February 19th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
A fine stately home was the setting for Caroline and James’ big day in the North East. The couple incorporated a rich colour palette of champagne gold and ivory into their celebrations resulting in one very stylish affair.
Extra sparkles were added in the bridesmaids dresses and decor while bride Caroline dazzled in her fabulous Mori Lee fishtail dress, complete with Jimmy Choo heels.
Images by Focal Point Photography.
caroline says: James romantically proposed to me on 31st August 2013 at Slayley Hall in Northumberland. He hired a private function room with champagne afternoon tea, after the proposal we had a romantic walk along the grounds and returned back to my parents’ house for further celebrations.
Saturday 20th December 2014 was our chosen wedding date. We both agreed that there is something about winter weddings that bring a fairy tale touch to the day’s celebrations. We also loved the early evenings that come with the winter season – this meant that there was more celebration time, lots of candles and glitter. Although the evening was darker earlier, it allowed us to create our own light with a soft, romantic and inviting mood for our guests.It also enabled us to have our dream honeymoon in the Maldives in their peak season of January.
We chose Ellingham Hall in Northumberland as our wedding venue. We stumbled across the location of Chathill during a countryside drive one weekend and when I later researched that it was in fact a wedding venue, there was no need to look anywhere else. The thought of taking over our very own grand, stately home within secluded grounds for our December wedding wasn’t going to be just a dream… our dreams were about to come true with just over a year to plan.
Ellingham Hall offered us the entire hall for a three-night stay, this included three reception rooms with cosy log burning fires, eighteen bedrooms, along with twelve estate cottages within the grounds.
The cottages proved to be so efficient for our family travelling from far afield as Australia, Hong Kong and New York, as well as offering a private space for James and his groomsmen to prepare for the big day ahead.
Our theme throughout was champagne gold and ivory. We felt this was appropriate for a winter wedding and it definitely worked on the day.
I chose a stunning, elegant Mori Lee all over tulle fishtail wedding dress in ivory. The dress was purchased from a bridal shop in Morpeth, Kathryn Trueman Bridal. As the dress was so simple and elegant, it allowed me to customise the dress to my exact wishes. The customised service at the bridal shop made the winter theme that extra bit special by adding a Swarovski crystal sash as a belt and also some detailed lace sleeves. The Jimmy Choo ivory silk satin peep toe pumps with crystal detail were the icing of outfit.
James wore a bespoke navy blue three-piece suit, a white crisp shirt, a sevenfold champagne gold silk tie and lace-up brown brogue shoes. James is fortunate to have an uncle who owns a well-established suit hire company in Durham city, Troughear Suit Hire.
For my six stunning bridesmaids, we found the perfect sequined gold maxi dress from Little Mistress. The two flower girls wore the matching dresses and fur shawls. On the wedding day each bridesmaid had personalised dress hangers, dressing gowns and we also presented them with Tiffany bracelets during the speeches.
The majority of the bridal party stayed within the hall, or within the grounds, from the Friday until the Monday so the only transport needed was our wedding car to take us on the short two minute journey to St Maurice Church in Ellingham. For this journey we were fortunate to be gifted the use of James’ Director’s Bentley Arnage.
Photography is such an important aspect of your wedding day and those photos are lifetime memories to cherish, so with this in mind I chose a photography company which I had previously dealt with at my brother’s wedding a few years ago. Focal Point Photography were so professional and both David and Paul worked incredibly well together. With a winter wedding and the poor visibility, they still made the photographs just perfect – we both can’t recommend them enough!
I am fortunate enough to have my own floristry business – Poplar Tree Florist, with a team of florists at hand to make the flowers perfect. With it being so close to Christmas, we themed the church flowers with Christmas red and golds and the hall itself was very gold and ivory. The florists decorated the hall and church with Christmas trees, garlands and candelabras galore! My wedding bouquet and bridesmaids’ flowers were Vera Wang and consisted of cream avalanche roses and ranunculus flowers, with the two adorable flower girls carrying little gypsophila pomanders.
We chose simple gold candelabras for the table arrangements with an array of white avalanche roses and hydrangeas situated below the candles. Again these were provided by Poplar Tree Florist. For our chair covers we used Flawless Weddings and Events in Morpeth and also used Crosby Hire for the white limewash chiavari chairs. I would highly recommend these suppliers.
