November 12th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
This morning’s real wedding couple decided to make to plan a wedding that was pretty and personal rather than shaping it around one set theme.
The result is a very natural and romantic big day that’s brimming with beautiful elements; from the fairy tale style venue to the gorgeous blooms and delicate decor, this one has it all!
With images by Brides Up North favourite, Paul Liddement Wedding Stories.
wendy says: We got engaged on the banks of Loch Lomond in February 2013. I’m from Helensburgh, near Loch Lomond and I love boats so Dave arranged for us to go on a boat tour for my birthday. After a beautiful, if slightly chilly, trip around the loch and a whisky to calm the nerves, Dave got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
Our wedding date was Saturday 6th June 2015. As we were getting married outside we wanted to choose date where we might have slightly less chance of getting rain.
We got married and had our reception at The Treehouse in Alnwick Gardens. We looked at a number of venues in and around my hometown and felt they were far too formal. I then started looking online for unusual wedding venues and came across the Treehouse. As soon as we walked up its walkway we knew we had found the right place; it’s so naturally beautiful, the perfect size and adorned with fairy lights!
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November 10th, 2015 | Julia Braime
This afternoon we’re leaving the UK behind to relive Ashton and Mark’s dreamy wedding in Siena, Italy.
Brimming with romance, we can see why this bride and groom chose to leave their Yorkshire roots behind in favour of sunnier climes with stunning backdrops galore! Following their traditional church ceremony, Ashton and Mark then enjoyed a stunning outdoor reception complete with Italian food and drink. Sounds favoloso to us!
Ciao for now.
With images by Black Mill Photography.
ashton says: Mark popped the question on the 9th July 2013, while we were on a brilliant holiday Croatia. Mark had initially planned to ask me to marry him on a walk up a ‘hill’ with a lovely view as a back drop. The ‘hill’ was actually a mountain, and I got a little bit grumpy so he decided it wasn’t the right time or place! That evening, after a lovely dinner, he got down on one knee in a secluded area of the old town in Split and I obviously said yes, whilst tears of happiness were streaming down my face. The ring was amazing, an art deco halo style, which Mark had got custom made for me in Hattton Garden, London. I was so excited to tell all my family and friends I rang up a £120 phone bill! Oops!
Our wedding date was the 31st July 2015, there was no real relevance of the date other than it was between both our birthdays and a date that Mark was likely to remember! The last day of July!
We are from Bradford in West Yorkshire but got married in Siena, Italy. We married in a Roman Catholic church, Certosa Di Pontignano, and then had our reception back at Villa Catignano where family and friends stayed for the wedding week. We both love travelling and always wanted to marry abroad. Italy was perfect; great food, wine, scenery and affordable so that friends and family could join us on our special day.
October 8th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
For this afternoon’s real wedding we are heading North West to the beautiful Lake District to relive Emma and Ryan’s big day.
You’re all in for a treat, as there’s lots of fabulous elements to admire in this wedding, in addition to the breath-taking views! We love Emma’s gorgeous Maggie Sottero dress as well as her chosen colour palette of elegant blush pink and grey which is reflected beautifully in the numerous flower arrangements and décor.
Our favourite bit however has to be the boat ride for the bride, groom and their guests part way through the day. We’d quite like to be aboard that boat ourselves, sipping on prosecco and taking in the surroundings. Just stunning!
With images by Bethany Sunners Photography.
emma says: We got engaged at home after an evening out at a wedding reception, where it was just the two of us. Ryan had something planned a couple of weeks before this but I ruined it when I picked up some shifts at work.
We were married on 8th August 2015. We chose the date because it was mid-summer and right in the middle of some special family events.
We got married in our local parish church, St Mungo’s in Dearham, Cumbria. My parents, and grandparents got married there so it is a special place. It’s a beautiful little church. Our reception was at the Lodore Falls Hotel at the bottom of Borrowdale Valley. We chose this venue as the scenery is out of this world, it’s on the edge of a beautiful lake in the middle of the Lake District. Perfect for a summer wedding.
We didn’t have a theme as such, we just wanted a summer wedding with a relaxed feel to it. The words ‘all you need is love’ was also a big feature.
Our colour scheme was grey and blush colours, with a bit of silver sparkle. I chose these colours as grey is my absolute favourite colour. It makes the blush colours really stand out and looks really pretty.
