Charlotte Balbier

when in rome. a sumptuous wedding at swinton park – victoria & matthew

November 23rd, 2016 | Alexis Forsyth

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For today’s real wedding, we’re getting swept away by the enchantment of Victoria and Matthew’s beautiful wedding set in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales.

Combining the tradition of a church ceremony with the decadence of a castle, hotel and stately home for their celebrations – this is a wedding with class and sophistication in spades, and we simply adore every little detail from their special day!

With images by Andy Sutcliffe Photography.

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victoria says: Matthew proposed during a surprise break away to Rome, leaving me guessing right until check in at the airport as to where we were going. Little did I know that in the luggage that I’d been carting around, on and off trains and through the airport, there was an engagement ring.

The hotel in Rome had a balcony that overlooked the city and the view was incredible. Every day the hotel staff kept leaving bottles of champagne and strawberries in the room and I had no idea why. I just thought it was all part of their hospitality and even said that we should stay in this hotel more often, as I felt like a princess.

We visited many historical sights and enjoyed sightseeing around the city, including a visit to the Vatican. On the final evening, I was so exhausted from walking around that I suggested that we should stay at the hotel for a meal, but Matthew insisted that we should go out. When we arrived back at the hotel, the balcony had been lit up with candles and there was a large parcel wrapped up on the table with a bottle of champagne. I was very surprised and I thought Matthew was too. Matthew insisted I open the parcel. Initially I thought it was a gift from the hotel, because of all the surprises they kept sending to us each night. I carefully tore the paper and inside was a canvas with photographs of Matthew’s niece and nephews holding up signs reading, “Will you marry Uncle Matthew please?” At this point, Matthew got onto one knee and pulled a ring box from his pocket and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes!

A few days after we returned home, I received a postcard stamped from Vatican City. Matthew had sent me a postcard when we were in the Vatican City saying that by now he hopes that I am his fiancée and can’t wait to marry me. I didn’t even notice that he had done this and I was with him the whole time. This came as a great surprise. Just as well I said yes!

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We got married on 3rd August 2015. The ceremony took place at St. Joseph and St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church, Richmond, North Yorkshire. We chose this church as it was fairly local to our reception venue – Swinton Park in Masham, North Yorkshire. Our local priest, Father Butters was able to conduct the ceremony too, which made it even more special.

We had a Roman Catholic ceremony with two readings. The first was from the letter of St. Paul to the Philippians, read by the mother of the groom and then then a reading from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians read by my godmother. We also had bidding prayers that were read by our eight-year-old nephew Louis, and my cousin Michelle.

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captain’s table. justin alexander for an urban wedding at the merseyside maritime museum – beth & will

November 14th, 2016 | Alexis Forsyth

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Today on the blog, we’re all at sea as we head to Liverpool for our latest real wedding.

Engaged for just over a year, Beth and beau Will – who is in the Navy – tied the knot at Bridge Chapel in Garston. Despite their best attempts to avoid an obvious naval theme, the couple were won over by the Maritime Museum and its picture-perfect views of the city’s skyline, and ended up hosting their celebrations in this iconic landmark, complete with a swing and jazz band.

With some of the couple’s guests contributing to their special day – we’re talking a handmade wedding cake and specially written music for them to walk down the aisle to – this is a wedding brimming with unforgettable and sentimental touches.

With images by Ian MacMichael Photography.

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Beth says: Will and I got engaged in May 2015 in Sefton Park in Liverpool. Will is from Liverpool and loved taking me to visit where he grew up. I quickly fell in love with the place and Sefton Park was one of my favourite spots.

Will is in the Navy, and whilst abroad in Gibraltar he was window shopping and found my engagement ring. As he didn’t have a permanent space to leave his belongings, he hid it in one of his bags in my house, waiting for the opportunity to ask.

