Charlotte Balbier

crafted with care. a pretty homemade wedding at priory cottages – jenny & james

August 18th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (51)

Today’s real wedding is yet another carefully crafted beauty with lots of pretty homemade and personal touches created by talented bride Jenny, along with the help of her equally talented family.

Priory Cottages in North Yorkshire provided the perfect backdrop for the rustic theme Jenny had in mind, which featured lots of beautiful blooms in sweet, sugary tones.

And it wasn’t just the décor that the bride got crafty with, as Jenny made her own hair flower accessory and gorgeous statement necklace to complete her modern big day look. Fabulous work girl!

With images by Hayley Baxter Photography.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (3)

jenny says: We got engaged in Malta. James and I love our cheeky getaways. I had no idea that on this particular one he planned to propose, it was such a lovely surprise! The proposal was very ‘us’ – low key and nothing extravagant. It was our first full day there, we were having a great day exploring the town, lunch and drinks by the sea and we had headed back to our hotel to get ready for the evening and have a few drinks on the balcony. I remember laughing and joking and saying what a perfect start to the holiday it had been, next thing I know James had disappeared and when he returned he was down on one knee asking if I’d be his wifey – it was perfect!

We chose to get married on 13th June 2015 as it was exactly two years to the date we got engaged.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (2)

Our chosen venue was The Priory Cottages in North Yorkshire. Working in the wedding industry myself I read a lot of wedding blogs. This venue has always stood out to me as something special and it was the first place I mentioned to James when we got engaged. When we went to take a look around, I fell more in love with it and James had a cheeky little smile on his face. We both knew it was perfect and could see our special day taking place there.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (1)

We didn’t have a theme as such, but I have always wanted a ‘handmade’ wedding. I love making things and being creative so I literally saw it as a blank canvas that I could do all the things I love to. The result was quite a rustic-styled day.

We were not really strict on a colour scheme; it kind of just fell into place. I always wanted the boys to wear blue suits as I just think they look great. This helped me to decide on nude tones for the girls’ dresses then I pulled in my two favourite colours – coral and mint – and combined it with lots of peaches and whites.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (7)

My dress was literally the dress I always said I would never wear! So many of my friends said to me before I started looking to keep an open mind but I went to one bridal shop in particular because they stocked a gorgeous Mori Lee gown I had pinned as my dream dress for the past five or so years, even before we were engaged! I tried it on and whilst it was nice, it wasn’t wow. The lovely lady in the bridal shop made me try on ‘the dress’ just to see what it looked like. I wasn’t keen but I tried it on and it felt amazing! It made my mum cry so I knew it was the one!

To go with my dress, I scoured the internet and shops constantly to find the perfect hair flower. I couldn’t find one that I liked in the end so I thought why not make my own! I created it using some gorgeous silk flowers from Country Baskets, a hair slide and some small brooches to sit inside the flowers as the centre. I bound it with florist wire and ribbon. I also created a statement necklace by combining two necklaces from Marks & Spencer. I wore my outfit with some gold Kurt Geiger shoes.

My hairdresser’s partner specialises in wedding hair (they work at Fusion Hair Design) so he did mine and the girls’ hair. He did a fantastic job! My cousin Abi is a makeup artist so she did our makeup. Abi is so talented at what she does and I was so pleased with the finished look. The bridesmaids looked stunning and it lasted all day despite the hot weather.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (24)

We wanted to buy suits rather than hire. James wore a three piece from Slaters. It was a very fine puppytooth patterned blue suit. He wore with a tailored white shirt and a pale pink tie to match the bridesmaids. On his feet he wore some tan brogues which complemented the suit perfectly. The groomsmen wore the same suits and shoes as James but wore with a matching blue tie instead of pink.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (28)

The girls wore gorgeous pale pink dresses from Untold at House of Fraser. I wanted to get something they could wear again rather than a traditional bridesmaid dress. They were teamed with gold heels similar to mine from New Look.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (35)

Hayley Baxter was our photographer. When we initially began looking we were steering clear of the very formal styles as we both are not the biggest fan of being photographed and much prefer the more relaxed, creative style that Hayley produced.

