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!
August 24th, 2015 | Julia Braime
The guest list for today’s wedding at The Samling doesn’t even reach double figures as Mia and Pete decided on a small and intimate wedding featuring spectacular views and first class food surrounded by just their very nearest and dearest.
Showing that size doesn’t mean everything, the day is brimming with class, elegance and smiles as all involved enjoy the relaxed and magical atmosphere by the side of Lake Windermere.
With images by James Tracey Photography.
mia says: We got engaged in January 2014 in the Lake District. Pete surprised me with a weekend away to Aphrodite’s near Bowness to celebrate our third year anniversary. We had just finished relaxing in the hot tub with a glass of champagne and I went into the bathroom to get changed. I came back out to Pete down on one knee holding out a ring! It was a complete surprise and I kept asking him over and over again whether he was being serious! In the end he said “So what do you think, then?” and of course, I said “yes”.
Our wedding was 20th June 2015. We chose that date as we wanted a summer wedding, the day before the longest day of the year being ideal. It also gave us enough time to save up for it!
We chose The Samling in the Lake District as our venue. We knew we wanted to get married in the Lake District as it was where we had spent our first weekend together as a couple and it was also where Pete proposed so the location had a lot of meaning. The Lake District also has absolutely stunning scenery making it a perfect setting for a wedding. As we were having a very small intimate wedding (just eight people including ourselves!) we wanted a venue that would complement this which The Samling did, given the exclusivity of the venue. We were also attracted to the Samling for its Michelin star menu, Pete and I being very much into our food. We went to visit The Samling and knew straight away it was where we wanted our wedding – it was the first and last place we visited when looking for a venue. After seeing the panoramic views of Lake Windermere, we knew we were making the right choice!
We didn’t have a theme for our wedding but wanted an intimate, understated affair which was very special at the same time. The venue where we had the wedding matched our styles and tastes exactly in that it is not stuffy and overly fussy but had luxurious and special features to it. The style of wedding we had allowed us to think of different ideas as went along while planning the wedding.
While we had a very small wedding, we’re also having a party later in the year to celebrate with all our friends and family.
We didn’t have a colour scheme as such but chose a lot of white and yellow as they both complement each other and are lovely, summery colours.
My dress was a gown by Sophia Tolli purchased from The Bridal Path in Altrincham. It was a fitted lace dress which was ivory and champagne coloured. It had a plunging v neckline and crystal beading scattered across the dress. It also had a sheer back bodice with crystal buttons cascading down the back and a long train. I felt the dress was very elegant and classic. I knew it was the right dress for me as soon as I tried it on!
On the wedding day I wore my dress with peep toe silver shoes by Jimmy Choo. I chose these shoes as they really fitted the style of my dress and I can wear them again. On my head I wore a Swarovski crystal encrusted head piece by Halo & Co, purchased from Liberty in Love. Rebecca Forshaw, a hair and makeup artist based in the North West, did my hair and makeup on the day. She did a fantastic job and I never imagined I could look so glamourous!
Pete wore a blue-grey, light woollen three piece suit. The cloth came from Scabal, and was ordered and tailored by Richard Smith Bespoke in Manchester city centre, who also provided the tie and pocket square. The pale blue, super slim-fitting stretch shirt came from Thomas Pink in Manchester, and the brown shoes were from Jeffrey West, also in Manchester.
For my flowers, I had a beautiful but simple shower bouquet made up of white orchids, with green foliage which was provided by Kerry at The Floristry in Kendal. Kerry also provided all our flowers for the day. We had had a mixture of white orchids, yellow flowers and green foliage to decorate the wedding reception. We had a large vase of flowers in the centre of the dinner table with smaller vases of flowers at the side of this. Kerry was fantastic and created everything we asked for.
Our wedding cake was a two tiered fruit cake with white icing which was decorated with pink flowers. It was from Marks & Spencer.
For the wedding breakfast we had a Michelin star taster menu created by Ian Swainson, head chef at the Samling. It was an absolutely unbelievable gastronomic experience! We had a wine pairing with each course as recommended by their sommelier.
We chose Maxine Molin, a harpist, to play during the ceremony and our champagne reception due to her excellent reputation. Also the harp sounds beautiful and fitted in with the understated and relaxed theme of our wedding.