We visited his family one sunny day in May and had lounged around all morning so decided to go for a long walk. After settling down by the lake and reading together in Sefton Park, he pulled a big black box out of his rucksack and it was filled with sentimental items that told the story of our relationship, like a wooden postcard I carved for him one Valentine’s Day when he was away on a ship, and the train tickets from when he asked me to be his girlfriend. I was touched that he had kept all of these things and the next thing I knew, Will told me to close my eyes. When I opened them, there he was with the ring. He had to ask twice as I was so surprised I didn’t answer the first time!

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We were married on Saturday 6th August 2016. I didn’t want a long engagement but I have family who were living abroad at the time that we both wanted there. It also meant that Will could give plenty of notice to his boss so that he could request leave.

We were married at Bridge Chapel in Garston – the church that Will and his family have attended since Will was small. We are both committed Christians and wanted God to be a big focus of our day. The service was beautiful.

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We held our reception at Merseyside Maritime Museum. I’m a bit of a self-confessed hipster, so I love anything red brick and museum related. Will had asked that we avoided a naval theme, but when we stepped inside the venue and saw the gorgeous Liverpool skyline out of the window, we simply couldn’t resist!

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natural glamour. ronald joyce for a romantic wedding at ashton memorial – melissa & craig

October 26th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

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We love that today’s real wedding has been influenced by two different styles – wild nature and glamour – that when brought together, complement each other perfectly!

Everything about Melissa and Craig’s big day is utterly gorgeous; from the choice of ceremony venue, styling and elegant colour scheme, to the bridal party’s stunning attire.

Though there is a lot of beauty to be admired, standout details for us include Melissa’s handmade headpiece, the blousy bouquets and both the bride and groom’s fancy footwear!

With images by Pixies in the Cellar.

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melissa says: We got engaged during the trip of a lifetime. I’d quit my job, Craig had taken a sabbatical and we travelled around the world together for five months, it was our dream and we decided it was now or never! We trekked the Inca Trail, travelled Australia by bus, walked the Great Wall of China and learnt to scuba dive in Thailand. At every great landmark we visited Craig made me pose with a sign with a single letter on and took a photo. He’s always full of kooky ideas and told me it was for a surprise collage when we got back. So I held aloft a ‘V’ at Machu Picchu, an ‘E’ at the Sydney Opera House, an ‘M’ in Halong Bay and so on!

On the final night of our trip we went all out and booked the Lebua hotel in Bangkok (The Hangover 2 film hotel!) As we got ready for a special meal Craig went out to ask what time the rooftop bar opened, then the bellboy rang the door with a big envelope. Inside were all the photos of me with the letters and a note – they were numbered and I had to re-arrange them, if I understood then I was to go and find him. I re-ordered them and it spelled out “Veux tu m’epouser?” – will you marry me in French! I had lived in Paris for several years and this was also so I wouldn’t have guessed throughout the trip if it were spelt in English! As a typical woman I rushed to finish half my hair and get on my shoes… then there was a knock at the door, Craig on one knee! Too nervous and impatient waiting for me, he proposed right there & I very happily said “Oui!” We had a wonderful night celebrating in the rooftop bar.

We set the wedding date for Saturday 23rd July 2016. We chose this date, as it would mark seven years since our first date.

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Being some of the last people in our friendship group to marry, we were determined to find a different venue, where none of our friends had been married before us. Although we had loved the idea of a destination wedding it just wasn’t practical family wise so we had to find somewhere that wowed us closer to home. As Craig is rather tall we wanted somewhere with grandeur but not really a church – when we visited Ashton Memorial it all fell into place. It immediately appealed to me – it was a beautiful domed building, all light and windows, surrounded by nature and spectacular views. We also loved the fact Lord Ashton had built it as a tribute to his wife.

We then had to find somewhere for our reception. After a lot of searching we found Forrest Hills, a relatively new multi-purpose venue, which had hosted some lovely weddings. Upon visiting we loved the wild natural beauty and secluded location. Also, the option of an open-side marquee next to the lake combined our dream of an open air wedding and the practicality for British weather, just in case.