We would 100% recommend Hayley. She has such a lovely personality – very warm and friendly. She instantly made us both feel at ease like we’d known her for years and she managed to produce the most amazing collection of natural photographs that we really never thought would be possible!

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (38)

I had the bright idea of doing all the wedding flowers myself soon after we got engaged. I spent months and months researching and trying to figure out how it would work and eventually came across an amazing woman through a website called Flowers from the Farm. Gill runs her own flower farm not far from where we live so after a quick visit to see her and discuss, everything was confirmed and I was all set to pick up eight big buckets of freshly cut flowers two days before the wedding.

I really enjoyed making the bouquets and buttonholes. I used roses in peach and pink shades with white peonies and coral berries to add more colour. I finished them with some foliage and wrapped with jute string. For the buttonholes I used blues and green. The focal flower was nigella, which I absolutely love! I wrapped them with a small piece of hessian and they were secured with a heart pin.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (18)

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (8)

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (15)

For the table centrepieces my dad made us some amazing wooden log stands on two levels. I decorated and sprayed bottles with lace, hessian, ribbon and filled with flowers. Also I decorated jam jars as tea light holders and made hessian table circles for everything to sit on decorated with hearts punched from woodgrain card, Kraft card and an atlas. For the top table we had a hollowed out log filled with the left over flowers that my aunties helped with the day before – it looked amazing and was one of my favourite pieces from the day!

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (39)

I have my own wedding stationery business, Only by Knight, so I created all the on-the-day stationery/invites etc. myself.

My dad wanted to bring a little bit of Liverpool to our Yorkshire wedding so we gave the gents a Liverpool ale as favours and the ladies got a bottle of fizz.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (10)

We had the most amazing wedding cake. I’m lucky enough to have a very creative family; it must run in our blood! My cousin runs a small cake business, Betty and Junes Bakery. She is amazing, super talented and I knew straight away I wanted her to make our cake as her creativity is endless!

I’m not the biggest fan of traditional wedding cakes so straight away knew I’d want something a little different. I love the hand painted cake styles and to fit in with our rustic theme we decided we would like the tiers to resemble logs. That was literally the brief I gave to Katie and she really excelled! It was absolutely exquisite from the cute love heart to the handmade sugar flowers. Each tier of the cake was a different flavour; we had lemon drizzle with jam and butter cream, raspberry and white chocolate and a chocolate layer. It was finished up with some fresh flowers and a laser cut cake topper that I sourced from Etsy.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (47)

We used Taste Cuisine as our caterers. They are really are amazing at what they do. James is from Leeds and I am originally from Liverpool so for the canapés we had mini ‘pans’ of scouse and beef with Yorkshire puds along with a couple of others. For the wedding breakfast we had a Greek mezze platter, followed by lamb shank then a mix of two desserts (three layer chocolate torte and white chocolate cheesecake) as they were just too good to choose between!

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (53)

Straight away we knew we wanted a band to provide entertainment. I stumbled across The One Step through Warble Entertainment and I was just drawn towards them. The lead singer Nick also did acoustic sets so we had him singing through the drinks reception and the wedding breakfast. Our friends and family absolutely loved him. They were great as a three piece too. Everyone was up dancing and having fun, and we especially enjoyed our rendition of Mr Brightside at the end to close the show!

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (17)

In terms of special touches, the table plan was one of my favourite pieces from the day! My dad made us the giant frame and I decorated with flower garlands. Each table was named after a place James and I had visited together. The board had an envelope for each guest with a postcard inside that I’d created of an image of James and I in that particular location. We asked our guests to write us a message on the reverse and pin it back to the table plan so it doubled up as our guest book. I am going to make it into a piece of wall art now so we have a constant interactive reminder of the day. My dad also made us the sign for outside the venue; I made stencils and spray-painted the wording onto it. I decorated with flower garlands again and it was a great touch to the exterior of the venue.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (58)

We would 100% recommend our venue to others. Serena first off is one incredible woman! She was always on hand to help with whatever we needed and she really helped us to pull everything together ready for the big day. The venue itself is absolutely stunning. The fact it has the cottages built around it made it such a memorable weekend, not only for us but for our bridal party as we all got to experience everything together.

