
We had our wedding ceremony in our local church, St Paul’s in Sale town centre. The church is down the road from our house so it’s lovely to have that reminder of our wedding every time we walk past. After looking around various different venues for the reception, from stately homes to pubs, we knew from the moment we walked into The Compass Room at The Lowry Theatre that this was the place for us. We loved the urban architecture around, the room is really unique with floor to ceiling views of Media City. We are both also jobbing actors, so the fact our reception was in a theatre was another bonus and made it feel special to us.
The thought of planning a wedding has always filled me with dread, let alone the thought of a ‘theme’. That said, as we began to realise how much thought had to be put into each aspect of the day – there had to be some sort of common thread. We wanted the wedding to be bright, fun and personal, with a bit of sparkle.
Our colour scheme was predominantly blue with a lot of brights! My engagement ring is aquamarine, we both like blue so that was our base for the bridesmaid dresses and suits. After trawling through Pinterest I was drawn to all the brightly coloured flowers so we really went for a bit of everything.
After visiting several bridal shops in and around Manchester whilst carting Isaac around in his pram, the dress hunt was beginning to lose its sparkle. I was trying on too many and being indecisive. I had realised that the slightly 1950s style princess dress suited my figure the most but I struggled to find ‘the one’. One Saturday in July, on a visit back to my home town of St Helens with my step sister Julia we visited Always & Forever Bridal Boutique. The women in the shop were really down to earth, honest and didn’t beat around the bush, which is just what I needed. It was also the first shop I’d been into where I liked several of the dresses and most were in the Mori Lee range. It was here I found my Madison dress. It was just what I wanted, I loved the romantic tulle, full skirt, simple, but with a bit of sparkle in the belt.
It took a few more months for me to decide on the accessories. I bought some lovely 1950s style Rachel Simpson shoes online. Jewellery wise I wore a locket that my Grandad gave to my Nan on their first date which had their pictures in. I didn’t think I wanted a veil but in the end, I think the plain tulle veil complemented the church ceremony. Rosie Binns from Ethos Hair in Chorlton did my bridal hair and the bridesmaids’ hair on the day.
The groomsmen wore the same as Zariah. Isaac (our son) who was our page boy wore a suit from Mamas and Papas with blue Converse trainers. My bridesmaids wore sapphire blue Dessy dresses we ordered through J’Adore Bridal Boutique in Altrincham. My flower girl (Leah, my niece) wore a very pretty, simple white dress from Next, along with a cardigan with a butterfly clasp and we bought her a heart shaped locket, similar to mine.
We hired a beautiful Royal Windsor wedding car from Century Wedding Cars, St Helens, as our transport. We liked the 1950s theme and the company is owned by an old school friend’s mum and dad. It was nice to give them business as a grown up bride-to-be, rather than giving them grief as a teenage tearaway!
Our photographers were the brilliant and lovely Giulia and Ben from On Love and Photography. They had photographed our friends’ wedding the previous summer and we fell in love with their pictures. It was a no brainer that we wanted to use them too. Not only amazing photographers, they are such a friendly couple too. We both felt really comfortable around them and loved their observational style shots. They are also quite adventurous in their photography, egging us on for the more unusual pictures! We would highly recommend them.
Fletcher and Foley of Sale provided our flowers. My bouquet was made up of orange ranunculus, red parrot tulips, blue muscari, mixed anemones and hellebores and catkins for a touch of spring!
The florist arranged jam jar pew ends at the church made up of brightly coloured ranunculus, daffodils and blue musacri which really gave a hint of spring. Two of our friends then kindly transported the pew end flowers to the wedding venue and arranged them in a row on the top table. We used vases from my sister’s wedding for centre pieces and kept it simple with floating candles and peachy/pink delphinium orchids floating on top. The bridesmaids and I made the table plans, name cards and signage for the venue. The room itself had the wow factor so we didn’t need to go mad on decorations. Special Day Events, who we would recommend, provided organza bows for our chairs. Emma was really quick in her email correspondence and sent me an array of different coloured samples in the post to choose from.
Instead of a wedding guestbook, my friend made us a wedding post box with the idea that guests wrote their bits of advice and messages on a postcard, posted it in the box then took a selfie on our camera which we will print out and put next to their message in the guest book.
Being big cake lovers, it was only fitting that we had cupcakes as wedding favours. We also had a vase full of sparklers which we lit on the balcony overlooking Media City later on in the evening. The idea was for us to walk through a ‘bridge’ of sparklers – by this point the guests were quite drunk though and I was convinced my dress was going to go up in flames!
As our main cake we bought an M&S three-tiered cake with a mixture of fruit and sponge. Simple and tasty!