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Our theme was ‘wild natural glamour’ – a bit of a running joke with our florist. We had two sides to our wedding – one side the cottage like reception venue, the cascading flowers intertwined with driftwood and our marquee with open sides to allow the real ‘outdoor’ feeling we wanted. On the other side we loved the glamorous elements – an ice sculpture, popping a giant gold bottle of champagne instead of cutting the cake, Craig in a tuxedo and a beautiful cream Rolls Royce as transport. We loved the mix of the two to fit our personalities.

We decided early on to have a duck egg blue colour scheme with accents of gold. It felt like it matched the theme of the day – wild natural surroundings and dramatic venues, with some glamour!

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As I own my own occasion wear brand, people kept asking if I was going to design my own wedding dress – but I couldn’t face the visualisation required and the extra stress! Luckily when I came across the Ronald Joyce Erin gown on Pinterest, it was beautifully styled on a bride and I had to try it. I always wanted a fitted fishtail gown with a beautiful back and this dress was just that, the crystal beads draped at the back and the low sheer lace detail ticked all my boxes. The experience at Emma Louise Bridal was friendly and personal, I didn’t feel pressured into anything and they gave honest opinions. My mum and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole dress shopping experience (all 20 or so shops!), it will always be a time I’ll treasure, just the two of us.

Accessories wise I knew I wanted a long dramatic veil – but with the detail on the dress it had to be quite simple. I chose a two-layer chapel length veil in soft ivory tulle, from The Wedding Veil Shop. I loved the way it fell over my shoulders and was sheer enough to see the back detail on the dress.

One of the main accessories for my look was the headpiece – I had lusted over some beautiful freshwater pearl styles but my budget didn’t quite stretch. Not one to be deterred I took two lengths of pearl and crystal flowers I sourced online and intertwined them to make the full dramatic headpiece I desired, able to wrap around the front and back. With my masses of hair I knew it wouldn’t overpower my look.

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butterflies & blooms. a romantic blush pink wedding in the north west – charlotte & chris

October 17th, 2016 | Laura McDonagh

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Today’s bride and groom were married at the stunning Warrington Golf Club surrounded by their very nearest and dearest.

The wedding day was a sublime, pink-hued affair with more than a hint of Midsummer Night’s romanticism and revelry.

There were plenty of nods to tradition, including Charlotte’s showstopper of a Camelot-inspired dress, but also plenty of fun, personal touches, such as the Marvel Comics cake and Molly the Chorkie dressed in dusty pink.

So, ready for some romance?

With images by Helen Smiddy of HJS Photography.

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charlotte says: We got engaged during a cruise to the Bahamas in June 2014. Chris proposed on a starlit night whilst we were on route to Miami. It was very romantic, although he had to walk me around the ship four times before he plucked up the courage to ask the question!

We decided to get married on 11th June 2016. We chose this date for two reasons: it was exactly two years from the date of the proposal, and I’d always wanted to be a June bride.

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We were married at our local church, St Mary’s, in Great Sankey. Chris and I wanted a traditional church wedding, and St Mary’s is so pretty and traditional. We then travelled to Warrington Golf Club for the wedding breakfast and evening celebrations.

Our theme was based around butterflies; I love butterflies, and they always make me think of summer. Our colour scheme was a dusty pink. I’m a self-confessed girly girl and pink has always been my favourite colour.

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I wanted a dress and veil that were a little different and suited my style. I’d always admired the fairy-like style of dresses in movies, such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Camelot, and I hoped to emulate this style. I bought the dress in Blackpool and had the veil made to match. My shoes were ordered from Monsoon and my hair vine and jewellery were from Debenhams.

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get set, sparkle. ian stuart for a winter wedding at armathwaite hall – emma & mark

September 20th, 2016 | Julia Braime

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Today on the blog we have some beautiful inspiration for those of you planning winter weddings as we share the details of Emma and Mark’s big day.

Following an Ikea proposal (don’t worry, he made up for it), Emma and Mark set about planning an atmospheric November wedding, complete with lots of soft candlelight and sparkling décor.