Funnily enough the part of the wedding I was dreading the most was, the ceremony, turned out to be one of my favourite bits. I’m naturally quite a shy person so the thought of everyone looking at me whilst me and pops made our way up the aisle filled me with dread and I really thought I would be a blubbering mess. But I really did enjoy it and no tears were shed! That along with the speeches – which were just fantastic – and seeing all of our friends and family laughing, joking and having the best time together was really special.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (56)

For our honeymoon we decided to go to Central America. We both love to travel and James has been around the world. We went to Costa Rica and Panama. It was the most amazing experience. We saw and did so much in two and a half weeks and have memories that we can now cherish forever.

A Sweet Wedding at Priory Cottages (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (60)

My top tip to other Brides Up North is – be organised! We had two years between our engagement and big day. I bought a wedding planner book, created a budget spreadsheet but still life got in the way occasionally and it was quite stressful getting everything ready towards the end! Also get stuck in! Try to personalise your day as much as you can so it’s meaningful to you and your groom. I can’t tell you how great it feels to sit back on the day and look at everyone admiring all the hard work you’ve put in. It was a very proud moment! Finally, accept help! I can be a terrible control freak and like to do everything myself in my own way, sometimes you need to let go and accept that it’s just not possible! Besides you’ll find that a lot of your friends and family want to get involved and help. I would never have finished setting up on time without the help of my nearest and dearest the day before, they were all incredible!

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outdoor elegance. mori Lee for a bright & modern wedding at ringwood hall – natalie & joe

August 12th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Chic Wedding at Ringwood Hall (c) One Wedding Photography (37)

Today’s bride and groom didn’t let Britain’s unpredictable weather put them off taking their September wedding outdoors.

Natalie and Joe chose to say their ‘I dos’ in the stunning grounds of Ringwood Hall before enjoying their reception in a marquee within the gardens.

Thankfully blue skies appeared on the big day, which was beautifully styled in a chic & simple way using a base palette of white and then pops of vibrant pinks and orange. Just stunning!

Image by One Wedding Photography.

A Chic Wedding at Ringwood Hall (c) One Wedding Photography (1)

natalie says: We got engaged on 30th June 2012. We had been travelling together the year previous for six months and then came back and moved into our first home together. Joe proposed in our apartment. I had been out with my best friend for some food and a few drinks and got home about 11.30pm. I opened the door to a hallway full of candles and Train’s Marry Me playing. Joe was waiting in the living room with roses and champagne and the ring! Joe chose our apartment to propose as it was a special place for us.

A Chic Wedding at Ringwood Hall (c) One Wedding Photography (9)

Our wedding date was 12th September 2014. September always seems to be a lovely month weather wise and we first got together in September so it naturally seemed the best month for us.

We picked Ringwood Hall in Derbyshire, as our venue and decided on a modern, bright travelling theme. We wanted a relaxed but intimate wedding and therefore had an outdoor ceremony in the gardens of Ringwood Hall followed by a reception in the garden marquee. We felt that the whole day was relaxed and as the majority of the celebrations took place outside, it just had a lovely informal feel about it.

A Chic Wedding at Ringwood Hall (c) One Wedding Photography (19)

Our colour scheme was pretty varied. All our table/chair covers were white while our flowers were a mixture of coral, pinks and oranges with green succulents with pink tips. The groom and ushers/father of the brides were in navy suits and the bridesmaids were in pale taupe dresses.

A Chic Wedding at Ringwood Hall (c) One Wedding Photography (20)

My dress was a Mori Lee by Madeline Gardner design. I found it difficult finding a dress as I had an image in my head of what I wanted, but even when I found ‘that’ dress it didn’t feel like it was ‘the one’. I wanted something fitted but as I’m not that tall most fishtail dresses made my legs look really small so I loved how the dress I picked kicked out mid-thigh to make me look a little taller. I also loved the neckline and the fact that my niece’s dress, who was my flower girl, actually mirrored my dress.

We got Joe and the groomsmen’s’ suits from Debenhams suit hire. The bridesmaid dresses were by Dessy.