With my family connection in landscaping and garden centres we chose to incorporate this and our theme of a winter wedding all in one for the favours. We chose mini Christmas tree seedlings wrapped in hessian with personalised name tags for each of the men and for the ladies we had gold chocolate Ferrero Rochers – as they are James’ favourite chocolates.
We had an elegant, four-tiered ivory iced wedding cake with our initials displayed on the top tier.
Each tier consisted of a deliciously different flavour, including red velvet, chocolate and spice and Victoria sponge. This was made by the lovely Amy at Pretty Sweet.
For our wedding meal we chose a traditional menu of peppered tomato soup, Northumberland beef roast dinner, followed by orange chocolate cake. To accompany the meal we selected three of our favourite wines for each table – a red, white and rose, kindly gifted to us as our wedding gift off our good family friends at Lanchester Wines.
We had Anna Reay as a wedding singer during our church ceremony. We then chose Marty Scott as a wedding singer for the duration of the day. Marty provided us with the perfect background music during our wedding breakfast, followed by more live singing afterwards.
We enjoyed every single moment of the day, but our favourite part was saying “I do”.
For our honeymoon we visited the Maldives for just over two weeks in January – it was a dream come true and we hope to revisit the island again in the near future.
My top tips for other brides up north would be to enjoy every single moment without any stress. When you walk down the aisle, try to look at each of your guests and take it all in slowly. Also try to take you and your husband away from your guests for just five to ten minutes in a quiet room to chat about how your day is going – this is important because you both struggle to find time to be together during the day as you’re so occupied chatting to your guests.
February 11th, 2015 | Julia Braime
I was overjoyed when same sex marriage (actual marriage, not just civil partnership) became legal in the UK, but it’s only when I get to feature beautiful couples like Rachel and Emma that the enormity and awesomeness of that change actually hits home.
These girls were looking for a day filled with warmth, openness and togetherness, and that’s exactly what they got. How very Hygge!
All will be explained…
With images by Leighton Bainbridge Photography.
the girls say: We got engaged while staying in Northumberland in May 2013. In 2012 we had attended Peace Camp at Dunstanburgh Castle; white tents covered the grounds surrounding the ruins and we arrived at dawn where love poems were played from illuminated tents. Both of us were desperate to propose, unbeknown to the other! Unfortunately finances had restricted our opportunity at this time. Emma decided to re-enact this experience on our favourite beach, Beadnell on the 25th May 2014. She had recruited friends and family to erect a white tee-pee on the beach through the night for us to arrive at dawn. An excellent plan depended on excellent weather; and we had experience torrential rain and gale force winds up until hours beforehand!
The plan did however turn out perfectly; despite a slightly later arrival on the beach following the “scenic route’!
Emma got down onto one knee and became for the first time, lost for words!
We were married at Newton Hall in Northumberland om 23rd December 2014/. Rachel had spent a huge amount of time in Northumberland throughout her childhood and it is a very important place to her family. We spent a lot of time together in Beadnell and the surrounding area and it feels like home. We had come across Newton Hall at a wedding fayre before it hosted ceremonies but it began to develop into a fabulous one-in-one venue over the years. We visited the venue just after our engagement and looked no further! We loved the style of the venue and the fact we could have exclusive use of this house. From the window in the bridal suite, Beadnell bay where we got engaged is visible and everything just seemed to fall into place!
Due to the date we booked, a Christmas theme began to develop. After initially booking Rachel looked into a honeymoon destination to leave the next morning, Christmas Eve. Copenhagen was one of the stand-out destinations and doing research into Copenhagen at Christmas gave us the word Hygge. In Danish it means “The art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open hearted and alive. To create well-being, connection and warmth. A feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other” We used this phrase on our invitations and the wedding was completely Hygge!
The colour scheme was natural fabrics and colours with a small amount of metallic touches. We wanted it to be cosy and festive without over-using red and green!
Rachel had spent a long time looking at dresses on the internet and we both tried a few on in a local shop to work out which style suited us best.