My dress was a Maggie Sottero from I Do Bridal, Cockermouth. It was an ivory slim A-line design with a delicate sweetheart neckline, with gorgeous beaded lace across it. It had a corset back with a short train. I first saw the dress online and immediately knew it was the one for me. It was the first dress I tried on, I felt so elegant in it. It was also called Emma. Fate! My veil and headband was by Linzi Jay. My shoes were Vivienne Westwood, I seen them in the window of a Vivienne Westwood store. They were ivory with a big red heart on the front. Really quirky, I loved them and had to have them for our wedding. I also had a vintage sapphire ring, which my nan gave me before the wedding as my something blue, which meant the world.
Ryan had a two piece slim-fit grey suit from Debenhams. He wore it with a slim fit white shirt, silver grey slim tie and pocket square from ASOS, grey braces and tan brogues. We just wanted a relaxed look. The groomsmen all wore the same.
My bridesmaids’ outfits were grey bandeau midi length dresses from ASOS and silver sparkly barely there sandals from Next. They all looked stunning. My little flower girl had an ivory lace beaded dress from John Lewis and ivory lace shoes from Monsoon. Our pageboys had grey waist coat and trousers from Next and white Converse.
Mine and my bridesmaids’ hair and makeup was done at my parents’ house the morning of the wedding. Jazz Hair Studio and Elegant Touch both of Maryport, did an amazing job. We all felt a million dollars!
Our chosen wedding transport was a 1964 VW splitscreen camper van and a 1973 Cabrio VW Beetle in white, from Lake District Vintage Wedding Cars. My dad and I travelled in the Beetle with the roof down to the church, it was a gorgeous summer’s day. My mum and bridesmaids travelled in the camper van. Following the ceremony, my new husband and I then travelled to our reception in the Beetle and we enjoyed a complimentary bottle of fizz. Paul who owns the company is fantastic, very professional.
Bethany Sunners, was our photographer. She was amazing from the very start. Constantly keeping in touch right up until the wedding day. She met us in person to discuss ideas and listened to exactly what we wanted. On the actual day, Bethany arrived early at my parents’ house to take pictures of my bridal party whilst getting ready, she was so discreet. She built up a brilliant rapport with our vicar, meaning she was able to get the best shots at the front of church. She also put all our family and friends at ease. Bethany literally captured every moment of our special day with the most perfect natural shots. We would most definitely recommend her.
We also had our wedding captured on film by Lake District Weddings Videos.
For my flowers, I had a beautiful hand tied bouquet of white hydrangea, white and ivory roses and spray roses with a little eucalyptus (to add to my obsession with the colour grey). My bridesmaids had hand tied bouquets of peach, blush and ivory roses and spray roses. My flower girl had a little flower crown of spray roses and gypsophila. Ryan had an ivory rose button hole and the groomsmen and page boys had blush rose button holes. The bouquets and button holes were provided by the Floral Boutique, Cockermouth. We got a fantastic service from them, Elizabeth was extremely helpful.
My auntie Karen, who I must say is amazing with flowers, made all our arrangements for the church and reception. In total she made five window arrangements for church, one arrangement for the alter, 20 pew ends, an arrangement for the milk churn we had outside the church gates, a flower arch for outside the church, ten hand tied bouquets for the table centre pieces, two top table arrangements and two cake table arrangements (I know what you’re thinking, wow!)
She used a combination of white hydrangea, peach, blush and white roses and spray roses, white and pink lyzianthus, gypsophila and eucalyptus were used. The Wholesaler Dutch Flower Auction is where we purchased the flowers and we would recommend them for DIY wedding flowers, they deliver all over and the flowers lasted ages. My auntie did the most fantastic job with the flowers, she got so many well deserved compliments. They were stunning – evidently she’s now got a part time job at the Floral Boutique shop.
Our venue decorations included some bunting, handmade signs and DIY table decorations. Chair covers and bows were provided by Finishing Touches. We also had giant light up ‘love’ letters provided by a close friend at Love in Lights.
For the ladies favours, my auntie Helen made homemade strawberry jam. For the men my Grandad made home brewed Sloe Gin in miniature bottles. Both went down extremely well and just added a bit more of a personal touch. A friend also made gingerbread brides and grooms for the children.