A Chic Wedding at Ringwood Hall (c) One Wedding Photography (23)

As we wanted a relaxed and informal wedding we were looking for photographers who could capture this feel on the day. Tom and Mike from One Wedding Photography did just that, they are chilled out but very professional and the photos they produced were excellent. All our guests made comments that a great thing about our wedding was that lots of time wasn’t taken up with photos and this is due to One Wedding being so subtle and capturing relaxed and natural shots. In addition, whenever we needed to ask One Wedding a question, they were always on the other end of the phone/email, nothing was ever too much trouble for them. We were over the moon with our photos when we received them and they brought back all the memories of our special day. One Wedding are two fantastic and very talented guys.

A Chic Wedding at Ringwood Hall (c) One Wedding Photography (26)

All our flowers were done by Fantail Designer Florist and Lydia at Sweet Additions in Sheffield, created our wedding cake.

We made the name tags ourselves to look like old fashioned travel tickets with a penny attached to the front and a scratch card favour inside. We also made our table names; these were a photo of us both in a place we visited during our travels and the table name was of the country where the photo was taken. For the kids we made goodie bags filled with sticker books, sweets and bubbles.

Strides provided our ceremony and marquee dressings and did a fantastic job. Both the outside pavilion, where we had our ceremony, and the marquee, where we held our wedding breakfast and celebrations, looked stunning.

A Chic Wedding at Ringwood Hall (c) One Wedding Photography (27)

We chose a ladies and gents’ menu for the wedding breakfast and in the evening we had a hog roast with all the trimmings. We also made our own sweetie table and served up part of our cake for guests. As entertainment we had Tropicana DJ, supplied through Ringwood Hall.

A Chic Wedding at Ringwood Hall (c) One Wedding Photography (36)

Without a doubt we would recommend Ringwood Hall to others, mainly due to its beautiful grounds and the staff went over and above what we would have expected from them. They made sure that the day ran so smoothly, nothing was an issue.

A Chic Wedding at Ringwood Hall (c) One Wedding Photography (45)

Seeing all our friends and family happy and having a great time together on the day was definitely our favourite part of the wedding.

A Chic Wedding at Ringwood Hall (c) One Wedding Photography (31)

For our honeymoon we went to Crete straight after the wedding as were really needed a rest and a couple of weeks to relax. We stayed in a beautiful hotel near to Elounda. We have now just returned from Italy which was where we originally wanted to go for our honeymoon but as we wanted to do a bit of travelling we knew it wouldn’t be a complete chilled out holiday which is what we needed straight after the wedding. We spent four nights in Rome then 11 nights travelling up the Amalfi Coast and Sorrento.

A Chic Wedding at Ringwood Hall (c) One Wedding Photography (54)

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be try not to get stressed about the planning, the day is a fantastic day regardless. We tried to stay relaxed throughout the whole planning process and didn’t worry too much about little details on the day. We just enjoyed and had the best time.

The only thing we regret is not having a video done of the wedding. At the time we were thinking of budget but in the grand scheme of things we should have just gone for it.

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up, up, up & away. bright colours & balloons for a fun wedding at peak edge hotel – sarah & mike

July 9th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (31)

Rather than deciding on one set theme and colour palette, today’s real wedding couple put together a mishmash of colours, passions and likes to create a big day that was both stylish & personal.

We love the bright colours mixed in with glittery gold touches, including Mike and Sarah’s fabulous looking cake! We are also fans of Sarah’s idea to switch her bridesmaids’ bouquets for balloons in a nod to her and Mike’s favourite film Up, because you don’t always have to abide by the wedding ‘rules’.

All in all a fun and elegant big day, just as the bride and groom wanted!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Lee Brown Photography.

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (5)

sarah says: Mike proposed while we were on holiday in Las Vegas in September 2013. He’d asked for my parents’ blessing before the trip. On the 12th September we drove out from Las Vegas to see the Hoover Dam and onto the Grand Canyon. We arrived at the south rim of the canyon and began to walk along the track. At sunset we sat down and took in the sight. Whilst sat Mike asked me if I was enjoying the trip, I said “yes it’s perfect”. To which he asked me if anything could make it more perfect and my response was “no”. I then turned round to see Mike sat with a small box with a love heart sweet ring saying ‘Marry Me’ written on it. My heart melted and I said yes! Mike let me choose my own engagement ring once we were home – he knows me so well!