Rachel found a strapless, corset style diamond white Maggie Sottero gown on eBay from a woman the same measurements and we took a chance! We drove down and collected it at a service station in Yorkshire and called at The Bridal Factory Outlet in Northallerton on the way home to try some on for Emma. Emma chose the third dress she tried on, an ivory lace Mori Lee and although it needed alterations it complemented the Maggie Sottero perfectly. Rachel managed to try her dress on for the first time in the changing rooms with Emma and thankfully it fit and was just perfect! We managed to have our dresses a week after booking our wedding date!
Our bridesmaids wore navy twist front maxi dresses by Debut at Debenhams. Our boys wore navy suits with tweed waistcoats, red ties and white shirts, all from Moss Bros who were fantastic with everyone from dads to younger brothers!
We feel so lucky to be able to get married – we waited until it could be a wedding rather than a civil partnership and we are very fortunate that while planning this wedding all we have experienced from all suppliers, shops and others has been excitement and kindness. We were entirely overwhelmed with the love we experienced from our friends and families and that was the best thing about our wedding.
Leighton Bainbridge was our photographer. Photography was one of the biggest decisions for us. Emma is a keen photographer and we spent a lot of time looking at wedding photos to find out what style we were after. We found it difficult to find examples of lesbian weddings! When we met Leighton we knew he’d be perfect; we arrived armed with an album of photographs we liked from various sources and he took on this on board! He was quiet and polite; we were confident Leighton would fit into our day and produce excellent photographs to treasure.
We had great difficulty finding flowers which would be available in December but found dried bouquets by The Artisan Dried Flower Company. We used their winter theme and ordered matching hair pins, buttonholes and bouquets for all of the bridal party. The bonus is we can keep our bouquets forever!
We also ordered some dried flowers for the milkchurns at the ends of the aisle from The Artisan Dried Flower Company. We used wish trees to suspend our wedding favours which were glass baubles which we filled with different sequins, feathers and other sparkles hoping to make one to suit each person. We used fake snow and tiny crystals around the bases on the tables and battery fair lights on the trees themselves.
We used an antique map of Northumberland with buttons and string for our table plan. This was made by Rachel and again finished the evening before!
Emma’s mother, Sarah, ordered the material to dress the chairs and Aunty Helen helped with the sizing and preparation. The venue were brilliant; all of our various decorations were boxed up and left with them the evening before following a short meeting with their fantastic wedding coordinator Jane.
A friend from Emma’s work, Andrea made the cake, which fit with the winter theme again. It tasted fantastic! Lemon, Chocolate fudge and Fruit cake in layers.
We chose a string quartet for before, during and after the ceremony and a ceilidh for the evening, which was fantastic. North East Soiree provided the entertainment and they were fantastic. We wanted a ceilidh to encourage the guests to relax and break that initial first dance ice!
Our ceremony with the string quartet was lovely, “Annie’s Song” for our entrance and we walked out to “Fairytale of New York”. Rachel had suggested riding in on her horse – which was disallowed!
We involved our dog, Rowan as ring bearer in the wedding. She was perfectly behaved through the day, enjoying the wedding breakfast on Emma’s knee sharing Rachel’s chicken!
Our “best people” made a beautiful speech including photographs of both of us as children, the last seven years together and then our engagement photographs. The master of ceremonies stated it was one of the most emotional weddings he had seen; it felt like a long time coming!
Our first dance was to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. We finally decided on the song the evening before the wedding and choreographed the routine at 10pm in our PJs in our hotel room!
The venue was fantastic. They were so well practised and nothing was too much of a problem. We felt comfortable and looked after all day. Jane our coordinator on the day was fantastic – even stitching out dresses up before the first dance when we realised we were going to struggle! The master of ceremonies John was lovely and other staff were friendly and professional. Although it was only the third same-sex marriage at the venue, the staff were great. We did change the format from a normal wedding slightly to suit our situation but this was never a problem. They are very flexible!
At the end of the evening, the close friends and family staying retired to the bar in the main house. Rachel took her hair out and was sat on the floor, we were all sat with coffees and tea and wedding cake discussing the day. It was truly Hygge!