Going all out on the opportunity to wear a big dress, bride Emma chose a stunning Ian Stuart gown with accents of shimmering silver to match both the colour scheme and season. Now that’s what we call a dress with the wow-factor!

With images by Jonny Draper Photography.

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emma says: We got engaged in Ikea over meatballs! Honestly! But then we had my engagement ring specially made and Mark surprised me with a trip to London to see the Lion King (I love Disney). He got us box seats and had champagne and chocolates put in the box. It was amazing!

As we loved the idea of a Christmas or winter wedding we set the date for 28th November.

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Our chosen venue was Armathwaite Hall in Keswick. We both love the Lake District and when we went to look at venues Armathwaite felt really personal. I like modern venues and Mark likes old fashioned and Armathwaite had the perfect blend of both.

To fit the time of year we went for a sparkly wedding theme (with a hint of Disney!) As we knew it would be dark outside we thought lots of sparkles and candles would look great.

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When it came to the colour scheme we knew that we didn’t want everyone in the same colour as we had an unconventional bridal party in that the maid of honour was male and we had female groomsmen. I also wanted each of the bridesmaids to have dresses that suited them, rather than sticking to a certain theme. In the end we went for pale pastel colours accented with a silver shimmer.

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I chose to wear an Ian Stuart dress from Ava Rose Hamilton. I instantly fell in love with it. I’d tried on about seven or eight dresses beforehand but none of them made me excited, or felt quite so special. I knew I wanted a big dress – the sort that you can only ever wear on your wedding day – but also wanted something that really suited me. I loved the silver woven into the lace of the dress and that it had a huge skirt but fitted silk body. I never thought I would get a strapless dress but the minute I tried it on I knew it was right.

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roses & romance. mori lee for a vintage style wedding at newton hall – holly & ben

September 16th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

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We all know that while you can plan a wedding down to the finest detail there are some elements of the day that are entirely out of your control, most notably the weather.

Today’s real wedding couple are a shining example of how to not let the unpredictable British weather dampen your big day celebrations.

Despite the downpours outdoors, the bride, groom and their guests got on with enjoying themselves inside the beautiful Newton Hall, rather getting hung up on the fact that the sun hadn’t made an appearance.

The wedding was beautifully styled, as were the wedding party, and we’re super impressed with the stunning portrait images captured by their photographer considering that he was confined to just the indoors. Excellent work Ally!

With images by Ally M Photography.

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holly says: We got engaged at Claridge’s in London in November 2014. Ben had planned to propose in Dubai a few months after this date, however we had cancelled the trip as I found out I was expecting our daughter Mia! Ben can luckily rely on me to order a dessert whenever we go out. He had the staff write ‘Holly, will you marry me?’ on the plate. At first I was annoyed that precious dessert space was taken up with writing, then I realised what it said. I forgave him and said yes!

We got married on the 17th June 2016. As all couples who decide to marry in Britain do, we played Russian Roulette with the weather and just hoped we would win with a June wedding (we lost…badly!).

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We got married at Newton Hall, Northumberland. It had everything we could possibly have wanted. It’s surrounded in beautiful British countryside and it also sits near the stunning coastline they have there. We were searching for “different and quirky wedding venues” and Newton Hall popped up. The pictures were stunning so we booked a visit. I didn’t dare believe it would be the one given it was the first we’d viewed, but I immediately fell in love with it as we pulled up the driveway. I love how they’ve kept the traditional feel of the house whilst also adding so much fun to it. Every room is just gorgeous. We’re also one of the last of our friends to get married so it was nice to find somewhere we could have our wedding where we hadn’t been before. It just meant it felt more special to us.

Ben gave me full reign over the theming of the wedding (this made us both very happy) and I always go for girly/pretty! I wanted it to be vintage and beautiful so it could blend with our fabulous venue.

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With two little girls, our whole life is already in pink so I just naturally went for subtle and dusky shades if pinks and purples for the colour scheme.

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