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (6)

We were married at Peak Edge Hotel near Chesterfield. The thing that clinched it with Peak Edge was that the venue had the rustic feel in part of the venue in the Red Lion bar and bistro (a former 17th century coaching inn) yet it also had a modern element as the hotel was built in 2011. It was just perfect and ticked all our boxes for us to have a civil service and for me to be able to get ready at the venue. Plus the ‘Perfection Package’ included so many elements we wouldn’t then need to arrange ourselves but it still gave us the chance to customise areas to our taste e.g. chair sashes, place cards, seating chart etc. The venue was spacious with our civil ceremony taking place in the Orangery with beautiful glass skylight and chandeliers. The orangery and adjoining Harewood suite were then transformed for wedding breakfast and we also had the Ashover suite for the disco in the evening. We also needed somewhere that could accommodate my bridal party of 17. Carly was our dedicated planner at the venue, and worked with us to ensure she shared our vision for the day and that every detail was perfect.

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (9)

Our theme was understated rustic with modern pops of colour and fun! We didn’t want one colour to cover everything and it all to be very ‘matchy matchy’. Instead we created a classic elegant style using more neutral tones with bright elements and added a bit of bling with gold glitter. One of our favourite films is Up and so we knew we wanted to incorporate balloons into our day too. We both love the vintage rustic style weddings but felt that we wanted our own twist on this and so we incorporated rustic elements where we wanted but with bursts of bling and colour.

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (10)

When it came to the dress I was pretty open to everything as I had no preconceived idea of what I thought it would look like, although I thought I didn’t want strapless nor satin. I went to several bridal shops and found I started to pick out the same designer – Mori Lee by Madelaine Gardner. I eventually bought my dress from Blushes Bridal on London Road in Sheffield. I tried on a Mori Lee dress I had tried on several months previously and I knew it had to be that one. It was just perfect – tulle skirt with subtle lace detail round the hem, a touch of sparkle on the waistband with a brooch detail and a fitted bodice top with delicate lace detail over laying and button up back with a long train.

Helen, Zoe and the rest of the staff at Blushes were just amazing – they managed to get my dress in slightly earlier so I could go and try it on a few times. Alterations weren’t a problem either as I was a perfect fit in my dress, it was as if it had been made for me. I borrowed a veil from my friend and finished my outfit with the most amazing pair of Louboutins which my husband bought me from Harrods.

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (14)

Mike’s outfit was top to toe Hugo Boss. He went to the Hugo Boss store in Nottingham where assistant manager Lee Honey helped him pick and tailored his amazing three piece suit to him. The service in-store was sensational.

The groomsmen and fathers all wore suits from Next and the bridesmaid’s navy dresses were from Very.co.uk. Our flower girls and pageboy outfits were from John Rocha at Debenhams.

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (16)

Lee of Lee Brown Photography was our photographer. Lee had done wedding photos for two of my work colleagues and I had met Lee at their weddings. I loved his style of natural photos and that it felt as if he very much blended into the day rather than having all posed photos. Michael also loved his work and his amazing all-inclusive package was the right deal for us. We had a wonderful pre-wedding shoot with Lee in the gardens at Chatsworth in January and these pictures were displayed at the wedding as a signing board and postcards. Lee arrived at the venue early in the morning to take some photos of us all getting ready and the boys arriving and stayed into late into the evening. The pictures really do show what an amazing day we had.

We also had our wedding filmed by Mike at Satin Pictures to give us lasting memories of the day. Mike often works with our photographer Lee and we loved his work. The video was a late addition to our wedding and we were very lucky to secure Mike. We have an amazing highlights film for our day which captured the fun and are excited to see our full video very soon!

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (20)

Our flowers were provided by JJ’s Flowers in Chesterfield. Jess at JJ’s is an amazing florist! Flowers weren’t to be a main element of our day and I didn’t want us to spend a lot of our budget on them. I knew as soon as we met Jess I wanted her to do our flowers as she totally got where I was coming from and despite it being a relatively small order in comparison to other weddings she does, she was still very committed to getting it just right for me. I couldn’t have been happier with the results!