We were pretty early to bed and we sat in the bath together and opened our cards. We later found out that had we looked out of the window from our free-standing bath in the Beadnell bay room we would have probably seen a fantastic show of the Northern Lights! Every part of the day was wonderful but those moments when we were alone were special; we repeatedly said how magical the day had been and how loved we felt.
We flew to Copenhagen on Christmas Eve morning and arrived at the Hotel Neptun at tea-time. We were asked to join the duty manager and his wife (and dog!) in Christmas Eve dinner where we sampled Danish desserts and tea and our new friends gave us tips on where to visit! The next morning we woke up to snow on Christmas day! We spent five days in Copenhagen visiting the local sights and enjoyed the Nutcracker Ballet at Tivoli gardens. Copenhagen was a winter wonderland – a beautiful city with friendly people and amazing food! We cannot wait to return!
Our top tip for Brides Up North is to make sure the wedding is your own kind of special. We had a tiny wedding guest list and we were pretty ruthless on who we invited to make sure that everyone could be comfortable on the day. This was excellent because it meant we did spend time away from our guests without worrying they were missing us! By having a small wedding party, it took the pressure off and we enjoyed the company of everyone there.
December 29th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Merry Christmas! Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break for the festive season, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely.
Usual service will recommence on Monday 5th January 2015 (with some big news!) but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year. Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks for 2014.
I’m firmly of the opinion that your wedding day should be the very best party that you’ve ever been to.
It looks like Jessica and Craig took the same view when they said ‘I do’ at the gorgeous Thornton Manor on The Wirral earlier this year. Gorgeous outfits, good food, vibrant flowers and plenty of fun and games left their guests in the mood for a very beautiful all night party.
With images by Elbowroom Photography.
jessica says: We got engaged in Rome, Italy. After a romantic candlelit dinner we caught a taxi to the Trevi Fountain. We found a quiet spot to the side in an alcove and he got to one knee. This was after a day walking around the Vatican.
We were married on 23rd May 2014 at Thornton Manor – the beautiful setting & extensive grounds coupled with the exquisite manor house made it an easy decision. It’s spectacular venue with so much history.
We chose careful colour palettes throughout the day using white and cream for purity and innocence during the Ceremony, and then the Wedding Breakfast & my bouquet were extremely colourful to reflect our personalities!
I chose a plain but elegant champagne/oyster dress with a long cathedral veil from Blush Bridal.
Flower Design created the most beautiful of bouquets, button holes and displays throughout the venue, using orchids and other vibrant flowers. Flower Design worked with my ideas really well and produced the most splendid arrangements.
Elbowroom Photography were our photographers. They were fantastic – beautiful pictures, lots of coordination on the day and part of the party!
Chapman Holmes were our caters and were fantastic! Craig’s favourite food is steak, so decided that we really wanted the menu to reflect what we love to eat. We decided on Goats Cheese with Pesto Credot, Roast Sirloin of Steak with Dauphenois Potatoes and our cake as dessert.
Our pretty wedding cake was by The Frostery in Uppermill. It was Lemon Drizzle and we served it as our dessert with Raspberry Coulis. We had a cheesecake for the evening so the evening guests could enjoy an alternative wedding cake.
We had David Buckingham, a guitarist from the ceremony through to the end of the meal. My father has always played the guitar and when we came across him at a wedding fair he was playing the very piece that my father used to play to me as a child.
Soul Apostle were the band providing lots of fun and great music. Tom was our DJ and listened to our tastes and played us the best music which meant I danced all night!
We had a photobooth which people stuck into a book and left us their best wishes and messages.
We hired the lakeside marquee for the evening reception so we could have a big party and part of the marquee is a nightclub so we could create the party atmosphere. My favourite part of the day was dancing all night!
We took a week’s mini moon in Barbados but plan to go to South America in September for 3.5 weeks.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to make sure you take time out on the day to spend together and have a moment of reflection.
October 6th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I really, really don’t want to jinx it, but I honestly think this might be the best Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibition season yet.
I’m recharging (and still on a high!) today after my fourth weekend (a double bill in Leeds and Northumberland this time) at the helm of some very lovely, very busy events indeed, and taking a breather having reached the half way point for autumn 2014.