A local cake maker Jules Huck (The Cake Fairy) made a fantastic cake for us. Our guests were amazed by it and it tasted even better then it looked. My uncle Graeme, a chef made us the most brilliant cheese wedding cake too. It had every single cheese you could think of on it, he even personalised the covers of some cheeses with our picture and date of our wedding on. I made a fruit wedding cake just for the toasts, during the speeches.
After the wedding breakfast before our evening reception got underway, we all went out on a launch boat around Derwent Water for an hour’s cruise. We all just sat back, relaxed and had a glass of prosecco or two whilst taking in the breath-taking views of the Lake District. Keswick Launch Company provided the launch, they even let my sister who was also my maid of honour drive.
For the evening entertainment we hired The Heist, a cover band from the North East. They sing songs from the 1960s up to current hits. They delivered a great set, had the dance floor full all night. Genuine, nice guys. We also had a sweet cart as an extra treat for our guests which was provided by Love in Lights.
Following our wedding we would definitely recommend Lodore Falls as a wedding venue to other brides and grooms. The staff were fantastic, nothing was too much trouble for them. There is so much choice with their packages and the food was delicious. The actual location speaks for its self, simply stunning!
We couldn’t pick a favourite part of the da as we loved all of it. From the lead up to the wedding, making all the personal little touches, getting pampered in the morning, putting on the most beautiful dress, the actual ceremony, watching all our favourite people have an amazing time. It really was the best day of our lives.
We are going on honeymoon in November to Las Vegas then flying on to Cancun, Mexico. We intend on doing lots of touristy things in Vegas and having a chill out on a beach in Mexico. We delayed the honeymoon as we didn’t want everything to be over at once.
My top tip to other Brides Up North is – sit back and have a moment to yourselves to take it all in because the day is over before you know it. Also enjoy yourselves, don’t worry about others it’s your special day!
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October 2nd, 2015 | Julia Braime
For Friday’s real wedding we’re heading North East, to the lovely Newton Hall to relive Nicola and Richard’s big day.
Both elegant and pretty, this wedding features dreamy blush pink touches in the wedding party’s attire, floral arrangements and decorations, to fit in with the couple’s chosen vintage garden party theme.
The clear blue skies meant the bride, groom and their guests could take full advantage of the venue’s gorgeous gardens for photo opportunities and cocktails before the evening party, complete with live music, got underway.
With images by Paul Liddement.
nicola says: We got engaged at Rockliffe Hall Hotel and Spa. Richy surprised me with an overnight spa day with evening meal and overnight stay.
The date of the wedding was 17th April 2015 as this was would’ve been my parent’s 35th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately my father passed away 14 years ago.
Our chosen venue was Newton Hall, Newton-by-the-Sea. We chose that venue as it is quite ‘quirky’ and different from your more traditional wedding venues. We were both looking for something a little different and Newton Hall was perfect.
The theme was ‘vintage garden party’, which I picked as it went perfectly with the venue. To complement the theme we chose a colour scheme of blush pink, creams and gold. The wedding stationery, which we sourced from various suppliers online, also followed a vintage theme which helped to tie everything together.
My dress was ivory lace by a designer called Olvi’s Lace. I found it in Kathryn S Trueman bridal boutique, based in Morpeth. On the day of the wedding my hair was styled by Kara Scott and Irene MUA, both of whom I would highly recommend as they were fantastic.
Paul Liddement was our photographer. He was my friend’s wedding photographer and I loved her photos so I booked him for our wedding too. His photographs tell a story, which I love. Paul takes very natural photos and is quite discreet when photographing but captures the best reactions in his images because of this.
Paul was absolutely fantastic on the day and my initial response when we received our photographs was ‘wow’! The photos are all amazing and our experience with Paul was ten out of ten. We would definitely recommend him to other couples.
All the flower were supplied by Bels Flowers, Jesmond. I carried a gorgeous bouquet of cream roses while the bridesmaids had bouquets of cream and pink roses and the groomsmen had pink rose button holes.
We provided many of the decorative items ourselves, which we sourced from various suppliers to help set the scene of our vintage garden party theme. Our favours were white chocolate Jazzie sweets presented in a little jar.
The wedding cake was a four tier creation with cream icing and blush pink roses made by Burnett4cakes. Each of the tiers were a different flavour, including lemon and chocolate velvet.
