January 19th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
They’ve only gone and done it again – Brides Up North High Street Honey favourite Monsoon has just released its Spring/Summer 15 bridal collection and just as those that have gone before, it’s flippin’ gorgeous.
Ideal for stylish brides on a budget, Monsoon knows how to deliver highly swoon-worthy dresses that won’t break the bank. Drawing on current bridal trends there are gowns of varying styles, lengths and materials, providing plenty of prettiness.
As the collection is for the warmer season, it includes some stunning short-length gowns, including the sweet and sophisticated Harriet and Jane. I absolutely adore these designs, which have highly desirable price tags, with Jane coming in at just under £300 and Harriet costing an incredible £169.
Harriet is a 1960s inspired shift dress with simple floral jacquard and crystal gem, pearl and bead detailing while Jane features a tulle overlay with lavish pearl and sequin embellishments, which are all hand embroidered.
For fans of intricate detailing there is also the wonderful Maria and Georgina gowns in short lengths but both have sleeves for those wanting a little more coverage. Both are adorned with elaborate embellishing that ooze opulence. I also particularly like how the cape of Georgina can be worn two different ways around or even detached altogether, giving a bride the option of several different looks for her big day.
Sticking with highly detailed designs, Monsoon has some vintage inspired floor-length gowns that emulate regal Gatsby glamour. Sophia and Camille are wonderful examples. Slim-line Sophia is encrusted with crystal gems, pearls and sequins from top-to-toe, while the flirty tassels and glitzy detailing of Camille gives it an elegant flapper girl feel.
And Monsoon hasn’t forgotten about ladies that like to keep things simple. The likes of Elinor and Olivia are graceful gowns that still feature fancy detailing but that isn’t too flashy.
January 6th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Well, yesterday was all kinds of exciting wasn’t it? Click here to catch up on our big news. Today, it’s back to basics, and what we do best – sharing the prettiest weddings to insire our readers’ own big days.
The first Real Wedding of 2015 is lovely in every way (just the way we like it on these pages), from the sweet vintage summer theme to the delicate flower choices and idyllic seaside location.
Chloe and Dan clearly have excellent taste with the bride opting for a wonderfully detailed Jenny Packham gown and the groom having a suit tailor made, including its very special lining. They even sourced a bow tie for their special guest, Winston the Golden Retriever, to ensure he fitted in with the celebrations.
The organised couple picked their food choices carefully in order to pull the look together. Guests were treated to ice creams on arrival, a quaint afternoon tea and fish and chip supper!
So let’s tuck in to this delicious celebration.
With images by Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography.
chloe says: Dan proposed on a beach on a tiny island off the east coast of mainland Malaysia in 2012. It was a complete surprise and he had the very well travelled ring ready. It was after dinner and already rather dark and so my immediate response was ‘I can’t see it!’ before running off to find some light so I could get a good look at the ring. Not quite what Dan was hoping for but I did say ‘yes’ eventually!
We married on 26th July 2014. Exactly two years to the day that we became engaged.
We got married in St Oswald’s Church, Lythe in North Yorkshire. A beautiful old church overlooking the North Yorkshire coast. Our reception was held at Danby Castle on the North York Moors. We completely fell in love with the stunning views over the Esk Valley and the relaxed, can-do attitude of all of the wonderful people at Danby Castle. Nothing was too much trouble. We would highly recommend Danby Castle to other wedding couples. Jemma and Emily there both ensured the planning was as stress free as possible.
The theme for the day was relaxed vintage summer fayre. We didn’t want an overly stuffy or formal affair so this theme suited us well.
I struggled initially with the wedding dress hunt. I didn’t know what I was looking for, I just knew what I wasn’t looking for. I didn’t want a strapless gown (which at the time that I was looking was quite a challenge) and I wanted something a little different from the norm. After looking in a few boutiques and feeling a little despondent at the lack of variety in styles, I visited the wonderful White Room in Sheffield as I had seen online that they were stockists of Jenny Packham and Charlotte Pettibone. I initially tried on Jenny Packham’s Eden for a little bit of fun as I didn’t think I wanted a sparkly dress but I loved it. It was different, it was vintage inspired, it was me! My wedding shoes were from Manolo Blahnik and Debbie Carlisle of DC Bouquets made my beautiful hair comb and cuff.
Dan designed and had his suit made at A Suit That Fits in Manchester. It was a grey three piece suit and the pièce de résistance was the custom made jacket lining that Dan designed, full of photographs that meant something special to him. He teamed his suit with a checked shirt from Ralph Lauren and a pale blue tie from John Lewis.
We also had an extra special guest at our wedding – Winston, our Golden Retriever! He wore a blue bow tie to tie in with the groomsmen. Jackie from Supa Furry Animals handled him for us which was great as it meant that we could relax and enjoy ourselves without having to worry about taking care of Winston.
The bridesmaids wore pale coral dresses with a lace overlay from Monsoon. Unfortunately for me, by the time I discovered them on Pinterest and decided that they would fit the theme beautifully, they were no longer available in store. A mammoth eBay search ensued and luckily I managed to get my hands on four of them! The groomsmen wore grey suits of their choice and the each wore a pale blue tie from John Lewis to match Dan’s.
For our wedding transport we hired a camper van from All Cool Camper Hire. ‘Rose’ the 1965 campervan was beautifully retro and also practical – being big enough to transport all the bridesmaids to the church before coming back to collect my Dad and I.
Jo and Simon from Shoot Lifestyle were our photographers and were just wonderful. As someone who is admittedly not a massive fan of being in front of the camera, the idea of being the centre of attention for the day was a little daunting. However, from our very first meeting I knew that Jo and Simon would put me at ease as they are just such fun, gorgeous people who make you feel as though you have known them forever. I loved their informal, relaxed images and knew that they would do a fantastic job – which they did. I cannot recommend them highly enough.
