Charlotte Balbier

art felt. a colourful wedding celebration at manchester’s media city – rachael & zariah

April 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime

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Today’s couple prove how a vibrant setting can actually help your big day stand out all the more. Rachael and Zariah combined their love for the arts, entertainment and all things bright to produce a colourful wedding that dazzled, in more ways than one.

I particularly love how happy and natural everyone involved in this special day looks, all captured by On Love and Photography – fabulous pics guys!

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rachael says: We got engaged on that Olympic Super Saturday 4th August 2012 during a holiday in Paris. Before we went away, some of our friends speculated ‘ooh maybe he plans to propose in Paris!’ which I laughed off. After visiting a variety of stereotypically romantic settings (with limitless opportunities for proposal) – The Eiffel Tower, Sacré-Cœur, banks of the Seine etc. he hadn’t popped the question and so I wrote it off. Therefore it certainly came as a surprise as we got back to our hotel room on the last night and Zariah tells me he wants to spend the rest of his life with me and produces a beautiful aquamarine engagement ring! I cried for a long time; half in shock, half in happiness and woke up the next day with a puffy but very happy face!

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We were originally going to get married in February 2014. However, when I found out I was pregnant in December 2012, we decided to postpone the wedding so that we could solely focus on getting used to being new parents, without having to plan an imminent wedding too! Thankfully, the venue were so accommodating and happily rearranged it for 28th February 2015.

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We had our wedding ceremony in our local church, St Paul’s in Sale town centre. The church is down the road from our house so it’s lovely to have that reminder of our wedding every time we walk past. After looking around various different venues for the reception, from stately homes to pubs, we knew from the moment we walked into The Compass Room at The Lowry Theatre that this was the place for us. We loved the urban architecture around, the room is really unique with floor to ceiling views of Media City. We are both also jobbing actors, so the fact our reception was in a theatre was another bonus and made it feel special to us.

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The thought of planning a wedding has always filled me with dread, let alone the thought of a ‘theme’. That said, as we began to realise how much thought had to be put into each aspect of the day – there had to be some sort of common thread. We wanted the wedding to be bright, fun and personal, with a bit of sparkle.

Our colour scheme was predominantly blue with a lot of brights! My engagement ring is aquamarine, we both like blue so that was our base for the bridesmaid dresses and suits. After trawling through Pinterest I was drawn to all the brightly coloured flowers so we really went for a bit of everything.

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After visiting several bridal shops in and around Manchester whilst carting Isaac around in his pram, the dress hunt was beginning to lose its sparkle. I was trying on too many and being indecisive. I had realised that the slightly 1950s style princess dress suited my figure the most but I struggled to find ‘the one’. One Saturday in July, on a visit back to my home town of St Helens with my step sister Julia we visited Always & Forever Bridal Boutique. The women in the shop were really down to earth, honest and didn’t beat around the bush, which is just what I needed. It was also the first shop I’d been into where I liked several of the dresses and most were in the Mori Lee range. It was here I found my Madison dress. It was just what I wanted, I loved the romantic tulle, full skirt, simple, but with a bit of sparkle in the belt.

It took a few more months for me to decide on the accessories. I bought some lovely 1950s style Rachel Simpson shoes online. Jewellery wise I wore a locket that my Grandad gave to my Nan on their first date which had their pictures in. I didn’t think I wanted a veil but in the end, I think the plain tulle veil complemented the church ceremony. Rosie Binns from Ethos Hair in Chorlton did my bridal hair and the bridesmaids’ hair on the day.

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Zariah’s wore a blinking gorgeous electric blue FCUK suit from Moss Bros and Icon tanned brogues from Schuh. I thought he scrubbed up very well!

The groomsmen wore the same as Zariah. Isaac (our son) who was our page boy wore a suit from Mamas and Papas with blue Converse trainers. My bridesmaids wore sapphire blue Dessy dresses we ordered through J’Adore Bridal Boutique in Altrincham. My flower girl (Leah, my niece) wore a very pretty, simple white dress from Next, along with a cardigan with a butterfly clasp and we bought her a heart shaped locket, similar to mine.