It was another record attendance all round yesterday and I’d really love to see you at our remaining shows this season – we’re back in action this very weekend at both Middleton Lodge and Allerton Castle – so click here for the full line up.
But for now. it’s back to the online gorgeous, as we join Natalie and Anthony for their pretty & pink wedding at Bartle Hall in Preston.
I love my job.
Images by Samantha Broadley Photography
Natalie says: We got engaged on my 21st birthday at a meal with all our family. After we had eaten, Anthony got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was completely shocked and didnt have a clue. All our family knew before the meal and my Mum even helped him pick out the ring.
We were married on Saturday 31st May 2014 at Bartle Hall, Preston.
We went looking around a few venues but eventually choose Bartle Hall. The grounds are beautiful and the staff were very welcoming and helpful. Most importantly the venue had accommodation so our family could stay over, that played a big part in helping us decide.
I’ve always wanted to use pink for my wedding, which Anthony wasn’t too keen on! I wanted my venue dressing to be all about the flowers and I wanted them to make the room. We used Flower Design from Blackpool who did an amazing job and created the exact look that I wanted, using lots of blousy peonies.
My bridesmaids had tried lots of different styles of dresses on but I was looking for something that was a little bit different. I wanted them to stand out from the other guests and I found with the typical maxi style dresses they could of easily of been mistaken for guests. I chose a shorter design of dress as the wedding was in a summer months and to show off their shoes. I was really pleased with how the dresses looked on the day and all the girls said they were really comfortable to wear throughout the day, even after a three course meal. They were from Lottie’s Bridal Boutique.
The flower girls’ dresses were from BHS and great value for money.
For the boys, we needed twelve suits in total so we decided to hire them for the day. We went to a few places looking but finally decided on Moss Bros. Their suits looked smart and not worn, unlike others we’d seen previously. They were great at organising fittings for twelve people and made the collection and return process so easy.
Our photographer was Samantha Broadley. Sam made us feel so comfortable throughout the day and half of the time I never knew she was there! After getting the pictures back we are so,so pleased with how they turned out and they really captured the whole day from start to finish. Sam made us a snapshot DVD of images which she set to music of our choice, this was so well done and even brought Anthony to tears. Everyone has commented on how lovely her photos are and my brother-in-law has even booked her for his wedding next year!
We had a mixture of high and low table centre pieces for our reception. As the high centre pieces were so big we had to be careful that they didnt overface the room. Flower Design perfectly placed the high centre pieces to create maximum effect when walking into the room. I also had the whole length of my top table draped in flowers, it looked amazing and so effective.
We chose a simple white cake as we used flowers to decorate it. The cake was four tiers with spacers in between for the flowers which gave it extra height. Two layers were chocolate and two sponge, by The Cake Lady, Blackpool.
We decided on a last minute honeymoon which we booked after the wedding, and went to the Sensatori Hotel in Crete.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to do what makes you both happy and what you want to do, not what pleases other people.
August 6th, 2014 | Julia Braime
This afternoon wedding photographer Samantha Broadley finds herself on the other side of the lens, as she shares her bright and beautiful (destination) wedding in Manchester with Brides Up North.
With images by Victoria Franks Photography.
Samantha says: We were married on 26th July 2013. I’ve always wanted a summer wedding in the hope we might get some sunshine, and we did!
We tied the knot at Manchester Town Hall. Neither of us are from Manchester but it is where we met and where we have started our lives together, so Manchester will always have a special place in our hearts. As well as the exterior of the building the interior is beautiful and believe it or not, not a lot of people have been inside. None of our guests had a clue what it was like, so they were blown away with the grandeur of it all. The reception was at The Mere Golf Resort and Spa, just because it’s quite simply beautiful, and had all the facilities we wanted.
We didn’t have a specific theme, but a lot did revolve around Manchester. My invites and name cards for the tables all had Manchester skyline on them. Our table names were places we’d been together that were special, for example, Brooklyn Bridge as we walked across there for my 21st, Syndey ANZ Stadium as we watched Australia v New Zealand there (Ben’s a big rugby fan) and our top table was of course Manchester Town Hall.