We would definitely recommend our wedding venue. Not only was it spectacular and exclusive, the service we were provided with was second to none. All the staff ensured our whole day went seamlessly and they made us feel very relaxed. They were very open to what we required and went out of their way to provide it.
It really was the best day of my life so it’s difficult to pick a favourite part of the day! I would say one of the highlights however was relaxing in the outdoor hot tub in the evening after our meal overlooking the whole of Lake Windermere!
We aren’t going on honeymoon until October. We are going to South Africa and then on to Mauritius and we cannot wait! We’re spending a few nights in Cape Town, then on to the wine regions for plenty of wine tasting! We’re then ending the trip in Mauritius which will be completely relaxing.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be don’t be scared of breaking with tradition. We had traditional but many untraditional elements to our wedding, for example, I walked into the wedding ceremony to the harpist playing Metallica! Tradition and convention also advocate a large, lavish wedding. Although these events can be fantastic, if an intimate event suits you then you should go for it as it is so personal and rewarding. Whatever you choose, make the most of all the attention being lavished on you for one day!
brides up north featured supplier, halo and co, james tracey photography, jeffrey west, jimmy choo, lake district wedding, liberty in love, marks and spencer, maxine molin, real wedding, rebecca forshaw, richard smith bespoke, scabal, Sophia Tolli, the bridal path, the floristry, the samling, thomas pink, uk wedding blog
August 19th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s couple Hannah and Claire, got engaged in the stunning surroundings of The Lake District and so decided to bring a bit of the great outdoors to their big day.
Deciding on a subtle rustic theme, the ladies used natural blooms and woodland décor to style their pretty wedding at the National Trust’s Quarry Bank Mill.
Along the way the two brides also added in a few of their favourite things, including serving up ice cream from a cute van named Hyacinth for dessert – what a delicious idea. Make mine a salted caramel cone please!
With images by Photography by Kathryn.
hannah says: We got engaged in July 2014. Claire took me on a very romantic weekend to the Lake District as we love hiking. She booked a very fancy hotel, which I thought was unusual as we often camp! We went for a good walk up to Grizedale Tarn and when we reached it Claire set out the most amazing afternoon tea – complete with a china cake stand which she had carefully carried up the hill! She had even made scones and a Victoria sponge cake herself – her first experience of baking! She knew I would appreciate it all. Once she had laid everything out she brought out a custom designed ring and proposed. It was a perfect engagement!
We got married on Saturday 30th May 2015. We knew that we wanted to get married in summer and late May/early June is our favourite time of year. Thankfully the venue had one Saturday left so we snapped it up!
We had our ceremony at Sale Town Hall which we chose because it was local to us and is a beautiful building. The reception was at Quarry Bank Mill – an eighteenth-century cotton mill now a National Trust property in South Manchester, set in beautiful gardens. We always knew that we wanted a venue with lots of outdoor space so we could get outdoor photographs, and QBM is somewhere we have visited together many times. We also liked the history of the mill and preferred its industrial, working class origins over the upper class country houses that are often chosen for weddings.
We were drawn to rustic and natural themes as they reflect our interests – nature and the outdoors. In addition, we included elements of things that we really like, such as ice cream and buttons.
We didn’t specifically choose a wedding colour scheme but we both love the colour purple so it featured in the invitations and the venue decor.
I have never wanted an ostentatious wedding dress and knew that I was looking for a simple style that I would feel comfortable with. I chose a knee-length cream dress from Monsoon with lace and a high, curved neckline that complemented my figure.
Claire also wore a dress from Monsoon – we went shopping together, tried on a dress each, and as soon as we stood in front of a mirror together we knew we were wearing the perfect dresses! They complemented each other perfectly – Claire’s was also knee-length, but a whiter shade, and had some beaded embellishments around the neckline. Hers was from the bridal collection but mine was not even advertised as a wedding dress.
As our transport, we hired an amazing vintage car from Broadoak of Manchester which carried us to the registry office and then on to the reception. It was a Beauford 1930s convertible with a burgundy hood – such a handsome car! The car journey was one of the most exciting parts of the day as everyone turned and smiled when they saw the car passing by.