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We hired a beautiful Royal Windsor wedding car from Century Wedding Cars, St Helens, as our transport. We liked the 1950s theme and the company is owned by an old school friend’s mum and dad. It was nice to give them business as a grown up bride-to-be, rather than giving them grief as a teenage tearaway!

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Our photographers were the brilliant and lovely Giulia and Ben from On Love and Photography. They had photographed our friends’ wedding the previous summer and we fell in love with their pictures. It was a no brainer that we wanted to use them too. Not only amazing photographers, they are such a friendly couple too. We both felt really comfortable around them and loved their observational style shots. They are also quite adventurous in their photography, egging us on for the more unusual pictures! We would highly recommend them.

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Fletcher and Foley of Sale provided our flowers. My bouquet was made up of orange ranunculus, red parrot tulips, blue muscari, mixed anemones and hellebores and catkins for a touch of spring!

The florist arranged jam jar pew ends at the church made up of brightly coloured ranunculus, daffodils and blue musacri which really gave a hint of spring. Two of our friends then kindly transported the pew end flowers to the wedding venue and arranged them in a row on the top table. We used vases from my sister’s wedding for centre pieces and kept it simple with floating candles and peachy/pink delphinium orchids floating on top. The bridesmaids and I made the table plans, name cards and signage for the venue. The room itself had the wow factor so we didn’t need to go mad on decorations. Special Day Events, who we would recommend, provided organza bows for our chairs. Emma was really quick in her email correspondence and sent me an array of different coloured samples in the post to choose from.

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Instead of a wedding guestbook, my friend made us a wedding post box with the idea that guests wrote their bits of advice and messages on a postcard, posted it in the box then took a selfie on our camera which we will print out and put next to their message in the guest book.

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Being big cake lovers, it was only fitting that we had cupcakes as wedding favours. We also had a vase full of sparklers which we lit on the balcony overlooking Media City later on in the evening. The idea was for us to walk through a ‘bridge’ of sparklers – by this point the guests were quite drunk though and I was convinced my dress was going to go up in flames!

As our main cake we bought an M&S three-tiered cake with a mixture of fruit and sponge. Simple and tasty!

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As Zariah’s family are a Jamaican heritage we wanted to incorporate some Caribbean flavours into our wedding meal and so the sweet potato and red pepper soup was a nod to this culture, whilst the Yorkshire pudding and beef canapés a nod to mine! We had chicken with mozzarella and sundried tomato as our main followed by a coconut Manchester Tart with banana ice cream, which was a big hit!

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We love music and wanted guests to be in the mood for a party from the start so we hired Taylor and the Mason, two female guitarists to play during the drinks reception in the Quays Bar. Their voices are amazing and they are both gorgeous, funny and northern. We also hired a magician called Dan Tiernan whom Zariah and I have worked with at the Youth Theatre we teach. He was great and kept the guests and kids entertained during the meal.

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For the evening reception we hired a DJ – Nick Campbell who was recommended to us. He came to our house before the wedding to discuss our tastes in music and was really friendly and chilled. Zariah had written out a long list of requests for the evening which Nick was happy to use. Nick gaged the audience perfectly, the dance floor was never empty – we even ended up doing a Conga to a reggae song around the room. Our first dance was to Our Day Will Come the Amy Winehouse version. We didn’t want anything too smoochy or slow, yet this song meant a lot to us as after being together for seven years and having a baby together, it felt about time we had our first dance!

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It was really special that my Grandad walked me down the aisle in church. My mum and I lived with him and my Nan until I was four so we’ve always been close. It also seemed fitting that if my Grandad ‘gave me away’, then my step Dad, Graham, who’s been in my life for over 20 years should do the father of the bride speech in the evening. It was lovely that they both got to have special roles.