Being a wedding photographer, I have seen lots of different colour themes and I wanted something different. I would have loved to get married abroad but our grandparents wouldn’t have been able to fly and it was important to us to have them there. I wanted to bring the brightness and boldness of a destination wedding to Manchester, so I chose shades of teal with coral and pink flowers.
I chose a Mori Lee dress from The Bridal Collection in Lancaster. I was torn between two dresses, both completely different. One had a lot of lace detail and was a fish tail, the other had more ruffles and had a sweet heart neckline. I decided to go for the ruffles as it reminded me of a Spanish flamenco dress, again bringing the abroad feel back in for me.
Ben wore a light grey three piece suit from Slaters in Manchester. We bought the suits instead of hiring them, after all he’s more likely to wear his suit again than I am to wear my dress.
The Bridesmaid dresses were from In Wedding Dress, I was very conscious of the price of the bridesmaids dresses as I had six attendants, so I spent a lot of time researching.
I’m not very good with flowers, knowing the names and what’s in season. I just found a few pictures of the sort of bouquet I liked, I showed the lovely florists my pictures and colour ideas at Lune Valley Home & Garden Florist and they came up with the rest. My trust in them was well placed my flowers were beautiful.
Decor wise, I bought paper lanterns which were hung in the trees outside in the garden at The Mere Golf Resort with fairy lights wrapped round the terrace. We dotted some vintage style tea light holders around the tables outside. We had table flowers included in our package and I just paid a bit extra to have a few more flowers added. The entertainment was more important to me rather than decorating the room.
For the ceremony and for the arrival drinks we booked a singer and guitarist called Rob Yates, I’ve seen him at a number of other weddings and I’ve always loved what he does.
We also had a singing waiter, Jamie Reeves. After being to so many weddings I know there can be a little lull after the desserts waiting for the speeches and this is when Jamie came in. He was a complete surprise to everyone especially as he’d been serving most of them earlier. Only Ben, my maid of honour and I knew about him, so to see everyone’s faces was so funny.
We knew what we wanted from the very beginning for our favours. Ben sadly lost his Dad when he was 11 to Cancer so instead of spending money on little presents for everyone we donated money to Cancer Research and we had the ribbon badges. It’s lovely looking back at the pictures as everyone’s wearing them so in a way it’s like Ben’s Dad was there.
Ben and I are known for having parties and making Vodka Jellies, so we couldn’t have the biggest party of our lives go without them. They were supposed to be welcome drinks for our evening guests but I don’t think they got a look in!
The transport was very important to me on the day and my dad let us use his pride and joy, his Mercedes SL convertible. I was praying for sunshine so we could have the roof down and it worked. My Dad drove me from The Mere Golf Resort where we got ready to the Town Hall, it was nice as we got time completely on our own. Then after the Ceremony Ben drove me back and my Dad had a ‘Just Married’ reg plate made for the photographs which was a nice surprise.
Being a photographer the photographs where at the top of my to do list so as soon as I had the venues booked the photographer was next, as I know how soon dates can go. I chose my friend Victoria Franks Photography. I was more than happy with the photographs. On the day she was amazing, it’s so important you get along with your photographer as you do spend a lot of time with them on the day, so it’s good to have someone you can feel relaxed and have a laugh with.
We loved all of it, but I thinkmy favourite moment was the first dance. When Ben proposed he also bought me tickets to see Coldplay at the Etihad in Manchester and it was amazing. We wanted to relive that experience for our first dance so chose ‘Paradise’. Everyone loved it and got involved, all the people you love on one dance first floor, perfect.
We went travelling in 2009 and one of the places we never got to was Malaysia so it was on the top of our list when it came to our honeymoon. As the weather over there isn’t great in July we went to Palma in Majorca for a mini moon for three nights the day after the wedding but I couldn’t wait for the main one. We went away for three weeks over Christmas and New Year. It was nice to have a break between the wedding and the real honeymoon, it meant it wasn’t all over straight away.
We started off in Kuala Lumpur for 3 nights, then over to Langkawi for 8 Days, Penang for Christmas, finishing it off in our favourite place for New Years Eve in Singapore. It was all amazing, if only every holiday could be like that.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to make it as personal as you can, don’t get wrapped up in what a wedding ‘should be’ and do what you both want to do.
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