Our photographer was Kathryn Widdowson of Photography by Kathryn, who I would definitely recommend. She was full of energy all day and willingly hiked through the gardens of Quarry Bank Mill so we could have photographs outside the glass house and on the bridge. It was also her birthday but she still happily spent the day with us! She met us six weeks before the wedding for a practise shoot which was very beneficial as we all got to know each other before the wedding and she understood exactly what we wanted.
We both carried a bouquet of flowers made by Fletcher and Foley. We specifically wanted very natural bouquets with the sorts of flowers you might find in an English meadow, and they provided exactly that.
We did a lot of decoration for the venue ourselves with help from friends and family: we had bunting in the function rooms borrowed from a friend who made miles of it for her wedding – something borrowed! For the table centres we hired wood from Rustic Wedding Settings and on it we placed the table name and three jars of flowers. We collected and decorated the jars with ribbons and lace ourselves with help from my mum and made the flower arrangements ourselves. We also included a sticker on some of the jars which we ordered from Wedding in a Teacup, which said ‘Let the Love Grow’ and had our names and the date of the wedding.
Our table names were all pairs of things we liked, such as Flowers and Fossils, Tea and Cake, Mountains and Meadows, and the names of our cats Dolly and Diamond. Around the edge of the room we placed large frames which were lined with hessian and had string placed across. On the string we pegged photographs – one board had photographs of us both when we were babies and children. There was also a display of photographs of me eating cake and a display of Claire eating ice cream as these are things we particularly love.
We ordered a larger planter from Wedding in a Teacup which was also personalised with our names and the date of the wedding and used this to collect cards and presents. Now the wedding is over we can use it in the garden and be reminded of our special day!
Additionally, we provided our own vintage china teacups and saucers for the tea and coffee served after the meal and we also made our own confetti out of dried lavender and flower petals and stuffed it into tiny gift bags.
We put a lot of thought into our favours and really enjoyed making them. For the adults, we bought little Kraft card boxes from Wedding in a Teacup and in them we put two artisan chocolates from a local chocolate shop. Attached to each box with purple string was the name of the guest on a small luggage label printed in purple text to match our wedding invitations. We also stamped each box with an ice cream stamp in purple ink which also matched our invitations. In addition, each guest was given an envelope full of forget-me-not seeds and on the front was a sticker with our names and the date of the wedding. There were a couple of children who attended the meal who were given a box of Lego each, and two babies who were given a baby book each.
For our cake, we chose a delicious, three-tiered chocolate design from Marks & Spencer decorated with strawberries. Fully recommended – everyone raved about it and it looked amazing.
We liked the hearty simplicity of the wedding menus at Quarry Bank Mill – for starters we had a blue cheese bread pudding, followed by a delicious roast lamb served with a potato rosti and lots of veg.
Dessert, however, was a special surprise kept from everyone. Rather than order one of the desserts from the menu, we hired a vintage ice cream van called Hyacinth and took everyone downstairs for ice cream Claire particularly loves ice cream so it was great to be able to express ourselves through our wedding choices. The flavours were delicious – salted caramel, strawberry and clotted cream, mango sorbet, champagne sorbet and old fashioned vanilla – and several guests went back for seconds.
Claire surprised me by booking a cello duo, The Cellists to play during the drinks on the lawn and the wedding breakfast. They played classical pieces contemporary songs and even film soundtracks and added a lovely touch of elegance to the afternoon.
To feed our evening guests we ordered a cake of cheese from Churchmouse Cheeses, which was delicious. It was delivered so carefully and came complete with decorations of figs, rosemary and fruit, and a couple of brie hearts.
A colleague of mine was our DJ which was handy. We arranged a very special first dance too. Claire and I are both keen line-dancers and we met at a line dancing club. We always knew that we wanted to have a line dancing first dance so I choreographed a routine to ‘our song’, which was Forever in Blue Jeans by Neil Diamond. It was quite a challenge to fit in choreography and rehearsals in the busy run up to the day, but I am so glad we went through with it! No one else knew about it and the guests loved it. Thankfully we didn’t make any mistakes either! Once we’d finished our first dance we launched straight into another line dance, this time it was River Deep, Mountain High. This is a popular line dance in our club so we asked a few of our friends to join in with the dance in stages, rather like a flash mob. Again, no one knew this was going to happen and I think everyone was rather impressed!