As Zariah’s family are a Jamaican heritage we wanted to incorporate some Caribbean flavours into our wedding meal and so the sweet potato and red pepper soup was a nod to this culture, whilst the Yorkshire pudding and beef canapés a nod to mine! We had chicken with mozzarella and sundried tomato as our main followed by a coconut Manchester Tart with banana ice cream, which was a big hit!
We love music and wanted guests to be in the mood for a party from the start so we hired Taylor and the Mason, two female guitarists to play during the drinks reception in the Quays Bar. Their voices are amazing and they are both gorgeous, funny and northern. We also hired a magician called Dan Tiernan whom Zariah and I have worked with at the Youth Theatre we teach. He was great and kept the guests and kids entertained during the meal.
For the evening reception we hired a DJ – Nick Campbell who was recommended to us. He came to our house before the wedding to discuss our tastes in music and was really friendly and chilled. Zariah had written out a long list of requests for the evening which Nick was happy to use. Nick gaged the audience perfectly, the dance floor was never empty – we even ended up doing a Conga to a reggae song around the room. Our first dance was to Our Day Will Come the Amy Winehouse version. We didn’t want anything too smoochy or slow, yet this song meant a lot to us as after being together for seven years and having a baby together, it felt about time we had our first dance!
It was really special that my Grandad walked me down the aisle in church. My mum and I lived with him and my Nan until I was four so we’ve always been close. It also seemed fitting that if my Grandad ‘gave me away’, then my step Dad, Graham, who’s been in my life for over 20 years should do the father of the bride speech in the evening. It was lovely that they both got to have special roles.
Being a bit of a feminist, I think a lot of our guests (including Zariah) expected me to do a speech along with the traditional male speakers. Whilst it was something I considered, after the pressure of months of wedding planning, the thought of adding this extra pressure wasn’t appealing. Then I came across four young lively buskers on Facebook that I had another idea. I asked Bolton Brass – a four piece brass band, to perform at our wedding as a surprise after the speeches. After watching them online, I just loved their energy (they do dance routines with trumpets) and hearing modern pop songs performed by a brass band just captivated me. The band burst through the doors playing Can’t Take My Eyes of You after the final toast and then leapt into No Place I’d Rather Be, The Final Countdown and a couple more songs. It really geared the guests up for the evening do and was my way of making a speech. They were amazing!
As we had a few children at the wedding I made goody bags for the kids table; play dough, colouring books, bubbles and disposable cameras.
We loved our wedding venue. The staff were so friendly and accommodating throughout and for those looking for an urban city wedding, The Lowry is perfect. The Compass Room is big and has the wow factor with great views of famous landmarks and endless opportunities for photos. We liked the fact we had our drinks reception in the Quays Bar downstairs, it really made use of the different sections of the venue. We also managed to have some photos taken in one of the theatres! It really was a unique venue and reflected both our love for Manchester and the arts.
It’s hard to define a favourite part of the day, we enjoyed it all from getting ready in the morning to doing the Conga in the evening! The vows in church were a really special moment when we both had to hold back the tears. We also really enjoyed hearing the readings we had picked for the church – one was from Isaac’s favourite bedtime book called ‘Me’ by Emma Dodd. It was lovely to have our son with us on our wedding day and fitting that we could include a reading that meant something to all of us. One really unique part of the day was when we arrived at venue and our photographers ushered us to a bridge next to The Lowry for photos whilst hundreds of Man United fans headed to the match. It was moment on our own away from the guests, yet surrounded by lots of friendly strangers from Zariah’s team (Zariah would like to add: we won 2-0 so it was a great day overall). We also had fun later on when we took to the balcony of The Lowry for group pictures with our friends. It was really cold and windy so after a few drinks, we all jumped up and down and started chanting silly songs to keep warm. It just confirmed how lucky we are to have such wonderful friends!
Following the wedding we had a two-night minimoon at The Brimstone, Langdale in The Lake District. After a hectic 18 months of bringing up a baby and wedding planning, we just wanted total relaxation on our own. We are also having a week away to Crete in the summer as our honeymoon and taking Isaac with us.
Our top tip to other Brides Up North is – plan well in advance, especially if you’re doing a lot of the stationery yourself. We took for granted how long the little bits would take us. We would also recommend investing in good photographers like On Love and Photography. The photos are the memories you keep for life after your day is over. We decided what mattered to us the most and the least, and stuck to that in terms of budget. Have fun on the day! The little things really won’t matter much. It’s about you two and having your loved ones around you what makes the wedding, not the chair covers (even though they did look lovely).