In addition, the very talented Gareth Ashcroft created our three minute wedding video, which is fantastic. It captured the essence of the day beautifully and on the day he was so discrete that many of our guests didn’t even realise we were having a video made until we shared it with them later on!
Audrey Foster arranged my flowers. My brief to her was that I wanted rustic, relaxed, hand tied bouquets and she did a great job. Audrey Foster also decorated the church and Danby Castle for us. Heather and wheat was tied to the pew ends with raffia and vintage jugs church filled with an assortment of wild flowers and roses decorated the church. The theme was carried through to Danby Castle, where relaxed flower arrangements in small glass bottles and jars adorned the tables and window ledges. The flowers used included sweet avalanche and peach avalanche roses, veronica, nigella, gyp, china grass, fountain grass, astilbe, very pale pink spray roses, santini, dried lavender, white stocks or white larkspur, wax flower, white freesias, wheat, scabious seedheads, heather.
My favourite part of the day was as we left the church in the camper van to head for Danby Castle. All our guests had lined up spontaneously to wave us off. Looking out of the back window of the campervan and seeing so many of our favourite people all together – all of whom had travelled so far to come and wish us well was such an overwhelming feeling.
December 16th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Frances and Olly’s relaxed marquee wedding is filled with fun, fab florals (some ten feet tall, watch out for the giant daffs) and fuelled by a free bar. Always a nice idea.
It’s the first wedding ever to be held at Mill Granary Cottages, and I have a feeling that the bar has been set pretty high…
Get ready to party!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Camera A Photography.
frances says: We got engaged in October 2013 – a week before my birthday. We got engaged on the Friday morning. Olly had liaised with a colleague of mine and put a “fake meeting” in my diary so I thought I had a full day at work. I also thought we were going to Sheffield to visit friends on Friday night. I got up at 6am and Olly said I wasn’t going to work that day. I told him he was wrong because I had a meeting. He asked me to marry him in our flat in the morning before he whisked me off to Paris to celebrate.
We got married in a beautiful church, St Osmund’s in Gainford on 7th June 2014.
The reception venue was Mill Granary Cottages – we hired the cottages and put a marquee on the meadow next to them. It was the first wedding they had ever done and it looked amazing. Kate and Richard (who own Mill Granary) were fantastic.
We wanted the wedding to be fun and relaxed and for everyone to have a good time, and I’m not sure I managed a colour scheme!
I travelled in a white VW beetle to the wedding. My bridesmaids were in a VW van. I used Lovedub Cars.
I chose a dress from Sabina Motasem, a designer based in London. I wanted something elegant and not too over the top. She has some beautiful dresses in her collection.
My hair and makeup were done by Hobbs and Holmes and they were so good on the morning of the wedding.
The bridesmaid dresses were from Monsoon – silver coloured, knee length and really pretty. The ushers wore their own suits and Olly bought them their ties and pocket squares.
Olly wore a Reiss suit. He looked fit.
I carried white peonies. My mum bought them from the flower market and my friend Ruth made the bouquets with the help of Olly’s sister. The bridesmaids had white peonies and pink roses. Ruth did those as well. Befriend a florist it’s a huge money saver!
Our photographers were Jane and Anne from Camera A in Darlington. They were brilliant. Jane was completely organised and made sure she extracted a full briefing from us before the day to get the shots we wanted. They were both really flexible on the day and the photos are gorgeous.
The decorations outside the marquee and around the marquee were provided for by Ruthie from Cloud Nine Decor. She is an amazing talent and provided giant flowers, a bluebell archway, and loads of bunting.
The table decorations were provided by my Mum. She collected little crystal vases from charity shops and they were filled with wild flowers from fields and woodland that she collected.
Olly made the cake – it was a family recipe – Guinness cake. It was delicious.
We chose not to give out favours – there was a free bar!
We ordered our wine from Majestic. We had a French Malbec and a South African white. The food was provided by The Game Cart. Really delicious food and their front of house staff were superb, making sure our guests were really looked after.
We had three of our friends do DJ shifts on the night. They were brilliant and just banged out the hits. The dance floor was permanently full.
We’d absolutely recommend Marston Moor Marquees and Mill Granary Cottages. If you want a marquee wedding but need somewhere to host it, this is the place.
We’re off on our honeymoon over Christmas – destination TBC…
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to have a free bar if you can – it’s well worth it!
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December 9th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Alex & Nick’s glam & gorgeous country garden themed wedding has it all – beautiful blooms, a fab frock and plenty of fudge!
Groom Nick also knows what side his bread’s buttered on, sending his best man bearing a pair of Jimmy Choo skyscrapers to his bride to be on the morning of the wedding. Alex, you’ve trained him well.
With images by Niki Mills Photography.
Alex says:We got engaged at home on our five year anniversary and were married on 19th September 2014. We chose the date due to it being seven years to the day we met. Were not the romantic type so this made our day extra special.
We got married at St Peters Church in Darwen because it is where I was christened and due to it having links with St Pauls, where Nicks Grandparents, Aunty and Parents were married.
We chose The Inn at Whitewell as our reception venue as I remember going to a wedding when I was younger and thinking to myself ‘If I ever get married I want it to be here!’. Nick also loved the character of the place and we agreed it was ‘us’.
I picked a ‘Garden’ theme as my wedding dress had the most intricate floral lace and embellishment on it and I wanted everything to relate to the dress on the day. My husband calls me a magpie as I love anything sparkly so the day needed to be glam too.
The colour scheme chose me. I love the vintage feel with golds, blush, nudes, creams, greys and pinks and made sure they all had a part to play somewhere. I also added a little fresh green to break it up and give the theme a little dimension! Everything that featured in the day was there because I liked it not because it matched.