Claire and I decided not to have any speeches from other people – my father wasn’t in attendance and we didn’t have a best man or maid of honour to speak on our behalf. We decided to write a speech each. This seemed like a good idea six months before the wedding but it was very nerve-wracking to write a speech knowing that all our friends and family would be watching. We were definitely terrified at the thought of it, but they both went smoothly. Claire even wrote me a humorous rhyming poem about our relationship together so far which made everyone giggle.
We would absolutely recommend our venue to others. It is a beautiful venue with a very special history and the staff members were completely dedicated all day to our event so everything operated seamlessly without our noticing. It’s good to know that the money we’ve paid will go into preserving the mill for future generations. Plus we can go back and visit in future and relive the memories!
Claire’s favourite parts of the day were having ice cream from the awesome ice cream van, and getting a ride on the buggy from the car park to the gardens. My favourite part of the day was the ceremony – we walked down the aisle together holding hands which I felt was symbolic of our partnership together, and we chose Elton John’s Can You Feel the Love Tonight as our entrance song.
Following the wedding we had a minimoon to Barcelona which was just the relaxing break we needed after a busy few months. We ate tapas, drank sangria and soaked up the sunshine. In September we are planning a more lavish honeymoon to Italy so we can explore the Amalfi coast and eat ice cream!
Our top tip to other Brides Up North would be plan, plan, plan! We had a very detailed timeline and to-do list to keep us on track. Give yourself lots of time for each task, especially if you are making things yourself, as they often take longer than you think. Involving other people is fun for them and makes life easier for you too – we couldn’t have managed without our best friends and my mum helping us make decorations, and they loved being part of the team.
August 18th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s real wedding is yet another carefully crafted beauty with lots of pretty homemade and personal touches created by talented bride Jenny, along with the help of her equally talented family.
Priory Cottages in North Yorkshire provided the perfect backdrop for the rustic theme Jenny had in mind, which featured lots of beautiful blooms in sweet, sugary tones.
And it wasn’t just the décor that the bride got crafty with, as Jenny made her own hair flower accessory and gorgeous statement necklace to complete her modern big day look. Fabulous work girl!
With images by Hayley Baxter Photography.
jenny says: We got engaged in Malta. James and I love our cheeky getaways. I had no idea that on this particular one he planned to propose, it was such a lovely surprise! The proposal was very ‘us’ – low key and nothing extravagant. It was our first full day there, we were having a great day exploring the town, lunch and drinks by the sea and we had headed back to our hotel to get ready for the evening and have a few drinks on the balcony. I remember laughing and joking and saying what a perfect start to the holiday it had been, next thing I know James had disappeared and when he returned he was down on one knee asking if I’d be his wifey – it was perfect!
We chose to get married on 13th June 2015 as it was exactly two years to the date we got engaged.
Our chosen venue was The Priory Cottages in North Yorkshire. Working in the wedding industry myself I read a lot of wedding blogs. This venue has always stood out to me as something special and it was the first place I mentioned to James when we got engaged. When we went to take a look around, I fell more in love with it and James had a cheeky little smile on his face. We both knew it was perfect and could see our special day taking place there.
We didn’t have a theme as such, but I have always wanted a ‘handmade’ wedding. I love making things and being creative so I literally saw it as a blank canvas that I could do all the things I love to. The result was quite a rustic-styled day.
We were not really strict on a colour scheme; it kind of just fell into place. I always wanted the boys to wear blue suits as I just think they look great. This helped me to decide on nude tones for the girls’ dresses then I pulled in my two favourite colours – coral and mint – and combined it with lots of peaches and whites.
My dress was literally the dress I always said I would never wear! So many of my friends said to me before I started looking to keep an open mind but I went to one bridal shop in particular because they stocked a gorgeous Mori Lee gown I had pinned as my dream dress for the past five or so years, even before we were engaged! I tried it on and whilst it was nice, it wasn’t wow. The lovely lady in the bridal shop made me try on ‘the dress’ just to see what it looked like. I wasn’t keen but I tried it on and it felt amazing! It made my mum cry so I knew it was the one!