Before the wedding breakfast we served welcome drinks of mojitos, strawberry mojitos and cherry drop cocktails and mocktails for the children and non-drinkers. Our starter was a sharing platter of Northumbrian meats followed by a traditional lamb roast dinner. For dessert we served up our wedding cake.
To keep guests entertained we hired Jess Avison, a singer and acoustic guitar player, from AMV Live, to perform during the ceremony. In the evening we had a band called Redwings to provide the entertainment. We chose both acts because we had seen them before and loved what they did so asked them to play at our wedding. For some extra fun we also hired a photo booth and some love lights for the evening reception.
Following our wedding, we would most definitely recommend Newton Hall to other wedding couples –it’s an amazing venue!
Looking back I would have to say that the speeches were my favourite part of the day – so emotional!
After the wedding we jetted off on honeymoon to Florida for two weeks with the family. My top tip to other Brides Up North would simply be to enjoy every second – the day goes so fast!
September 30th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today we’re spoiling you with a double dose of fabulous real wedding inspiration, and this afternoon’s helping is yet another beauty!
We love the theme for Jody & Jodene’s big day – rustic glamour – which incorporates both the groom’s hobby of shooting and the bride’s love for things sparkly, showing that a country styled wedding doesn’t have to be all gingham and bunting.
Cue twinkling fairy lights, decorative antlers, a shimmering dress, log centrepieces and a pint of beer (or two!).
With images by Atken Photography.
jodene says: Jody always said he would never ask me to marry him on a special occasion so I was really surprised when he asked me on my birthday. He was in the front room on one knee with both our daughters (one at each side of him) on their knees too. It was so special that he involved them too.
We got married on Saturday 23rd May 2015. We chose that date as it was the day we met five years previous.
Our ceremony was at St Cuthbert’s church in Burton Fleming, this village church is beautiful and is in the middle of our home towns, mine is Scarborough and Jody’s is Bridlington. We then had our reception at Wold Top Brewery, this is five minutes away from the church and is amazing. It is set in the wolds and has amazing views. There is a rustic bar and a barn that we put a marquee up inside. It has secret gardens and lots of open space for the kids to play. We looked at lots of other venues but nothing compared to Wold Top. It’s so rustic and beautiful.
Jody is into shooting so we decided on a rustic but glamorous theme. There were slices of trees that the centre pieces sat on and we had a rustic pudding table where the cakes sat upon logs. The marquee was supplied by Florida Marquees and had fairy lights all over the ceiling with a white dance floor with a starlit canopy. The guys at Florida helped us create the perfect setting.
Our colour scheme was quite neutral really to fit in with the rustic feel. The adult bridesmaids wore a mocha colour and flower girls wore white. The groom, groomsmen and page boys meanwhile were all in brown tweed waistcoats.
I had an amazing dress by Justin Alexander. It was a fitted strapless sweetheart dress in ivory (although looks white). It had large embroidered lace which had sequins underneath so it sparkled in the sun and when I moved. I chose this dress as I felt amazing in it and I love a bit of sparkle. I wore it with a full length veil that had gems sorted through it. I wore my hair up and sleek as I didn’t want to take away from the dress. I had been to a lot of dress shops and tried on loads of dress and never got that feeling. I chose the dress I felt the best in. I got it form The Wedding Room in Scarborough – they were amazing!
Jody wore a brown tweed waist coat and matching jacket from Suits Direct, white shirt from Next and brown suit trousers also from Next. The brown ties were from a tie shop in Scarborough and his brown brogues were from River Island. It was important for him to look and feel comfortable and I don’t think a formal wedding suit would have been right.
The groomsmen wore the same as Jody but no jacket. The page boys wore the same waistcoats with white shirts, cream chinos and brown brogues. Our bridesmaids wore a full length mocha coloured dress by designer Jacques Vert. The dress had a one-shoulder twist detail and was in chiffon. All six flower girls wore white dresses from Monsoon that had sequin detail at the top.
I stayed at Wold Top the night before the wedding and so was a short distance from the church. Jody’s friend John drove me to the church in his Merc on the day. As a surprise Jody had arranged a camouflage mule to take us back to the venue. The mule is usually used for collecting pheasant, it had white ribbon on the front. It was really different.