All wedding dresses are beautiful and its hard finding ‘the one’. After searching when we first got engaged I found a beautiful Blue by Enzoani dress in Lulu Browns (Whalley) that was fresh and young with one shoulder. It was so completely different to what I thought it would want but so beautiful too. We didn’t start planning properly until December 2013, and when I went to look for dresses again I walked in Bellisima (Holcombe Brook, Bury) and there it was there waiting for me.
Joanne Tudda MUA did my make up on the day, she is recently qualified and was valuable to the ladies of the wedding party on the morning of the wedding.
Nick very clothes conscious and wanted a mod suit and to arrive on a Vespa, but after a discussion on how our Dads would look in this type of suit and a successful fitting at Amelia’s Bridal (Clitheroe) he decided on light grey tails, skinny trousers, a floral tie and brown brogues – and looked ever so classic and handsome.
Bridesmaids dresses are lovely but I didn’t want them to look the same as everyone else, I chose metallic evening gowns from Phase Eight and had them custom fit for every girl.
The flower girl dresses were chosen by Nick by accident in Monsoon, the vintage frocks had the exact same colour sash as the bridesmaids and floral lace. They were perfect for my girls who were 8, 4 and 3.
I arrived in a classic black Mercedes, I love the vintage cars but as the venue is 40 minutes away we decided to spend the majority of the transport budget on a double decker bus for the night guests. Apparently it was quite a ride on the county roads home!
Our photographer was Niki Mills from Niki Mills Photography. After watching her DVD and crying at how beautifully she had captured other couples special days I booked her. From that moment on she went above and beyond, from a really fun engagement shoot (which really helped our confidence under the lense) to rounding everyone up on the day to ensure she got all the shots we wanted. When starting the wedding planning process my dad said to me ‘Make sure you spend good money on the photographer, you’ll never get that day back’. And he was right, Niki captured our day in a way that really tells our story, in exactly the relaxed fun style we wanted. I am so glad I didn’t have a videographer as Nikki achieved what they would have done with just her talent.
I remember seeing a Naked Cake for the first time and thinking ‘Wow, I wonder who can make me one of those?’. I enlisted the help of my godmothers daughter Victoria who does cake baking as a hobby but who is extremely good. She goes by the name of ‘Victoria Sponge’. She took the task on board and did not disappoint with the cake being a huge hit!
I envisioned the flowers to be as though they had been collected from a country garden with a vintage rose as the centrepiece. Sue’s Bluebells worked extremely hard at ensuring this vision was perfect over many cups of tea.
My bouquet was made by a good friend Danielle who made her own brooch bouquet a few years ago. I collected all the individual brooches and pieces of jewellery and she magically put it all together with added extras – such as my grandma & granddad being with me all day in a locket.
The decorations were all finds by my mum and me from Home Sense, The Range, charity shops, car boot sales, the wine loving next door neighbours and by painstakingly soaking jars in the washing up bowl to the annoyance of Nick. He would come home and say ‘Why are there so many watering cans in this house?!’ or ‘Surely you have enough jars now?!’.
Sue’s Bluebells put together all the centrepieces and Nicola at Bride’s Little Helper set up the marquee and created my unique crate and gold frame table plan.
I also envisioned a very romantic feel as it went dark in the marquee so with the help of Nicola put candles in everything. It really made a spectacle as the day room was so fresh and at night it changed into candlelight. I asked for the braziers to be lit outside and some guests sat outside with drinks round the fires.
Bride’s Little Helper is a wonderful little business, Nicola and Mark did so much for me in the run up to the wedding, from the beautiful stationary, the room, the transport and emotional support battling out ideas.
Nick and I are foodies and we love fudge. I ordered in a huge amount of the stuff from a gorgeous shop in the Peak District (where we go camping) and gave out Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate fudge to the delight of the guests. They were then given in little plant pots to go with the theme.
For the day guests we had a vintage ice cream trike, provided by Laura at Love My Trike which went down a treat with the guests, but for the evening entertainment we simply had a DJ. Nick has a brother and together they are all the entertainment any wedding needs. Nick being a huge lover of music (he went to Ibiza for his Stag weekend) talked me into the idea of an ‘Ibiza Hour’ which I ok’d as he hadn’t asked for much. It was all the entertainment we needed and had the guests up dancing all night long.
We added lots of special touches to the day, Nick and I no longer have any grandparents and we wanted them to be a part of our day, my dad and I spent an afternoon shabbing up an old pair of ladders and Nicola at brides little helper made the most gorgeous remembrance jars with their names in, which lit up at night.
We also love to go camping so every table was named under a place that we have visited in our tent, this went down a treat with our guests as many of them have been on these trips with us!
I really hate the pain of high heels so I painted an old magazine rack silver and made sure the girl guests had flip flops so there was no excuse not to dance!
I have many favourite moments, but sitting at the top table with my new husband surrounded by our closest friends and family who were there for us that day meant so much.
We honeymooned in Sri Lanka for a week and then onto the Maldives for ten nights. Nick is an action lover so in Sri Lanka we went white water rafting and on safari and snorkelled and scuba dived in the Maldives, together with a lot of sunbathing! A special surprise was the honeymoon being a gift to us from my mum and dad – we found out at the top table!
People say the best advice is to take a step back and take it all in. However, I would say to other Brides Up North– ground yourself in the morning, tell yourself that this is really happening and try to get into the moment. You spend months and months planning the most perfect day and on the day feel as though you are watching through a dream.
November 4th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Hannah and Jaxon’s wedding day was filled with soft colours, pretty details and homemade touches… and better yet, the beer supply was never going to run dry! Turns out that you can organise a
piss up wedding at a brewery…
I’ll raise a glass to Hannah and Jaxon for their super pretty, stylish, fun filled big day!
With images by Neil Jackson Photographic.