To go with my dress, I scoured the internet and shops constantly to find the perfect hair flower. I couldn’t find one that I liked in the end so I thought why not make my own! I created it using some gorgeous silk flowers from Country Baskets, a hair slide and some small brooches to sit inside the flowers as the centre. I bound it with florist wire and ribbon. I also created a statement necklace by combining two necklaces from Marks & Spencer. I wore my outfit with some gold Kurt Geiger shoes.
My hairdresser’s partner specialises in wedding hair (they work at Fusion Hair Design) so he did mine and the girls’ hair. He did a fantastic job! My cousin Abi is a makeup artist so she did our makeup. Abi is so talented at what she does and I was so pleased with the finished look. The bridesmaids looked stunning and it lasted all day despite the hot weather.
We wanted to buy suits rather than hire. James wore a three piece from Slaters. It was a very fine puppytooth patterned blue suit. He wore with a tailored white shirt and a pale pink tie to match the bridesmaids. On his feet he wore some tan brogues which complemented the suit perfectly. The groomsmen wore the same suits and shoes as James but wore with a matching blue tie instead of pink.
The girls wore gorgeous pale pink dresses from Untold at House of Fraser. I wanted to get something they could wear again rather than a traditional bridesmaid dress. They were teamed with gold heels similar to mine from New Look.
Hayley Baxter was our photographer. When we initially began looking we were steering clear of the very formal styles as we both are not the biggest fan of being photographed and much prefer the more relaxed, creative style that Hayley produced.
We would 100% recommend Hayley. She has such a lovely personality – very warm and friendly. She instantly made us both feel at ease like we’d known her for years and she managed to produce the most amazing collection of natural photographs that we really never thought would be possible!
I had the bright idea of doing all the wedding flowers myself soon after we got engaged. I spent months and months researching and trying to figure out how it would work and eventually came across an amazing woman through a website called Flowers from the Farm. Gill runs her own flower farm not far from where we live so after a quick visit to see her and discuss, everything was confirmed and I was all set to pick up eight big buckets of freshly cut flowers two days before the wedding.
I really enjoyed making the bouquets and buttonholes. I used roses in peach and pink shades with white peonies and coral berries to add more colour. I finished them with some foliage and wrapped with jute string. For the buttonholes I used blues and green. The focal flower was nigella, which I absolutely love! I wrapped them with a small piece of hessian and they were secured with a heart pin.
For the table centrepieces my dad made us some amazing wooden log stands on two levels. I decorated and sprayed bottles with lace, hessian, ribbon and filled with flowers. Also I decorated jam jars as tea light holders and made hessian table circles for everything to sit on decorated with hearts punched from woodgrain card, Kraft card and an atlas. For the top table we had a hollowed out log filled with the left over flowers that my aunties helped with the day before – it looked amazing and was one of my favourite pieces from the day!
I have my own wedding stationery business, Only by Knight, so I created all the on-the-day stationery/invites etc. myself.
My dad wanted to bring a little bit of Liverpool to our Yorkshire wedding so we gave the gents a Liverpool ale as favours and the ladies got a bottle of fizz.
We had the most amazing wedding cake. I’m lucky enough to have a very creative family; it must run in our blood! My cousin runs a small cake business, Betty and Junes Bakery. She is amazing, super talented and I knew straight away I wanted her to make our cake as her creativity is endless!
I’m not the biggest fan of traditional wedding cakes so straight away knew I’d want something a little different. I love the hand painted cake styles and to fit in with our rustic theme we decided we would like the tiers to resemble logs. That was literally the brief I gave to Katie and she really excelled! It was absolutely exquisite from the cute love heart to the handmade sugar flowers. Each tier of the cake was a different flavour; we had lemon drizzle with jam and butter cream, raspberry and white chocolate and a chocolate layer. It was finished up with some fresh flowers and a laser cut cake topper that I sourced from Etsy.
We used Taste Cuisine as our caterers. They are really are amazing at what they do. James is from Leeds and I am originally from Liverpool so for the canapés we had mini ‘pans’ of scouse and beef with Yorkshire puds along with a couple of others. For the wedding breakfast we had a Greek mezze platter, followed by lamb shank then a mix of two desserts (three layer chocolate torte and white chocolate cheesecake) as they were just too good to choose between!