Atken photography captured our day. Shane and Kelly are married and I have known Shane for years as we used to work together. They have done pictures for us in the past and are amazing. I wouldn’t have anyone else taking our wedding pictures. They are professional, laid back and know their stuff.
My and my bridesmaids’ flowers were gypsophila with a few peach flowers in too. The groom and groomsmen had a button hole of a gold bullet with gyp coming out. Rosebud Flowers provided these and also did our centre pieces – we had two different ones alternating each table. One was a tall white case with a ball of gypsophila at the top with fairy lights in the gyp. The other one was a deer’s antler on a ring on gyp with fairy lights in the flowers.
Other décor included lace and hessian chair bows, wooden love hearts on the tables saying ‘Mr & Mrs Chapman’, and letters in the bar on the brick wall saying ‘Mr & Mrs Chapman 23 May’.
As favours we had beer brewed by the brewery which we named and put a picture of us and our wedding date on the label. It was called ‘Two Jodes Are Better Than One’
Our wedding cake, which was made by Jody’s cousin Heather, was a white and cream design with a sparkly top tier. The other two tiers had lace on to match my dress. We then had cupcakes some in camouflage cases and some in lace ones. Some had deer’s antlers on and others had sparkles. The cake was sat on a beer barrel and the cupcakes on a wooden ladder. She also did a groom’s cake with real antlers on and camouflage sponge.
For our meal during the daytime we had a hog roast as we didn’t want anything too formal. In the evening we had bacon, sausage and black pudding sandwiches as well as a big, rustic dessert table.
One of Jody’s friends is a DJ so he did the entertainment for us. He has his own bar in Bridlington and DJ’s all over the world so really knows how to make a party.
Our venue was truly magical – we would recommend it to anyone. You can do pretty much want you want up there and Anne is amazing. Each wedding there is different as it’s a blank canvas so each bride and groom can have their wedding day just as they want it.
The ceremony was my favourite part of the wedding. Seeing all my friends and family watching me marry the man I love (I have waited a long time to get married).
We haven’t yet gone on our honeymoon as we have decided to take our girls Ella and Ava away next year on a ‘familymoon’ instead.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be – try not to stress too much as it will all be perfect anyway. And try and make time to see your groom as the day goes so fast it’s easy to get caught up and not even see your new husband!
September 24th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s real wedding captivated us as soon as it landed in the Brides Up North inbox. Not only because it’s up there with the prettiest weddings we’ve seen, but also because so much thought and love has been poured into all the different elements of the day to ensure it is both personal & pretty!
When submitting her wedding, bride Lisa said some very kind words about our blog, which she used as the main source of guidance and inspiration for planning her own big day. We are blown away with the results and are so pleased that what we post on our pretty pages is of such use to our creative and stylish brides.
Prepare to swoon (a lot)…
With images by Helen Russell Photography.
lisa says: We got engaged all the way back in July 2013. We used to date in Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, and James proposed where we used to frequent on the cliff top ‘Lover’s Walk’ overlooking the town, on one knee with an amazing vintage inspired engagement ring! It was how I’d always imagined us getting engaged, and luckily he’d had the same idea without us ever speaking about it!
We chose July 31st as our wedding date as we wanted a weekday summer wedding and knew for family with children the summer holidays would be best. We chose to wait two years to give us enough time to save up and have the wedding we wanted without rushing things or compromising on what we wanted, which really took the pressure off! The date is also one day after my grandparents’ wedding anniversary date, so tied that in beautifully.
We came across The Ashes venue whilst searching Derbyshire wedding venues. I’m from Derby, and the place has always been special to us, as well as the Peak District and the North of England generally being stunning anyway! As soon as we walked into the ceremony barn at The Ashes for our first viewing we knew it was where we were meant to be married, and didn’t look anywhere else, it just felt right! We wanted somewhere beautiful but with a laid back and rustic feel at the same time, and The Ashes had all of that and more.
The theme naturally evolved into an English rose/country theme the more we chose! My dress started that as it’s covered in lace and chiffon roses, and the flowers followed suit. I’m so pale I’ve always been called an English Rose anyway! James works on a farm and as a tree surgeon, so lots of the country elements were inspired by him and his job, such as incorporating lots of wood (he cut all the centrepiece tree logs himself), the wheat in the boutonnieres, and the peonies, which he grows. The venue really helped complement our choice of theme. We’re quite laid back people, so things like just having the rolled up shirts and braces and mismatched bridesmaids dresses just worked for us.