Hannah says: We got engaged on Friday 30th August 2013 in a beautiful village of Brompton on the outskirts of Scarborough, the place where I grew up as a child. It was a gorgeous day and we went for a little walk and a picnic. My husband had bought a blanket made by his Mum and a bag full of food and a bottle of bubbly. We laid this out in front of Brompton Church (where I’ve always wanted to get married…we didn’t end up getting married there-oops!), very picturesque. Just as I was getting ready to tuck into the lovely food Jaxon got down on one knee and asked me to do him the pleasure and be his wife. I said yes.
We were married on 2nd August 2014. We wanted a summer wedding and fortunately our dream venue had a cancellation on this day so it was meant to be. We got married at Hackness Church followed by a reception at Wold Top Brewery. Wold Top Brewery was everything I wanted it to be, beautiful, different, in the middle of nowhere, country style and who doesn’t want to get married in a brewery!
The theme for our wedding was rustic and country. The colour palette was neutral and dusty pink. I love neutral colours, we used lots of hessian, baby breath, creams and pinks.
Jaxon hired his traditional morning suit from Greenwoods.
The beautiful bridesmaids’ dresses were made by my wonderful Mum. The pattern was a Vogue pattern and we bought the material from the Sewing Centre in Scarborough. All 4 dresses were a slightly different shade of dusty pink. They all wore matching nude heels from Next.
My gorgeous flower girl wore a matching dusty pink flowery dress from Monsoon Children. My page boy wore linen trousers, linen waistcoat and a cotton shirt also from Monsoon Children.
My flowers were provided from my friend’s mother who is a retired florist. My flowers mainly consisted of Dutch Roses and Gyp (baby’s breath), they were beautiful.
Neil Jackson was our photographer.
I would recommend Neil to absolutely everyone, I already have. I believe some of my friends have booked him for their wedding. Neil did everything we asked him to and more. You can see from his photos how amazing and talented he is.
Previous to our wedding we did an engagement shoot which I would recommend to everyone. It gave Neil the chance to get to know us slightly better and it gave Jaxon and I the change to feel comfortable in front of a camera… I loved it!
For the wedding reception I made all the decorations, along with my wonderful little helpers. We decorated jars and tins and put them everywhere, jars filled with tea lights and cans filled with baby breath. The centre of the tables had slices of tree trunks, jars and a wine bottle wrapped in a hessian bag filled with baby breath. Dotted around the marquee we had huge pots with branches in wrapped in fairy lights.
I love that all the decoration, table plan, invitations, menus and so on were all homemade; it made the day feel so special and unique.
We gave out jars of homemade raspberry jam and bottles of our personalised Wold Top beer…Top Tite Tipple.
We used Florida Marquees to hire the marquee from which comes with tables, chairs, lights, dance floor etc. They’re a great company, very helpful.
We had a sit down three course meal catered for by our very close friends Nabs Nosh. The wines were provided through Wold Top brewery with a mixture of white and red on each table.
My favourite cake is Victoria sponge cake, so that’s what we had. A huge 4 tier Victoria sponge cake filled with berries and cream and laced with more berries and baby breath. The cake was made my talented sister-in-law Camilla.
For the evening we hired a Vintage Ice Cream Bike from Casino Knights with a choice of our ice creams in. This was a hit with our guests, they absolutely loved it. It was perfect on a lovely summers evening in the courtyard at Wold Top Brewery.
We hired a band called Grand Theft Audio and my brother was the amazing drummer. They played for the entire evening and were fantastic. They played requests on demand and guests never left the dance floor. The band was revealed in the evening in the entertainments marquee with the dance floor and starlit ceiling.
I would 100% recommend Wold Top Brewery. The events coordinator is hugely helpful and there is plenty of time to set everything up before the day, and even better…the guests can camp on the evening! A lot of our guests camped and it was great.
I loved the whole day, everything about it, everything ran smoothly and just how we wanted it. We loved becoming husband and wife and sharing it with our family and friends. Everywhere we looked on our special day was full of smiling faces and people that we loved, an amazing feeling.
We went on a mini-moon to Cornwall for 5 days the day after our wedding which was fab. The honeymoon will come one day!
My top tip for other Brides Up North is to enjoy the build up to the wedding, the creativity, the panics and the laughter and when the day comes just enjoy every second, nothing else matters when the day finally arrives. Enjoy being the centre of attention and remember it’s your day, nobody else’s, it’s your day to have everything how you want it, it’s your day to be selfish!
October 28th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I’m trying to embrace the season – hollowing pumpkins, fur lined boots, fireworks parties and thoughts drifting to Christmas lists… and then a wedding like this drops into my inbox.
Vicky and Matthew, what are you trying to do to me? Let’s soak up some sun, as we join this lucky Manchester based couple for their stunning destination wedding on the white isle.
No hard feelings. Not many, at least.
Images by Brides Up North Sponsor James Tracey Photography.
Vicky says: Matt proposed to me on a random Wednesday evening in August 2013. Matt took me by surprise and decided he would take me out for tea and an overnight stay in Manchester, this immediately roused suspicions but I continued pretending I had no idea. After dining at Australasia, Matt took a me back to the Great John Street Hotel – At this point I believed the proposal was not going to happen, but on arriving back to the room I found rose petals scattered on the bed and a bottle of champagne and strawberries awaiting me arrival. Needless to say tears of joy flowed and more alcohol was consumed.
We were married on Wednesday 27th August 2014 at Elixir Shore Club in Cala Codolar, Ibiza. After doing a 3 day long recce of our favourite Island (somewhere we frequent regularly) we settled on our final appointment ‘Elixir’. Not only were we blown away by the views (tears flowed again) but Vickki who was both the owner and in charge of running the venue, was the most welcoming, friendly person we had encountered so far.
We wanted our wedding to be relaxed and informal to suit the Ibizan vibe. After losing my father in 2013, I decided I would prefer a very informal affair where friends and family could come together and celebrate the event without it being a stifling ‘traditional English’ wedding.
We opted for bright colours so they would stand out against the Ibiza beach backdrop.