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April 22nd, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today on the wedding blog we’re heading to one of my favourite parts of the country to relive Mikki and Mark’s wonderful big day.
This stylish couple hired an entire venue in the Lake District for their intimate celebration that brimmed with elegance, class and romance.
I especially love that Mikki and Mark chose to have one big banqueting table for their wedding meal to make it more like a relaxed family affair than a formal occasion.
Oh, and can we all just take a minute to admire those fabulous flowers. Just lovely.
mikki says: We got engaged on 2nd October 2013 when we were on holiday in Menorca (which is our special place to relax). After a beautiful day lying on the beach having a picnic we went for a meal in a seafood restaurant at the top of a hill. We had the whole place to ourselves and Mark proposed in between courses. I couldn’t believe it, I was so overwhelmed. Obviously I said yes straight away.
We chose the 6th December for our wedding. I absolutely love winter and I thought it would be such a magical time for a wedding. I loved the thought of lots of candles and romantic lighting and what better time of year for that!
We got married at Broadoaks Country House in Windermere, Lake District. We love the lakes so much and it’s always a place we like to go. When we went to view the venue we knew straight away it was the one. It was perfect for the intimate wedding we were after. We hired the whole place which meant the whole wedding party could stay over.
We wanted the day to feel warm and welcoming. We didn’t have a theme as such but I wanted it to be romantic. The style was very romantic and our flowers were ivory and blush roses with gypsophila free flowing around the table surrounded by lots of candles. As we wanted an intimate setting we decided to have a banquet table so everyone was sat together.
Our colour scheme was navy, grey and blush. We picked it because it was quite a wintery combination and the blush just added a girly and warm touch.
My dress was from 7th Heaven Bridal in Congleton and the designer was Justin Alexander. It was a lovely lace mermaid gown that has a bateau neckline. It came with a detachable train with matching appliques which Helen from 7th Heaven turned into a veil for me.
Mark wore a navy three piece lounge which was from Marks & Spencer and the groomsmen wore navy suits too to tie in with him.
On the morning of the wedding I got ready at the Macdonald hotel in Windermere along with my bridesmaids. When it was time to go to the wedding venue my father-in-law drove me and my dad in his car. It was a nice touch to begin the day. My sister-in-law’s husband drove the bridesmaids.
Our photographers are very good friends of ours, Evie and Jamie Wroe from Chapter Photography. It was the obvious choice for us, their work is amazing and they make you feel so relaxed and comfortable.
My flowers were a mix of ivory and blush roses with gypsophila running through by Red Floral Architecture – again, an obvious choice for us as I love their work so much.
Red Floral Architecture also did out the whole wedding venue with flowers and decorations. We had a banquet table which was full of roses and gypsophila and lots of floating candles. It was such a stunning table, we couldn’t have asked for anything better.
Some of our friends call us M&M (Mark & Mikki) so we thought it would be funny to actually get personalised M&M chocolates for our favours. We also has a mini Laurent Perrier Champagne for everyone.
Caroline of Caroline’s Cake Company did our cake. We couldn’t decide which flavour to have as they all tasted so good. In the end we had three flavours: ginger, lemon and chocolate. We had lots of cupcakes and a traditional top tier.
As a little extra we had a sweet table go alongside the wedding cupcakes and instead of a guest book we had a signing frame. Next to these we had pictures of our parents from the day they got married.
In the evening we hired a DJ for our entertainment. We also wanted to add a little something different to the evening so we went with a cartoonist called Robin Grenville-Evans to draw all of our guests. This went down really well as everyone had something to remember the wedding by.
We would absolutely recommend our venue to anyone who wants a magical romantic feel to their wedding. It’s great for small wedding parties like ours as you can hire the whole place. It’s like having your own private house. I also would recommend all of our suppliers as they were all so, so helpful. My hair piece was custom made from Ann McKavney Eleventh Heaven, Love Gets Sweeter did our videography, Flossy and Leigh did our hair and makeup andSteve Lewis was our DJ.
The day was so perfect I don’t think I could actually pick one part that was my favourite. Obviously marrying my best friend was a pretty special part!
We haven’t had our main honeymoon yet, we are going to Dubai and the Maldives in May. We had a minimoon the day after the wedding. We went to Loch Lomond in Scotland for three nights. It was just a complete chill out, we went to the spa and ate lots of lovely food. It was a great time just to sit back and relax after all the planning. It is a special place to us as it’s the first place Mark ever took me when we were dating, so we thought it perfect to be the first place we go as a newly married couple.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be something that a lot of people told me to do – take a minute to look around at everything on the day and take it all in. It’s surprising what you don’t see because you’re on such a high! This really was a great tip. Also take time out, just five minutes or so with your husband, again to take it all in. The day really does go so fast, I didn’t want it to end!