Straight away we knew we wanted a band to provide entertainment. I stumbled across The One Step through Warble Entertainment and I was just drawn towards them. The lead singer Nick also did acoustic sets so we had him singing through the drinks reception and the wedding breakfast. Our friends and family absolutely loved him. They were great as a three piece too. Everyone was up dancing and having fun, and we especially enjoyed our rendition of Mr Brightside at the end to close the show!
In terms of special touches, the table plan was one of my favourite pieces from the day! My dad made us the giant frame and I decorated with flower garlands. Each table was named after a place James and I had visited together. The board had an envelope for each guest with a postcard inside that I’d created of an image of James and I in that particular location. We asked our guests to write us a message on the reverse and pin it back to the table plan so it doubled up as our guest book. I am going to make it into a piece of wall art now so we have a constant interactive reminder of the day. My dad also made us the sign for outside the venue; I made stencils and spray-painted the wording onto it. I decorated with flower garlands again and it was a great touch to the exterior of the venue.
We would 100% recommend our venue to others. Serena first off is one incredible woman! She was always on hand to help with whatever we needed and she really helped us to pull everything together ready for the big day. The venue itself is absolutely stunning. The fact it has the cottages built around it made it such a memorable weekend, not only for us but for our bridal party as we all got to experience everything together.
Funnily enough the part of the wedding I was dreading the most was, the ceremony, turned out to be one of my favourite bits. I’m naturally quite a shy person so the thought of everyone looking at me whilst me and pops made our way up the aisle filled me with dread and I really thought I would be a blubbering mess. But I really did enjoy it and no tears were shed! That along with the speeches – which were just fantastic – and seeing all of our friends and family laughing, joking and having the best time together was really special.
For our honeymoon we decided to go to Central America. We both love to travel and James has been around the world. We went to Costa Rica and Panama. It was the most amazing experience. We saw and did so much in two and a half weeks and have memories that we can now cherish forever.
My top tip to other Brides Up North is – be organised! We had two years between our engagement and big day. I bought a wedding planner book, created a budget spreadsheet but still life got in the way occasionally and it was quite stressful getting everything ready towards the end! Also get stuck in! Try to personalise your day as much as you can so it’s meaningful to you and your groom. I can’t tell you how great it feels to sit back on the day and look at everyone admiring all the hard work you’ve put in. It was a very proud moment! Finally, accept help! I can be a terrible control freak and like to do everything myself in my own way, sometimes you need to let go and accept that it’s just not possible! Besides you’ll find that a lot of your friends and family want to get involved and help. I would never have finished setting up on time without the help of my nearest and dearest the day before, they were all incredible!
August 17th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Wow, where to start with today’s village hall wedding? It’s absolutely gorgeous, from the bride’s bargain wedding dress to the pretty afternoon tea reception, and all that’s in-between!
As they were footing the bill for the wedding themselves, Claire and Matt where careful to stick to their budget, looking for areas in which they could make savings but without cutting corners, whilst also calling in favours from family and friends along the way.
Their vintage vision came together perfectly and provides so much inspiration for couples wanting to follow in similar themed footsteps. So let’s take a closer look at the pretty…
With images by Andrew Keher Photography.
claire says: We got engaged on my 30th birthday in November 2013 while in Belfast. I was born in Northern Ireland and my family still live there so Matt wanted to take me home to get engaged. Matt managed to plan the whole thing and keep it a secret – I had no idea! Throughout the day we arrived Matt was secretly recording little videos and pictures and sent them to an email account he set up for me. He later told me he had the ring with him all day but couldn’t find the right moment to ask the big question. He decided to ask me on my birthday so when I woke up he showed me the email account and got me to read all the messages he’d sent through. When I got to the final one he was down on one knee and before I knew it had asked me to marry him. We were both in tears at this point – it was perfect! Plus he chose ‘the ring’ I’d seen – a vintage 1920s engagement ring that was in a local jewellers, Mr Allan’s. Every time we went past we would look at it but then one day I noticed it had been sold – I was sad until I realised he’d saved up and bought it for me!