I decided to wear something light and comfortable, particularly with the time of year and the obvious heat expected in Ibiza. As it happened, our wedding day apparently reached temperatures of 43 degrees.
I purchased my dress from Bride by Swarbricks in Middleton. The dress is named the Pronovias ‘Pelicano’. The lady who looked after me also holidays in Ibiza every year so we had a lot to talk about during the fitting stages.
Matthew wore a powder blue cotton suit from Next, ideal for warm temperatures. The best man and ushers wore the same suit in a different colour.
James Tracey was our photographer as recommended by friends. We were blown away by his images of our friend’s wedding, particularly the contemporary edginess and just knew we had to book him.
All flowers were silk and created by Nicola Knight in York. All our guests brought a bunch of flowers with them, along with copper sprayed Kilner jars for the flowers to sit in on the tables. We gave away the flowers at the end for guests to keep as a memory.
All the decoration on the day was completed by family and friends, Molly, Phil and Amanda Newton, Rosie and some serious ribbon tying from Steven Grainger.
Our favours were created by Echo Designs and consisted of handmade hanging hearts with printed maps of Ibiza on them.
We opted for a very laid back cake, a favourite of ours, a Victoria Sponge made by my sister in law Molly in a villa microwave oven – it took a few attempts but tasted delicious!
We chose the luxury wedding BBQ as arranged by Elixir and we can honestly say it’s the best food we have ever tasted and many of our guests agreed. The BBQ was served as a buffet style again taking on a more relaxed feel to the day.
My mum pre-recorded her own performance of ‘All of Me’ by John Legend which was played as we walked back up the aisle. We prepared all other music ourselves and had a DJ, Steve later in the evening who was recommended by Elixir.
We used Kids in Ibiza to look after children who cared for the children perfectly. One of the guests was stunned to see her daughter being pushed around in her push chair by the babysitter so she was able to eat her evening meal. A close friend Heidi Heywood, prepared children’s party bags for the kids which they loved!
Una, who manages the weddings at Elixir, paid perfect attention to every single detail and everything ran so smoothly we couldn’t have asked for anyone better. We would 100% recommend our venue to anyone looking to enjoy a wedding on the White Isle.
We have just returned from a two week honeymoon, which consisted of one week touring Sri Lanka and one week in the Maldives on the island of Kuramathi. We had a cultured week in Sri Lanka then a week where we truly relaxed in the Maldives where we had the opportunity to snorkel with tropical fish and sharks.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be don’t sweat the small stuff (or big stuff) and enjoy every minute.
October 16th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
This real wedding is a little bit special to me because I went to school with the bride and one of my best friends Kate *waves* was one of her lovely bridesmaids.
If I had to describe Laurie it would be a warm and laid back person who likes the pretty things in life and enjoys having a flippin good time – to me this wedding is a perfect reflection of that.
I love how personal her and Paddy made their big day. From the engagement and wedding date tied in with the time they met (at Leeds Festival no less) to the great involvement from their family and friends to make the day a truly special affair.
Also, I have to mention that two of Laurie’s bridesmaids and her photographer were pregnant at the time of the wedding so massive kudos to the lovely ladies for completing their duties with a big smiles as well as big bellies!
Right, over to Laurie for those all important details.
Photos by Gabrielle Bower Photography.
Laurie says: We got engaged on the 23rd of August 2013, which was a year to the day since we met at Leeds Festival. Paddy proposed at home but he needed to get me out the way while he prepared everything which is where my friend Kate came in. It was very personal, he lit lots of candles all around the house and waited patiently for me to come home from being out with Kate. When I arrived he told me I was his best friend, that he loved me and then got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife.
We set the date for the 28th of August 2014, because we met on a Thursday two years previously.
Our chosen wedding venue was Ringwood Hall in Chesterfield. We looked at several small venues as we wanted a more intimate wedding than most. I’d been to a few weddings at Ringwood Hall and knew it was a really beautiful venue so decided to go take a look, even just to rule it out. They showed us their two smaller venue rooms, which Paddy and I immediately fell in love with. The staff at Ringwood Hall were absolutely fantastic too!
We didn’t have a theme as such; instead we just choose things that we loved as we wanted a really relaxed wedding. We both love vintage, retro, boho things so I suppose you could say we went down that road. Navy featured throughout the wedding as it’s mine and Paddy’s favourite colour. The bridesmaids wore navy which looked really flattering and classy and Paddy wore a navy tie.
I chose a very simple floor-length dress in ivory, it had a slight drape at the back and a small train. I always knew I wanted something simple and when I tried the dress on at the Monsoon store in Manchester I just knew that was the one. To complete my look my cousin Georgina Dobson did my make- up, she’s an incredible make-up artist, and my best friend Kelly Pendleton did my hair. I totally left it down to both of them (no pressure) and they were absolutely fantastic.
Paddy picked a grey three-piece suit, white shirt and navy tie all from Next for his big day attire.
My bridesmaids wore navy dresses that I ordered online from China and a good friend of mine, Sarah Coombes, tailored them all to fit perfectly. I was so pleased with the dresses and so were the bridesmaids. Two of them were eight months pregnant at the time of the wedding, my sister Hayley and my friend Kate, so it was really important the dresses were flattering and that the girls felt comfortable in them.
Our fab photographer was a very good friend of mine, Gabrielle Bower. Paddy and I would recommend Gabrielle to everyone; she is so talented and super professional. We were absolutely amazed with our photos, in fact I cried when I saw them. Like the rest of our wedding we wanted the photos to be relaxed and Gabs just totally got us and what we wanted straight away. She captured every single moment and more.
My flowers were done by a lovely lady called Liz at Meadow Sweet in Sheffield. They were wild and natural style flowers, all locally grown. We absolutely loved them and so did all our guests. In addition to floral decorations, my very creative and talented sister-in-law Beck at Little Ghost made our stunning table stationary, invites and table plan.