We chose pale pinks and mint greens as the colour scheme to keep things natural but pretty. The venue was a great blank canvas, with lots of natural earthy wooden and stone colours, so pinks and greens stood out as soft and summery without being too over the top and distracting.
My dress was Justin Alexander style 8711, a lace ball gown with a sweetheart neckline and cathedral length train in ivory, with lace and chiffon laser cut roses. I went into Courtyard Bridal Boutique in Kettering near where we now live to try a different Justin Alexander dress, but that one just wasn’t quite ‘the one’. I chose this to try on too while we were waiting as I loved the quirkiness of the roses, and once I tried it on and came out of the dressing room I was convinced – everyone gasped and there were a few tears! The dress was the perfect combination of fairy tale wedding with a fun quirky twist that suited us well. For the evening I switched to a Chi Chi London lace midi dress from ASOS, as I knew I couldn’t run about and dance all night in my daytime one!
James wore a pair of grey/brown tweed trousers, with a white shirt rolled up at the sleeves, brown leather braces and brown leather shoes. All the groomsmen were similar but with different braces. This was to keep with the laid back style and just to suit us. James also wanted to show off his amazing half sleeve tattoo, which had elements inspired by our engagement, and we had hoped it was going to be a hot day (we were right!) so opted to have no jackets.
The bridesmaids were all in pale pink, but all the dresses were completely different. I wanted them all to feel comfortable on the day, and we didn’t want the uniformed look of all girls being the same. This way they all got to pick a dress they felt suited them and their body types. The dresses were from Debenhams, BHS, and ASOS. The flower girl’s dress was from Monsoon, and she looked like an angelic little fairy princess!
Jenn Edwards hair and makeup team were on hand to help me and my bridesmaids complete our looks. Jenn and the team really put us at ease on the morning of the wedding. They were so professional and got to work right away making everyone look fabulous and were a great girly addition to the wedding morning, which should be a fun and girly part of the day. I would highly recommend!
On the morning of the wedding the girls and I got ready on site in the lovely Old Dairy cottage, which meant we didn’t require transport. For James, as a surprise a hired a DeLorean! This wasn’t in keeping with the theme of the day at all, but I wanted to do everything I could to make sure the day was as much about him and his loves as much as it was mine, and he does love that car! It collected him from where he was staying the night before and he was in total shock! It was great fun to have in the pictures too, and a once in a lifetime experience for him.
Our photographer was Helen Russell Photography. Choosing a photographer was one of the most, if not the most important element for us, as once the day is over the photos are what you have left to treasure. We wanted a photographer that had a slightly more artistic and soft almost vintage style, without being too over processed and cheesy, and after lots of Googling we found Helen! We had an amazing engagement shoot with her, and she was a joy to work with, so professional and creative. On the day she was like a wedding ninja, appearing everywhere at the right place at the right time to get some amazing shots. She captured some really great moments for us, and the images feel soft and romantic.
The flowers were all provided by Campbell’s Flowers in Sheffield. After finding them online and meeting the owner, Tracy, we knew they were the florist for us. They really care about creating the right flowers for your day, and have a wonderful fresh, handpicked feel to their arrangements. The bouquet was mostly roses, with hydrangeas, dahlias and peonies, and was a great mix of soft pastel colours. They also provided the flowers for my hair, which was perhaps one of my favourite elements of the day! The most beautiful big pale pink rose, with smaller foliage and tea roses – they just finished off my outfit and looked stunning.
The flowers used for decoration were also from Campbell’s. We had an assortment of vases for the centrepieces on the tables and windows to add to the relaxed feel, and Campbell’s filled them with gypsophila, roses and dahlias. It all just looked so fresh picked and colourful. They even filled our teapot and teacups on the top table which suits our love of tea so well! We had rose petals to decorate the aisle, and hydrangea petals for confetti.
Most of the decorations were handmade, and my good friend Angela really helped craft some of the more amazing decorations, such as our welcome sign, Mr & Mrs light up letters, and our amazing wreath for our ceremony. We had more than 70 meters of bunting in the reception barn, and lots of lovely handmade lace bunting in the ceremony barn too. We wanted little personal handmade touches everywhere to bring our personalities and love of crafts into the day, so we had handmade confetti cones and programme fans too.