We set the date for 6th June 2015. We’d been together for nine years on the 4th June 2015 so this was the closest date we could get to that.
We got married at our church, St Oswald and St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic Church in Ashton-in-Makerfield. We both went to the high school there and some of Matt’s relatives are buried in the church grounds so it has a special connection for us. It’s a beautiful church – the photos from Andy really show off the church at its best. We chose Dunham Massey Village Hall for our reception as we love the area and the nearby National Trust Park. We also loved that it gave us the freedom to do what we wanted with the space. The price was so reasonable it was perfect for us as we were paying for the whole wedding ourselves.
We went with a vintage theme but it wasn’t really a conscious thing – we just love everything vintage! We were really keen on having afternoon tea which lends itself to the vintage theme really well.
We didn’t really have a set colour scheme. The colour came from the flowers – when we met Clare from The Flower Farm we decided on seasonal flowers with pinks, purples and blues to add some colour to the venue.
I was set on a dress in a vintage style. I knew I wanted lace and tried on a few styles before I found ‘the one’! I tried Ali by Augusta Jones in a local bridal shop and knew instantly it was the one but it was way out of my budget – £2,000! I tried to find something similar on the high street but couldn’t get this dress out of my mind. In the end I found it for sale for £600 on eBay and arranged with the seller to go and try it on. I would recommend that anyone buying second hand does the same and be 100% sure you’re happy with it before you hand over any money.
To go with the dress, I wanted some shoes that were special so I knew I’d find something from Rachel Simpson. The Gardenia style in powder blue were just what I wanted and were so comfortable to wear – I kept them on all day. I kept my accessories really simple with a pair of drop pearl earrings from Marks & Spencer and my engagement ring.
Matt was keen to wear something a little different and special for the big day. After a ‘few’ shopping trips he eventually found his suit in Reiss – the Claymore. After that nothing compared so it had to be that one. He paired this with a slim fit shirt from TM Lewin, navy bow tie from Red Herring, navy braces from Next and tan brogues from Autograph at Marks & Spencer. Matt’s best man wore a navy suit and shirt from Next.
We booked a vintage double decker bus from Belle Vue Coaches in Stockport as our transport. I travelled with my bridesmaids and mum to the church in the bus and then we travelled down to the venue after the wedding. Alan the bus driver was a legend – he managed to navigate the small country roads to get us all there in one piece.
Andrew Keher was our photographer and I would 100% recommend him! Andy was amazing on the day and was fab throughout the whole process of booking and our engagement shoot. Andy does natural really well, we didn’t want to have lots of group shots but wanted to remember those little moments throughout the day. That’s what Andy does so well and after the wedding he posted little sneak peeks to Facebook which kept us going until we received our wooden box in the post. He puts so much thought into what he does and really cares about the whole experience for the couples he works with. Just amazing – money well spent!
On the wedding day I carried a bouquet of wild flowers from The Flower Farm. It was beautiful, smelled amazing and Clare put some peonies in there too, which are my favourite flowers!
To decorate, we bought three buckets of wild flowers from Clare. We had jam jars on the tables so this allowed us to create a rustic feel to the arrangements. Clare also made the bridesmaids bouquets, some flower hair clips and all of the buttonholes. We also bought 100 stems of gypsophila, which we suspended from the ceiling.
Our venue dresser Harri Bradburn came up with some lovely ideas for the venue which included a little area for our guests where they could take a picture using an Instax camera or write us a message using the typewriter. On the tables she put some advice cards for our guests to give us advice for a happy marriage. There were some interesting ones! Harri spent so much time on the little details that really made the difference on the day.
The room just looked stunning! We had lots of bunting, lace panels with fairy lights and lots of jam jars! Our friends were very generous and we borrowed some beautiful pieces to use in the venue. My friend Kath loaned us the tea trolley that the cake sat on and the stepladders that were adorned with flowers on the stage. At my hen do my friends gave me some little trinkets that we used to dress the venue on the day. My bridesmaids both had some keepsakes made for us so we used those as well. It was lovely to include those little personal touches.
For our wedding cake we wanted Victoria sponge (as we both love it) and we were really keen on having tiered naked cake. We met with Annalise from One Sweet Day who immediately understood what we wanted. It was even better that I expected and the bunting was a gorgeous finishing touch. It was delicious too!