We choose a three- tier Victoria sponge with strawberries – or as it’s known a ‘naked cake’ for our wedding day. It was absolutely amazing. A lovely lady at Swoon Bakery made it for us. Yum, yum!
We selected a ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’s’ menu from Ringwood Hall for our meal. For starters there was a choice of tomato bruschetta or pate, mains was either beef with Yorkshire puddings or chicken in a tarragon and mushroom sauce and for deserts there was strawberry shortcake or chocolate profiteroles. Ringwood Hall had a great choice of food and we really enjoyed the taster session. It was so difficult to choose but we went with our favourites.
I would 110 per cent recommend Ringwood Hall to other wedding couples – and not just for the food. The staff were great and the service was fantastic! They took total control of the whole day so everything ran so smoothly. Their packages are worth every single penny.
To get the party started we had a family member DJ for us in the evening. We had a great time dancing the night away!
My favourite part of the day was walking down the aisle to see my husband-to-be. Other than that we couldn’t possibly pin point another ‘best part’ of the day – it was all truly amazing and more than what we’d ever dreamt of.
For our honeymoon we went to Mexico for two weeks, it was absolutely fantastic. Wish we were then now. We got married on the Thursday, booked it on the Saturday and jetted off the following Saturday. Our honeymoon was all thanks to our generous family and friends who gave us money towards it.
My top tip to other brides-to-be would be to have what you want and be sure to get your other half involved. Don’t be lured into gimmicks if you’re on a budget, a perfect day doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Enjoy planning it! Our wedding was very personal and we had great family and friends with various talents that kindly offered their expertise to help us create our perfect day for which we are very grateful.
Since our big day Hayley has given birth to a gorgeous baby boy named Joshua and Kate has also had a cute little boy called Ollie. Our photographer Gabs shot our wedding whilst pregnant so she is also soon to be a mum!
October 8th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Today’s real wedding feature comes a little later than planned. I’ve been in London attending the Cosmopolitan Wedding Blog Awards alongside fellow leaders in our industry, and travelling back Up North today, East Coast Wifi’s upload speed just ain’t up to scratch for blog business.
This little corner of the internet was proud to be nominated for Best Wedding Blog in last night’s ceremony, and whilst we didn’t take the gong – robbed! – it was great to be recognised for our hard work, and celebrate it in a whirl of Cosmos (what else?), glitter and cupcakes.
A huge thank you to all our readers and supporters who voted for us.
It’s straight back into the pretty here on these pages this evening, as we join reader Vivienne and her new husband Dave for their lovely day at the gorgeously vintage Victoria Baths in Manchester.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor James Tracey Photography.
Vivienne says: I was 8 months pregnant and Dave surprised me with a mini break to Loch Lomond. The proposal came as a total surprise as we had been together for 9 years so had given up dropping hints…. he was very romantic though, we walked to a private beach where he got down on one knee.
We were married on Saturday 12th April 2014. We chose this date because, being a teacher, I needed to fit it in with school holidays. I also love that time of year as it’s when all the fresh flowers start to bloom and sunshine comes out after winter.
We only looked at a few venues, and when we walked into the Victoria Baths, we knew straight away that it was the venue for us. We wanted a venue we could put our own stamp on and make all our own decisions on the details of our day.
We had a vintage fete theme, mostly because we could make all our own decorations and I felt that the colours would suit an April wedding. We tried to use the colours blue and green in order to complement the colours of our venue. However, we really weren’t too prescriptive as I didn’t want to be dashing round shops colour matching in the run up to our day.
We used my grandma’s old table cloths to decorate tables such as where we signed the register. Looking back at photos, they are even more special because of these personal touches.
We used Hipswing Entertainments to hire our beautiful lanterns over the dance floor. They were fantastic and really special when it got darker for our first dance.
As little girls, myself and my sister got bridesmaid dresses from a shop in Edinburgh called Pretty Women. Since that day we have said we will get our own wedding dresses from there and every time we visit family in Edinburgh look forward to seeing what’s new in the window.
I absolutely love Audrey Hepburn and felt inspired by the wedding dress she wears in Funny Face. After trying on a range of dresses, I knew it was the one for me as couldn’t resist spinning round and watching the skirt float round!7
Dave wore a navy 3 piece suit from a brand called Tiger of Sweden.
Our photographer was James Tracey, we saw his photo’s of another wedding at our venue and loved them. We loved how he incorporated the venue into his photographs and caught every emotion during the day.
I would definitely recommend him, in fact a lot of our wedding guests asked if he was a friend we had used as he is so personable and easy to get on with!
As the venue we used was so big, we ordered our flowers directly from a wholesaler. We used Triangle Nursery, I told them the theme of our wedding and they suggested suitable options for us. We then filled paper covered tin cans for the tables and to decorate the venue.
I intended to use the flowers we ordered for my bouquet, however a couple I days before the wedding I walked into Marks and and Spencer and saw the most beautiful bunch of pink tulips. With help from my mum we used these with some gypsophila to create my bouquet.
We had quite strong ideas about the foods we wanted, so chose Thyme Out Deli, Didsbury to do our catering. They took our ideas and made the most delicious foods for us.
We spent weekends cleaning slate so that we could serve local cheeses and ham as a ploughman’s starter board to share. For main we had steak and Manchester ale pie, Thyme Out even painstakingly cut out our initials to put on the top of every pie. We spent further weekends scouring charity shops and making our own vintage cake stands to serve our desserts of macaroons, lemon tarts and brownies on.
My kind and talented friend Hannah Bayliss made our cake. I told her I wanted it to be sage green and was using vintage lace in the wedding, she created the most perfect cake for us!
Our wedding was the weekend before Easter so we gave Lindt bunnies as favours.
My best friend Joanna Łabiak did my make up on the day. I was so pleased to have her with me during an anxious morning and loved the pretty colours of the make up she used on me. Once my make up was complete, Joanna also dashed to our venue to set up and play”Blowers daughter” by Damien Rice on the piano while I walked down the aisle. This is the song we both remember when we first met and it’s been special to us ever since.