We decided not to do favours on people’s places, as so often they seem to get left behind, so we opted to do napkins with personalised luggage tags and engraved wooden cookies with wheat and lavender for the tables, and had a separate table with homemade jams, honey, teabags and wild flower seeds for people to collect after the meal. That way guests could choose what they wanted to take home and nothing was wasted or left behind.
Our cake was from Pretty Fancy Cakes in Derbyshire. Faye at PFC was brilliant in listening to us describe our day and create a cake around that. It was four tiers of white icing, with the same lace piped on that was on my dress, icing peonies and petals, and our tattoo emblem (we have a matching LJ logo tattoo on both our wrists!). I also, as another surprise for James, had a Lego cake made with little Lego toppers – I know he loves Lego, and again wanted him to have special touches on the day that I knew would represent him and his hobbies.
The wedding breakfast food was a quite traditional, an English three course meal with ratatouille tart or salmon for starters, and a choice of chicken with a duck farce, beef with a Tio Pepe reduction, or butternut squash and pecorino crumble for mains. The dessert was a selection of three mini desserts so everyone could enjoy a bit of a variety. The food was so well presented at The Ashes – Jenkinsons were the caterers. For the drinks reception we kept it laid back and fun with Pimms with fresh fruit and fruity Old Mout ciders for the summer’s day.
As entertainment, we chose to have Dan and Jess from Replay Acoustic Duo sing throughout the day. They were a fantastic touch, as they played a great variety of non-cheesy songs from all genres with their own lovely laid back acoustic feel. Jess’ voice was angelic, and it again added to that laid back summer fun vibe.
We also had Polly’s Parlour vintage ice-cream van for an alternative to traditional canapés for the drinks reception post-ceremony. We’re big Volkswagen fans (all our tables were named after VW cars!) and Florence is such as fun and beautiful campervan. All the guests commented on how tasty and refreshing the ice-cream was, and it looked amazing in the photos, so colourful and cute.
We also chose to put on some lawn games on the grassy area and hired some huge light up ‘love’ letters for the dance floor. These were a great focal point for the day and the evening, especially as we opted to have an iPod disco rather than a DJ. Our first dance, which was a waltz (as we ballroom dance anyway) looked lovely against the sparkle of the letters.
We would definitely recommend The Ashes venue to other couples. First of all the location is stunning, the views are breath-taking and it’s immaculate inside and out! With its stone walls and wooden beams it’s a great blank canvas, no crazy carpets or curtains to try and work around, it’s just yours to play with! The other brilliant thing is that they set everything up and pack everything away for you – I can’t tell you how much of a help that was, you can just sit back and enjoy arriving on the day to everything being decorated, and at the end of the night can leave without a worry!
My favourite part of the day was our first look shoot. We knew it was something we wanted to do for a while, and we were so right to do it. It was probably the only part of the day that we got to experience just for us. No crowds of people watching. We got to keep the moment of seeing each other for the first time for ourselves, and weren’t at either ends of an aisle. We got to hug, kiss and high five and say how we felt before all the madness began! It really helped calm our nerves pre-ceremony, and made us feel like we went into the ceremony already united. We also got some lovely photo and video moments from it. I’d recommend a first look shoot to anyone considering it, as it really is a special moment to share.
We chose to visit Sri Lanka for our honeymoon. We wanted somewhere that was paradise with beauty and beaches, but also plenty to see and do, as we can’t sit still for long! This worked really well, as we spent some days lazing on the beach and by the pool with a good book and a cocktail, and some days seeing Sri Lanka, riding elephants, visiting tea and spice gardens, seeing the wildlife on boat tours, and taking in the culture. The weather and surroundings were incredible, and the people so friendly. We really got chance to unwind.
My top tip for other Brides Up North, apart from the first look shoot, would be to really enjoy the planning and the lead up to the wedding. The wedding day is just a few hours and goes so quick, so try to really stop and enjoy the time choosing lovely things with your suppliers, crafting those special details, trying on that dress, and having the family and friends time. There won’t be another time in your life like it, and it’s important to enjoy the wedding as a journey and an experience, not just for the day.
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