We knew early on that we wanted afternoon tea for our wedding meal – we’ve become a bit obsessed! My friend Wendy (from work) and Anne were the perfect choice as this is their forte! They also provided all of the vintage china that our guests used. We met with them a few times to decide what we were going to have – the lemon drizzle cake is their speciality and went down a treat on the day! We also love pizza so early in the planning process we found a few companies that have pizza vans. We knew we had to have one so we contacted Honest Crust who were so lovely and provided us with the best pizza’s we’ve had. The salads were also delicious and went down well. We bought the wine from Majestic Wines and went with a Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinot Blush. Matt was in charge of beer and contacted Dunham Massey Brewery to order a keg of their Summer Meadow ale and cider for our guests. This went down really well especially with the men attending!
At the reception Matt and I decided to have a sweetheart table. We were so happy we did this as it gave us some time to ourselves to catch up after the wedding. Everyone says your wedding day goes so fast but I think this helped us to have a moment for just us.
In terms of entertainment, Matt’s mum arranged for the Haydock Male Voice Choir to sing at the church. We chose a few songs for them to sing: Embraceable You, Cwm Rhondda and a few others – everyone was in tears as it was so emotional and sounded amazing.
For the reception we had an outdoor seating area with some hay bales and outdoor games and we booked a DJ, Paul Leffler, on recommendation from one of our friends. We gave him a list of songs we love and he managed to fit them all in and get everyone up dancing. Our first dance was When I Fall in Love by Nat King Cole – we loved that it is a classic and suited us as a couple.
Others fab suppliers we used on the day included Nicola at Johnson Hairdressing Group in Wigan, who did mine and my bridesmaids’ hair and our makeup was done by the fantastic Mika Johnson. We hired our folding wooden chairs from The Chairman Company, who were very reasonably priced and provided easy delivery to the venue. Our wedding rings were from Mr Allan, the same jewellers that Matt bought my engagement ring from. Matt had his grandad’s ring re-sized and I had a white gold band specially made to fit the round shape of my ring. Our confetti was from Shropshire Petals – we went with the Vintage Daydream mix, which I think this summed up the day perfectly!
We would recommend our wedding venue to other couples that want control over what they do on their big day. The location is in the lovely village of Dunham Massey and has some outdoor space that can be used as well. Andrew, the caretaker is so helpful and lives next door so was on hand if we needed any help. I was amazed when we were looking at venues how much money couples are charged for various things (corkage, cake cutting etc.) so if you want to save some money this is a really good way to do it.
Meeting Matt at the top of the altar was my favourite moment of the day – it was all worth it at that point. I was close to tears all the way up the aisle but managed to keep it together. Matt said his favourite moment was when we were outside on the hay bales with all of our friends.
We haven’t been on our honeymoon yet but we’re planning on going to Italy at the end of September. We want to go to Florence, Rome and then spend some time on the Amalfi Coast. We’re really looking to it – with all the saving for the wedding we’ve not been away for years! We did manage to get a few nights away after the wedding to chill out. We stayed at The Drawing Room in Powys.
Everyone says this but my top tip to other Brides Up North is to do what makes you happy as a couple – it’s your day. It was a little easier for us to do this as we paid for the wedding so we didn’t feel obliged but I think there are ways to get what you want while keeping everyone else happy. And make sure you have some time to just you on the day.
andrew keher photography, Augusta Jones, belle vue coaches, debenhams, dunham massey brewery, haydock male voice choir, honest crust, majestic wines, marks and spencer, mika johnson, monsoon, mr allans, next, one sweet day, paul leffler, rachel simpson, real wedding, red herring, shropshire petals, the chairman company, the drawing room, the flower farm, tm lewin, uk wedding blog, village hall wedding, vintage wedding
Subscribe to receive the FREE weekly Brides Up North e-shot, our newletters and notifications of events, giveaways and offers
We strive to represent the very best in our industry, but Brides Up North cannot be held liable for the products/ services of our sponsors. Any bookings are made at your own risk. Terms & Conditions.
All images © Brides Up North/ original author. Images should not be reproduced without written permission. Terms & Conditions.