April 16th, 2015 | Julia Braime
You might want to slip on a pair of sunnies for this one as today’s wedding features all the colours of the rainbow.
Following a church ceremony, Andrew & Kristina threw a bright & breezy, colourful wedding reception in a field complete with marquee, barbecue, bus bar, games and camping.
The pair made the day their own with special touches and homemade décor including a DIY photo booth and bunting – lots of bunting!
With images by Ruth Mitchell Photography.
kristina says: We got engaged on the 10th August 2013 in the Alps. We had a two week holiday planned driving around France in our van, starting in Paris and ending in Alpe d’Huez. I had no idea this would be the time Andy would propose, we had been together seven years and just though it would never happen. Part of the trip was planned so when we arrived in the Alps we would go on a little adventure in the mountains so Andy could show me why he loves them so much. We packed our bags and set off on the cable car as far as it would take us then started our walk up. We later pitched our tent and got an early night as Andy informed me an alpine start is early, like 4am early. What a sight when I woke, all I could see were little lights moving across the rocks one after the other it was fab. Our bags were already packed so off we went. When we got to the glacier we had to put on our crampons and rope together so we could start our climb up the mountain. When we started to reach the top the sun was blinding, it was incredible. We carried along the flat of the top and over to some rocks for a rest and to take in the view. Andy asked if I wanted a brew but in all honesty all I wanted to do was get down as I felt a little strange. He then tells me he has a little present for me and gets a box out of his jacket pocket and out of the box comes a lovely little wooden ring and then his words, ‘will you marry me?’. I was in shock then looked up at Andy and said ‘yes’. Shortly followed by ‘can we go down now?’ When we got back to the campsite our friends had all travelled over to France and had a banner with congratulations on it and champagne ready, it was great. I also found out Andy had hand made my ring in our loft out of cherry wood. How sweet.
We were married on Saturday 9th August 2014. We had wanted to get married on the anniversary of our engagement but that would have been a Sunday so we chose the 9th.
We originally wanted to get married outside but with this not being legal in England we felt it would have been a hassle to get married then have a blessing outside so we chose a church wedding. We are not from Great Ayton and as we had already chosen our reception venue we thought a church close by would be the best option and we stumbled upon St Oswald’s at Newton under Roseberry. The vicar Paul Peverell is an amazing man, very down to earth and understanding. As soon as we met him we knew we had made the right decision. Our wedding reception was at Angrove Park in Great Ayton. We were looking for somewhere with a field for a marquee, camping for our guests and a fire pit, oh and loos. We stumbled upon Angrove Park online. This was the only venue we looked at and booked it straight away. It had everything we wanted, including camping pods and tent space, it was just perfect. The owners Louise and Alan are fantastic people they were there for us every step of the way and helped in so many ways – they were simply amazing.
We used Fletchers Marquees to provide the marquee who were great. The marquee was perfect and they were very reasonably priced and provided a really helpful service.
At first we didn’t have a theme, we were more interested in getting the colours right and making sure it was chilled out and fun. As the planning went on though I found myself making a lot of things in the shape of bunting, so I guess bunting was our theme.
We both love colour so would have found it hard to decide on one. Our home is colourful and we are both colourful outgoing people so decided to go with colours of the rainbow. We thought this was the best way to make it our own wedding and not a remake of someone else’s.
I’m not a dress kind of girl so for me this part was not too important. I went to BHS and bought the first dress I tried on and thought, great that will do. Around three months before the wedding I tried the dress on again and decided that actually I did not want to be in just any dress, I wanted to be in a dress I would feel comfortable in all day. So I gathered the troops (my mam, sister and best friend) and off we went in search of a new dress. We went to a place where you can buy off the peg and at good prices called Tonia Ann in Washington. I tried on a few and then I tried on ‘the one’. It was so comfortable and well, just me. I bought it there and then.
Andy wore a black suit from Next. We had looked at hiring suits but Next suits are such good quality at reasonable prices so it was an easy decision for us. His shirt was from Debenhams as this was the only place we could find a double cuff shirt which did not cost the earth. He wore a red bow tie, cufflinks, braces and handkerchief which were from eBay and he wore red Converse. The groomsmen wore the same but in their own colour (to match the rainbow). We also had a little page boy, our nephew Toby. He wore a little black suit and white shirt from Marks & Spencer. He had orange braces bow, tie handkerchief and shoes. Too cute.