We chose a Sheffield band called The Bootleggers, one of our friends had seen them at a wedding and said they were brilliant and everyone was up on the dance floor. They definitely didn’t disappoint!
Walking back down the aisle with our daughter Ava was definitely my favourite part of the day.
Our guests kindly contributed to our honeymoon in Las Vegas. When looking for a honeymoon destination, we realised that this would be the last opportunity for a child free holiday so felt Las Vegas was perfect! We had an amazing week, some days spent simply lying by the pool, recuperating from all the wedding chaos!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be don’t become too fixated on thing such as colour schemes. Go with what you like and it will all come together on the day and be personal to you. Make sure you use family and friends to help out too as this will make the day even more special.
September 26th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Hey, hey its only bloomin’ Friday! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a breather.
Lets get out in the fresh air and join Joanne and Brendan for their fresh and vibrant countryside wedding.
Just what the doctor ordered.
With images by Brides Up North Featured Supplier, James Tracey Photography.
Joanne says: We got engaged at The Abode Hotel, Chester on the 17th February 2012.
Brendan left for work early one morning as normal. I got up an hour later, walked to the bathroom and found an envelope taped to the door! In the envelope was a letter from Brendan explaining how I wasn’t going to work that day as he had booked it off for me (with the help of my friend at work). I was told to pack a bag for a night away and would be picked up at 11am. Brendan had even included the weather forecast for the mystery location so I could plan as well as a menu for a restaurant we were going to that night! Brendan picked me up as planned (he’d had to hang around in Tesco for four hours!) and we set off…I still didn’t know where we were going. Eventually it became clear we were heading for Chester.
We went for an amazing lunch at Piccolino’s, complete with Prosecco! We then made our way to The Abode Hotel by the racecourse, checking into an amazing luxury bedroom! I started unpacking my bag and could hear Brendan rustling through his and I thought “What is he doing?!” Next thing I hear is Brendan say, “Joanne”. I turned around and he was on one knee! “You know I don’t have a way with words…will you marry me?”
Brendan has since told me that he got a bit worried because it took a while for me to say yes between the tears!
We got married at St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Chorley, Lancashire on Friday 20th June 2014. The church has always been special to me as my Grandma used to take me there when I young and her funeral was held there as well as our Niece’s Christening. The inside of the Church is absolutely gorgeous and Father Stanley is really down to earth and approachable.
We had our reception at Marsh Farm Hall in Great Eccleston. We went for this venue due to Brendan wanting to organise all of the catering at the wedding himself! Brendan has worked in the catering industry all of his life and has run so many weddings, so his had to be the best he’s ever done. Marsh Farm Hall allowed him to plan the whole food service from scratch!
We went for a vintage/shabby chic look to fit in with the style of our reception venue. The hall itself is a gorgeous bare-stone wall room, with a beautiful bar area. There is so much land surrounding the property, which made it an easy choice to go for natural colours. I made all of the wedding stationery myself with the help of my Sister, using Kraft card, cream lace and hessian string. I can change my mind with colours quite a lot so I didn’t want to go with a colour in case I went off it! We also thought a neutral theme would suit the venue.
My dress was Amanda Wyatt “Felicia”. I had no idea what style I wanted and went with a completely open mind. It worked though as it was the one and only shop I went to! The Felicia was the last dress I spotted on the way to the changing room and the first I tried on… none of the others compared to it (luckily my sister is very honest and would just laugh when a dress didn’t suit me)! I loved everything about it – the fit, the lace overlay and just enough sparkle!
I carried a simple ball of gypsophila (Baby’s Breath) bouquet, from Flowers in Thyme based at Heskin Hall in Chorley.
Brendan got his suit from Slaters in Preston. He went for a grey suit with tails, with a cream waistcoat. To keep it a bit more modern, he opted for a tie instead of cravat. He looked so handsome.
Our bridesmaids (both of Brendan’s sisters, with my sister as maid of honour) wore dresses from Monsoon. They were a cornflower blue. Our flower girl, Eva (our Niece) wore a gorgeous little dress with sewn on flowers with diamantes from Debenhams.
Both of our Dad’s and Brendan’s groomsmen, including our Nephew, Lennon who was pageboy, wore the same suit as Brendan’s but with grey waistcoats. All of their ties and pocket handkerchiefs were specially made to match the bridesmaid colours (it turned out to be a nightmare to try and match the colour).
James Tracey did our photographs. I found James on the internet about a year before the wedding and his photos stood out.
We could not praise or recommend him enough! For a couple who aren’t really comfortable in front of the camera, we chose James for his natural style of photographs, getting the shots without people realising it. He made us feel so relaxed on the day and even managed to get Eva to pose!
We used gypsophila wreaths inside the birdcages (from Dunelm) on the tables. We also had small vases of gypsophila along the top table. I bought the vases from Home Bargains (they definitely were bargains at 50p a vase!) and Flowers in Thyme dressed them for us.
The tables and chairs were dressed by Create and Cherish – Incorporating Cherish Wedding Services from Chorley. As I didn’t want to have a colour in the theme, I wanted to keep things neutral. Kirsten was so helpful in working out which fabrics would work. The room looked amazing! We had lace on the chairs with brooches on each one.
We became a bit stuck about what to get as favours, knowing we wouldn’t really find anything that would suit men and women, so instead we went for something that would look good on the tables and were a bit different! We went to Birkacre Garden Centre in Chorley and ordered a mixture of 60 herb plants. Our Mums then re-potted them into some terracotta pots we bought online. The Groomsmen then had the job to wrap them with cellophane the night before… speedily so they could watch the England match!
Five of our Grandparents are no longer with us, but we wanted them to a part of the day. We got some photos of them all and put them together with a message “We know you’d be here today if Heaven wasn’t so far away”. This was proudly displayed at the entrance door.