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (22)

Liz at Mad Philomena provided our wedding invites and was amazing. When coming up with the design we met Liz at a pub one evening to discuss how she could help us create some invites that reflected us as a couple. We worked together on several iterations of the invite to make it perfect. From our meeting Liz wrote a beautiful piece in the centre of the invite about us as a couple; how we met, where the proposal happened and what we love about one another. We also hired some of Liz’s giant gold letters for display throughout the wedding day and a ribbon backdrop customised to our colours.

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (28)

The balloons for bridesmaids and decorations came from Dottie & Love. I came across Jayne at Dottie & Love through a recommendation. Originally we were just having balloons for decoration in the Ashover suite for our evening reception and two of the large white balloons with ribbon tails for decoration and use in the photos. However I worked with Jayne and decided I also wanted the bridesmaids to have balloons rather than flowers to walk in with. This worked really well and looked beautiful on the photos, plus was a much more friendly choice to the budget. Jayne was fabulous and we would highly recommend her.

I made or bought the rest of the decorations including tissues for tears of love, joy, laughter and happily ever after, ring box and signs.

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (36)

As favours we gave all our guests a wooden egg cup printed with our fingerprints from our ring fingers, our names plus and date of the wedding. There was a Cadburys Creme Egg in each one as it was Easter.

Our wedding cake was from Atherley’s Bakery in Farnsfield, Nottinghamshire. My friend and bridesmaid Jo runs this family business with her husband James and they make the most amazing cakes! We had a three tier cake with lemon, red velvet and chocolate sponges with a rustic buttercream coating and gold dusting detail. We then had vanilla sponge cupcakes for my ‘pimp your cupcake’ stand during the evening reception where guests could add their choice of icing and a variety of toppings to a cake.

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (40)

James Clark provided the entertainment at our drinks reception. We had seen James play many times before as he regularly hosts an acoustic night at our friend’s pub in Mansfield. His laid back style and music options were perfect. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from our guests about James since.

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (45)

Further entertainment was provided by a photo booth in the evening. When I met Kay who runs the Nottingham franchise for Photobooth.co.uk at a local wedding fayre, I knew we had to have it at our venue. The booth has the capability to take single photos or four onto one photo and the backgrounds can be changed. The booth also allowed guests to do some karaoke and merged the videos at the end of the day.

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (48)

We would recommend our wedding venue to others without a shadow of a doubt. Nothing was too much trouble for the venue. The staff are so accommodating and cannot do enough to help. Several friends are now considering the venue for their weddings and we are attending a friend’s wedding at the same venue in August.

Looking back I would say the ceremony was my favourite part of the day. We had readings and an impromptu sing song. It was just perfect!

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (65)

For our honeymoon we went to Australia for just over three weeks. We flew into Melbourne and spent five nights there fitting in lots of attractions before moving onto Ayres Rock where we watched the sunrise, completed the base walk all the way round Uluru, went to the ‘Sound of Silence’ dinner, and had a go at boomerang and spear throwing.  Next we went to Cairns for a week where we snorkled at the Great Barrier Reef. We finished up in Sydney where we completed the Bridge Climb, visited Taronga Zoo, Manly and Bondi beaches, and had a tour of the opera house.

Bright colours & balloons for a Wedding in Chesterfield (c) Lee Brown Photography (68)

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to shop around! I managed to save lots of money by not getting drawn into hiring or buying the first things I saw.

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sequins and tulle. mori lee for an opulent winter wedding at ellingham hall, northumberland – caroline & james

February 19th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (51)

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.

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (14)

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.

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (18)

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.

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (9)

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.

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (11)

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.

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (24)

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (27)

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.

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (29)

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!

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (34)

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (36)

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.

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (43)

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.

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (55)

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.

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (70)

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (72)

We enjoyed every single moment of the day, but our favourite part was saying “I do”.

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (74)

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.

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (86)

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.

a glittering winer wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Focal Point Photography (90)

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happy & hygge. a warm winter wedding at newton hall, northumberland – emma & rachel

February 11th, 2015 | Julia Braime

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (20)

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.

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (10)

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!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (4)

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!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (1)

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!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (13)

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!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (23)

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!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (24)

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.

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (27)

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.

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (29)

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 hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (35)

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.

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (33)

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!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (40)

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!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (39)

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!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (46)

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!

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (50)

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.

a hygge wedding at Newton Hall (c) Leighton Bainbridge Photography (49)

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.

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