The bridesmaid’s dresses were from Debenhams. We went shopping very early on for these as I wanted to make sure they both had dresses they felt comfortable in. We had such a fun day, some of the dresses they tried on were hilarious. They chose a lovely purple dress and we also got their shoes that day – orange sandals from BHS.
I walked to the church as I was staying at the Kings Head the night before which is at the top of the lane. I really enjoyed walking, it gave me time to soak in what was about to happen. We drove our van from the church to the reception as it fit in perfectly with our day. We have a very nice transporter T4, which Andy had popped some ribbons on.
Our photographer was Ruth Mitchell. Ruth was recommended to us from a friend and I’d seen her around at work so we arranged a meeting. We hit it off straight away and after seeing her work we paid a deposit to secure the date. Ruth was brilliant and took everything in her stride. Anything we needed Ruth was there. On our wedding day Ruth blended into our wedding like one of the guests while capturing perfect memories. Brilliant. We definitely made the right decision choosing Ruth and if anyone is looking for a professional yet relaxed photographer I would definitely recommend her.
I had what I thought was the most amazing bouquet. I had priced up a few bouquets and found them to be more than I wanted to pay so we decided to do them ourselves. I contacted Alex Lunn from Blossom and Blooms as he has a stall at Ripon Market and thought I could pick them up on the Thursday before our wedding. I explained that I wanted him to provide me with flowers so I could make them up myself. He was happy with this and very helpful. He emailed me a picture on that Thursday morning showing me some of the flowers he had got in stock just for me. I couldn’t believe it, they were great! I topped the flowers up from him with a few from Morrisons as I was missing blue and orange colours. My sister made my bouquet and tied it with string, it was lovely. It was so nice I asked her to make me another to throw as I did not want to the first one.
To decorate we had a jam jar of flowers on each of the 15 tables, a big bunch in the bar bus and lots of little jars all over the site. They were all made up by my sister and best friend. I enjoy crafting so decided to make everything myself for the venue including the name cards, table numbers and cake sign. I bought little windmills to add in with the flowers as they were bright and we had bunting everywhere! My mam made this for us and it was amazing. We also made paper pompoms to sit on the stage and had a homemade photo booth with a backdrop of paper birds. My sister and dad spent hours making a thousand of these so we could hang them up. It looked so cool. I also made a table plan with good old cutting and sticking.
Our wedding favours were fridge magnets. We had 15 different magnets printed with the wedding date on each and we slipped them into the name cards. We decided on magnets as every time someone looked at their fridge they would be reminded of our wedding.
We chose to have our cake made by a friend Alice as she makes amazing cakes. Between us we decided to go for a sponge cake with three tiers covered in white icing and a row of bunting on each tier, it was great. Alice also made us a cake topper which tied in with the theme and colour scheme. My mam loves fruit cake so I had Alice make a special fruit cake just for her.
We choose to have a barbecue for our wedding breakfast provided by a local butcher called Johnson’s of Thirsk, which was amazing. The choice was fantastic and the service second to none. We asked all of our guests to bring a homemade desert with them which worked really well. We also asked Johnsons to come back with an evening buffet.
For entertainment we chose a band called Facsimile. They rocked. We found this band on the internet completely by chance and what a find. A great bunch of lads who were so easy going and professional. We did not sit down all night!
Special touches on the day included giving gifts to our mams and dads and I gave the bridesmaids a box of goodies the night before – their favourite perfume, wine and bits and bobs and also gave them a piece of jewellery each on the day. We made a little craft table for the children to keep them occupied and also had a lot of garden games, which everyone had fun playing.
As something a little different our best man created a wedding video for us rather than doing a speech as he was not too keen on talking to crowds of people. It was fantastic and very touching. It was a slideshow of photos of us both from childhood up until present day, with some well-chosen music.
We would definitely recommend our venue. Louise and Alan who own Angrove Park are just amazing. We hired the venue from Thursday to Sunday so we could make the most of the weekend. Louise helped with ideas gave us pointers and was genuinely excited about our wedding. Louise and Alan also gave us use of their bus bar for our day, which was amazing.
We can honestly not pick one single moment from our wedding day as our favourite; we just had the best time ever.
We wanted our honeymoon to be an adventure so we started in Las Vegas and ended in St Lucia. We stayed at the MGM Grand for two nights then hired a car and drove to the Grand Canyon Lodges. We then drove to the Grand Canyon and onto Monument Valley. Our next stop was Zion National Park. This was our favourite part of the trip, we could have spent much longer there had we had the time. We stayed in the Zion Lodges just out of the main town – this hotel was great! Then on the drive back to Las Vegas to catch a flight to Miami then onto St Lucia we encountered a storm which delayed us by a day as the road we were travelling on was closed. We went to see the Virgin rep who sorted out new flights and the car hire. St Lucia is an amazing place and we would definitely return if we had the chance. The food was great the people were amazing and the temperature was hot.