The food is where Brendan came into his own! I knew this was where I had to take a step back and completely trust his ideas. We both love our food so Brendan took a lot of time over choosing the perfect menu including Chicken Liver Parfait, Fillet of Beef (accompanied by a Herb Rosti, Glazed Parmentier Potatoes, Chantenay Carrots and Baby Asparagus with a Red Wine Jus) and Lemon Possett, washed down with a selection of cheeses, coffee and chocolates.
With the help from my Dad and his friend Ahmed, Brendan made mini “wine crates” for the starter to be served in. He ordered personalised stencils with “Quirke Dootson Est. 2004 Blackpool” (we met in 2004 in Blackpool). They were amazing! They also doubled up as another favour for guests to take away.
The meal absolutely blew everyone away! Paul (the chef) did us so proud and we could not have had a more perfect meal!
Our guests had red and white wine on the tables. The white was Quirky Bird Chenin Blanc Semillon Muscat – I spotted it in Tesco and loved the fact I was about to become a “Quirky Bird” (surname Quirke!) so had to have it! It turned out to be quite a nice wine too! Our red was the only wine I have managed to get Brendan to drink with me…Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva.
For the toast we had Blanc de Bleu sparkling wine. My dad and I are huge Manchester City fans, so this was my only way I was allowed to get blue into the wedding!
We bought a few outdoor games, including Twister for the kids (and bigger kids!) to play with to make the most of the nice weather!
We chose a DJ Brendan has worked with quite a lot, so knew how good he was, Paul Atkinson from Ice Entertainment. He was brilliant, even mingled with guests on the dance floor! He got a great mix of music which meant the dance floor was full most of the night!
We also had a photo booth in the evening, from Boothtube. Being a City fan… I sneaked Joe Hart and Yaya Toure masks into the accessories box!
We would definitely recommend Marsh Farm Hall – for any event!
Emma and her family were so helpful, letting Brendan get on with the set up and helping out when needed. We even had comments from family and friends about how nice Emma was and how she couldn’t do enough for everyone on the day.
They even got us a couple of presents – a newspaper from the day we got married and a bottle of wine with a personalised label.
We just need an excuse for another party there!
Our parents were an amazing help running up to the wedding… without them and all of their help the day would not have been as amazing as it was!
For our honeymoon, we had two weeks in Cala Llonga, Ibiza at the Fiesta Hotel Cala Llonga.
Brendan and I went on our first holiday together in Ibiza ten years earlier and fell in love with it! On that holiday, we went on a boat trip round to Cala Llonga one day – after booking the honeymoon we found a picture of Brendan in the sea, with our honeymoon hotel in the background.
As a treat for Brendan, I booked us tickets to watch Lily Allen at Ibiza Rocks. My sister and her partner then gave us some money as our wedding present, with strict instructions to get Tiny Tempah tickets too (my treat!)! We had such a great time on the VIP balcony!
My top tips for other Brides Up North would be to take in every minute! It’s scary how quickly it can all become a blur! Make sure your Groom doesn’t throw out his speech… I would love to be able to read Brendan’s again, and make sure you get plenty of photos (even selfies!) with all your loved ones.
September 22nd, 2014 | Rachel Parry
Wedding couples’ budgets vary, as do their lists of priorities. While some will want to splurge on a delicious wedding banquet fit for a king and queen, others would much rather invest in an amazing band to keep the dance floor rocking all night long.
On a similar note, brides have different ideas of what price tag their wedding attire should carry. A proposal can mean the green light to spend a crazy amount of money on a couture dress, designer heels and matching accessories – because hey, if you don’t do it on your wedding day when will you ever have a license to spend so frivolously again?
But then there are other lines of thought – why spend so much on a dress that I’ll only where for one day? I’d rather have a blow out on fancy footwear that I can wear well beyond the wedding day? I’ll spend less on the dress and put the money saved towards my dream honeymoon.
Of course there’s no right or wrong answer as to how much one should spend on a wedding dress – it’s a case of each to their own.
For those brides that are on smaller budgets, or who would simply prefer to spend in other areas, there are some incredibly pretty high street bridal offerings that won’t completely break the bank.
An expert in elegance, style and class, high street honey Monsoon has just released its autumn/winter 2014 bridal collection, and ladies; you’re in for a treat!
Sleek and slim-line in the majority, the dresses are fabulously flattering and not one oversteps the £700 mark. In fact one of my favourites in the collection is actually the cheapest. The stunning Lyra maxi dress, which features a sparkling band hand embellished with beads and diamantes, comes in at just £229.
Mid-range dresses include Rosanna, Iris and May, though each offers a totally different look. The high-waisted Rosanna is a pretty vintage vision with a sparkling diamante and bead trimmed scalloped neckline and antique broach detailing. Meanwhile the cute tea-length Iris dress is ideal for 50- style brides with its boned bodice, full skirt and floral appliquéd layers. May is perhaps a better option for brides wanting a more fitted gown. Though less voluminous, the romantic knee-length design still packs a punch its lavishly embroidered finish.
Creeping up to the £500 region we have the beautiful Breya. The romantic, mermaid silhouette with a scalloped court train boasts vintage Indian-inspired metallic embroidered tulle, adorned with shimmering seed pearls, beads and miniature sequins. This is most definitely a show stopper!
Finally the enchanting Ellis dress is top of the shop at £699. According to its creators, this dress has been tailored to form-flattering perfection so brides can walk the aisle with the utmost confidence.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Monsoon has also designed a collection of highly-desirable bridal shoes, which remain within the £50-£100 price bracket, so you can pocket even more pennies.
1. Lyra, £229
2. May, £249
3. Rosanna, £299
4. Iris, £299
5. Jessica, £299
6. Breya, £499
7. Erynne, £499
8. Ellis, £699
All prices correct at the time of publishing.
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