Our biggest tip to other Brides Up North is make sure you do what you want to do. No matter how many people tell you it won’t work or that will be silly. Do it, remember it’s your day and you know your guests. Make yourself happy as you only get one wedding day!
April 6th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
One of the biggest concerns for the majority of couples when planning a wedding is the budget, with hidden costs and little extras often taking brides and grooms way over their original limit. However today’s couple prove that with a savvy mind, a dash of enthusiasm and a sprinkling of imagination you can have your dream wedding without breaking the bank!
We love the pretty homemade bunting (well done mum), the retro board games and dance-happy guests that make this both a picturesque and enjoyable big day!
With images by Rachel Ryan Photography.
alice says: We got engaged 3rd August 2013. Dan had planned to do it at the open air cinema viewing of Amelie at the Roman Gardens in Chester, along with a picnic. However, with Dan not booking tickets in advance we were turned away and set off to eat our picnic elsewhere! After trekking over to the meadows to find a picnic spot I managed to step in the biggest cow pat – in sandals too! We then gave up, headed home and after a shower ended up having the picnic in the back garden! After the picnic Dan suggested we head up town for a drink and whilst walking over the suspension bridge played the old trick of ‘wait I need to tie my shoelace’ and there he was on one knee! It was a complete surprise, although we had been together for over three years I wasn’t expecting it!
Without my knowledge Dan had been to ask my dad’s permission too, which my dad really appreciated. Dan told me although he knew he had wanted to propose for a long time, he chose to do it then because he wanted our grandparents to experience it too. We are both very close to/admire our grandparents so this really touched me. Although my granddad unfortunately never made it to the wedding he was so excited/happy for us and so glad we got to share this experience in our lives with him.
We set the date for 7th February 2015. The time of year that we got married had never really bothered us that much, British weather is so unpredictable and as our wedding was going to be DIY budget we didn’t want to pay premium wedding prices for a summer wedding when it would probably rain anyway! We picked our wedding date a few months after getting engaged and after deciding a budget we worked out how long we would need to save up which resulted in February. Dan who is not really a fan of Valentine’s Day was adamant it couldn’t be on the 14th!
We got married at Eccleston Village Hall near Chester. Having lived close to Eccleston for most of my life, I had always been fond of the village, its church and the hall so for me it was an obvious choice. As soon as Dan came to look around he was taken with its charm too, and the price only costing a few hundred pounds to hire it for the weekend! This was the only venue we viewed as we knew immediately what we could do there!
It was really important to me that our wedding was about everyone having a great time, spending quality time with friends and family and a celebration that wouldn’t break the bank for our guests too! Eccleston was a short taxi journey for most of our guests and there were B&Bs close by for those that weren’t! Having the wedding at the village hall also meant we could hire our own bar without the hefty prices that you find at hotels. We looked the big rustic beams in the hall and its cute charm. The hall had lovely views of the river and lots of greenery around too. It was a blank canvas for us to throw a wedding party that was personal to us for our friends and family!
I’ve always loved being a bit crafty and would much rather, if possible, do something myself as opposed to buying it. The general style I wanted to reflect was a vintage, quaint fete theme. Lots of bunting (my mum and her friends had bunting parties and made it all), vintage crockery and fabrics. I genuinely had the best time planning the wedding and thankfully, sometimes a little reluctantly, Dan left me to it (still being very supportive of course). A great tip one of my mum’s friends passed on to me was that sometimes you can spend hours stressing over tiny details that often people won’t notice and although personal touches lovely, don’t over complicate things decoration wise.
I didn’t really have a colour scheme, which was pleased about. In the hall, the stage curtains were a deep red so I collected lovely floral fabrics in similar/complementing tones to this as it was such a big feature in the room. These colours also stood out well against the white walls in the hall. I chose white/pastel pinks for my flowers as I love feminine, pastel colours which complemented the navy bridesmaid dresses too.
The only thing I knew before I started dress shopping was that I wanted something covered in lace that didn’t show much, if any cleavage! I love lace, I think it’s so pretty and feminine and thought it would complement the theme well. I chose a fitted lace dress with a gentle fishtail which had an embroidered lace voile at the top so to cover my chest. I was never quite sure I would ever put a dress on and immediately know that it was ‘the one’ but I was wrong! I felt great in it straight away and comfortable too. I got my dress from Cheshire Rose Bridal.
Dan works at M&S Bank so was lucky enough to buy suits for himself and all five ushers with his employee discount, saving us quite a good amount for such good quality suits!
The bridesmaids wore a navy maxi dress from ASOS for £65, it was a really flattering, feminine fit with little lace cap sleeves. It was a real struggle to find a dress that fitted and suited five adult bridesmaids who are all different shapes and one being 20 weeks pregnant too!
My dad sorted wedding cars through friends of his, we had a maroon Mercedes dressed with a traditional wedding bow.
Our photographer was Rachel Ryan Photography. I saw Rachel’s work on Facebook whilst browsing vintage crockery hire. After viewing a few photographers but not really engaging with their pictures I was immediately excited by Rachel’s photographs and the natural story she captures through her work! After meeting Rachel, her professional yet passionate personality impressed us and her genuine enthusiasm for our wedding made us so excited and we really connected with her. Rachel really listened to us and made great suggestions to help our day run smoothly yet make the most of it too! On the day we both felt completely at ease with Rachel.
Following the wedding we were overwhelmed by the amount of photographs we received from Rachel, every single one edited. It relayed the story of our day all over again to us, bringing back so many great memories! Rachel also has a blog on her website which she updated about a week or so after the wedding. This was such a lovely, personal touch and a great way to show friends/family some photos from the day! We were so pleased we chose Rachel to capture our day.
I carried a white/pastel pink bouquet made by Clare at Cocoa Flower in Chester. It included avalanche and spray roses. Cocoa Flower replicated this pastel theme through the floral arrangements in the church too. These were faux flower arrangements we hired from them and to save money the ushers carried them down to hall after the ceremony. They were so good nobody noticed they were fake! I bought the flowers on the top table/welcome table discounted from a supermarket the day before and rearranged them myself in jars.
The main decoration we used in the hall was bunting hung from the beams. My mum spent hours hand sewing 40 metres of bunting together with a little help from myself and also by holding a bunting party with a few friends (and some wine)! I wanted lots of atmospheric lighting in the hall so hung fairy lights round the beams and had bird cages with tea light in on the tables from Home Bargains! They have a great wedding section there with lots of decorations and bits and bob’s at fab prices.
We both really loved the idea of a photo booth but they were way out of our budget so we bought lots of props made of card off eBay for £5 and glued them onto kebab sticks and then left them on the tables in milk bottles for people to take photos with!
As favours we gave each of our guests a scrabble tile keyring in their initial. We both love scrabble so wanted to incorporate this in a small way! We ordered the wooden tiles and keyrings separately from eBay for only £27 for the whole lot and then Dan spent an evening putting them together, resulting in a few finger blisters! We also had chocolates for everyone, kindly bought by Dan’s mum.
We chose a three tier chocolate sponge cake with white fondant from Marks & Spencer. We decorated it simply with a Lego bride and groom off eBay – Dan is still a massive fan of Lego, even at 27!
For food we had a vintage afternoon tea with lots of finger sandwiches, scones and miniature cakes. This was served on vintage crockery on the tables. The tea ladies also served lots of different teas as well as their own blend! We served the afternoon tea with prosecco which we bought again with Dan’s M&S discount. The afternoon tea worked out well with having a mixture of guests who are meat eaters/veggies as there was lots of choice for everyone without any hassle. For the evening meal we had a big pan of chilli – which was amazing! The Caterers were Yours Truly Vintage Catering Company. They left us a tin of homemade blended tea for us to take home too!
To keep guests entertained throughout the day we had a big vintage suitcase filled with lots of childhood games for people to play. We basically ransacked my nana’s house for all these! We had Hungry Hippos, Connect Four, Snakes and Ladders and Dominoes, to name a few. For the evening we had a DJ as we wanted something that people would enjoy, a crowd pleaser! We asked guests to give a request for the DJ on our RSVPs and Adam was great in honouring them! The DJ was very good in reading what people wanted and we had a full dance floor all night!
When figuring out the itinerary for the day it was important to us that things went as smoothly as possible for our guests. We made sure we reserved seating at reception drinks for grandparents so they weren’t left standing and we made SOS baskets in the toilets filled with bits and bobs such as safety pins, hair grips, mints and toiletries for any small fashion disasters that might happen throughout the day. We also baked lots of gingerbread men a few days before and put them in a basket near where guests entered the marquee after the ceremony. We didn’t want anyone to be hungry throughout the day so made these for people to have with their reception drinks!
I would definitely recommended Eccleston Village Hall to other couples who are looking for a budget DIY wedding. Eccleston Village Hall only hold eight weddings a year and it’s quite popular due to the picturesque surroundings. It does book up quite quickly!
On the lawn connecting to the hall we had a small marquee supplied by Border Bars and Marquees and then the bar inside free-of-charge and the prices were really reasonable. They helped us out massively throughout the day, serving the prosecco we bought to go with the afternoon tea as well as nipping out mid evening do to grab another bottle of Jagermeister (which my uncle had ‘discovered’ that night). Nothing was too much trouble for them, they were great!
It’s so hard to choose a favourite part of the day – I think the evening celebration was just so much fun, having all our friends and family together having the best time. It was also great to see all the decorations and organising coming together, it makes any stress or worries all worth it. The morning of the big day was also special, spending time with my bridesmaids and all the excitement flowing around from everyone was amazing. As well as the obvious pampering as well!
Dan’s parents very kindly booked us a surprise honeymoon to Majorca after the wedding. We didn’t have enough budget left for a honeymoon and so we were so grateful/excited! It was great to get away and reflect on the day by ourselves. The run up to the wedding was so exciting but very busy so we very much needed time to sit back and relax, which we were able to do.
My top tip to other Brides Up North is your budget doesn’t matter, there’s always a way to create your ideas with a bit of imagination – and help from family friends!
March 19th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
The unpredictable British weather is a concern for many wedding couples in the run up to their big day, particularly for those saying their ‘I dos’ outdoors.
Thankfully luck was on the side of today’s real wedding couple Elizabeth and Stuart when they tied the knot during a gorgeous wedding in the grounds of Middleton Lodge. I love the bright, breezy and relaxed vibes that come from this wedding and I’m sure you’ll agree Elizabeth looks stunning in her lace Enzoani gown.
Girl done good!
p.s. You can join Brides Up North for our Luxury Wedding Exhibition at this oh-so-beautiful wedding venue on Sunday 12th April 2015, 1pm till 4pm. Click here to pre-register.
With images by Stan Seaton Photography.
elizabeth says: We got engaged in Bali in June 2013 on the beach whilst having a romantic candlelit dinner on our last night of our holiday. Stuart got down on one knee and gave me a pretend ring!
When we returned we set the date for Thursday 24th July 2014. We always wanted a summer wedding and in particular to have the service outdoors.
Our venue was Middleton Lodge, Richmond. We chose it simply because we both instantly fell in love with the lodge and its surroundings – the gardens are so beautiful!
We didn’t have a theme as such but used a colour scheme of champagne and natural shades to style the wedding.
My dress was a lace fitted Enzoani design with scallop finish from Poppy Bridal. I chose it because I love lace and found the perfect dress for my maid of honour which complemented it and was also from Poppy’s. I wore Jimmy Choo Evelyn shoes and a diamond and pearl hair comb. I kept my jewellery simple with diamond drop earrings that matched my engagement ring and a diamond bracelet.
Myself, mum, sister and godmother stayed at The Coach House at Middleton Lodge the night before the wedding, which was a lovely start the celebrations. We walked over to Middleton Lodge in the morning for breakfast and pampering! Selena from Cocoon did my make-up as well as my mum’s and sister’s and Dianne Minnes did our hair.
Jane and Stan from Stan Seaton Photography were our photographers which was a special wedding present from my godmother Lesley. They gave us many laughs and made us feel very comfortable but are extremely professional and we would recommend them to anyone – they are simply the best!
Both my sister and I had a cream roses in our bouquets and Isla had a flower wand. On the tables we had pink hydrangeas and cream roses on mirrored plates and crystals. Beth from Eliza Blooms provided all the flowers and they were exactly how we imagined them.
For favours we gave each of our guests a slate heart with their name chalked on the front and the date of our wedding date on the back. We got then from Dotty’s Place in Richmond.
Our cake was a cream rose chocolate three-tier cake from Marks & Spencer.
For the entertainment we had John McGeough playing chilled out sax whilst we had our drinks reception and The Imposters were our band for the night.
The whole day was absolutely perfect. My best friend Rochelle did a beautiful reading at our wedding service that stands out as a special part of the day. I walked down the aisle to Stevie Wonder, My Cherie Amour, and our first dance was to John Legend, PDA.
We would definitely recommend Middleton Lodge everyone as it’s so friendly and the team there work to such a high standard. It’s a special place that you can go back to visit after the wedding and recall such happy memories.
We went to Abu Dhabi and the Seychelles for our honeymoon straight after the wedding which was very romantic! However, after being ill for three months after the wedding we decided we needed a second honeymoon after all the worry and celebrated again by going to LA and New Zealand in January.
Our tip for other Brides Up North would be just to enjoy every stage. All the planning can be quite stressful but is also so much fun and you actually miss it afterwards so just enjoy every minute!
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