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Being a bit of a feminist, I think a lot of our guests (including Zariah) expected me to do a speech along with the traditional male speakers. Whilst it was something I considered, after the pressure of months of wedding planning, the thought of adding this extra pressure wasn’t appealing. Then I came across four young lively buskers on Facebook that I had another idea. I asked Bolton Brass – a four piece brass band, to perform at our wedding as a surprise after the speeches. After watching them online, I just loved their energy (they do dance routines with trumpets) and hearing modern pop songs performed by a brass band just captivated me. The band burst through the doors playing Can’t Take My Eyes of You after the final toast and then leapt into No Place I’d Rather Be, The Final Countdown and a couple more songs. It really geared the guests up for the evening do and was my way of making a speech. They were amazing!

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As we had a few children at the wedding I made goody bags for the kids table; play dough, colouring books, bubbles and disposable cameras.

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We loved our wedding venue. The staff were so friendly and accommodating throughout and for those looking for an urban city wedding, The Lowry is perfect. The Compass Room is big and has the wow factor with great views of famous landmarks and endless opportunities for photos. We liked the fact we had our drinks reception in the Quays Bar downstairs, it really made use of the different sections of the venue. We also managed to have some photos taken in one of the theatres! It really was a unique venue and reflected both our love for Manchester and the arts.

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It’s hard to define a favourite part of the day, we enjoyed it all from getting ready in the morning to doing the Conga in the evening! The vows in church were a really special moment when we both had to hold back the tears. We also really enjoyed hearing the readings we had picked for the church – one was from Isaac’s favourite bedtime book called ‘Me’ by Emma Dodd. It was lovely to have our son with us on our wedding day and fitting that we could include a reading that meant something to all of us. One really unique part of the day was when we arrived at venue and our photographers ushered us to a bridge next to The Lowry for photos whilst hundreds of Man United fans headed to the match. It was moment on our own away from the guests, yet surrounded by lots of friendly strangers from Zariah’s team (Zariah would like to add: we won 2-0 so it was a great day overall). We also had fun later on when we took to the balcony of The Lowry for group pictures with our friends. It was really cold and windy so after a few drinks, we all jumped up and down and started chanting silly songs to keep warm. It just confirmed how lucky we are to have such wonderful friends!

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Following the wedding we had a two-night minimoon at The Brimstone, Langdale in The Lake District. After a hectic 18 months of bringing up a baby and wedding planning, we just wanted total relaxation on our own. We are also having a week away to Crete in the summer as our honeymoon and taking Isaac with us.

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Our top tip to other Brides Up North is – plan well in advance, especially if you’re doing a lot of the stationery yourself. We took for granted how long the little bits would take us. We would also recommend investing in good photographers like On Love and Photography. The photos are the memories you keep for life after your day is over. We decided what mattered to us the most and the least, and stuck to that in terms of budget. Have fun on the day! The little things really won’t matter much. It’s about you two and having your loved ones around you what makes the wedding, not the chair covers (even though they did look lovely).

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returning to their roots. a romantic valentine’s day wedding in sheffield – ruth & james

April 27th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

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Today’s real wedding couple are such fans of the north of England that they chose to tie the knot in Sheffield where their family roots lie rather than in the South of France where they currently live.

James and Ruth’s dreamy day says glamour and romance and is captured beautifully by Jon Dennis of S6 Photography – we particularly love the moody countryside shots!

We’re also huge fans of the ladies’ faux fur jackets, Ruth’s gorgeous lace bolero and those incredible blooms!

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ruth says: We got engaged in Barcelona in a beautiful hotel called Gran hotel La Florida overlooking Barcelona up on Mount Tibidabo. I had no idea as we had just returned from a trip to Dubai and I thought we were taking a connecting flight back to France (where we live). James had other ideas! It was very romantic with champagne and a stunning suite. He got down on one knee to pop the question and of course, I said yes!

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We had a Valentine’s Day wedding. Although we don’t really celebrate it, we didn’t want a long engagement so we decided to take advantage of my work holidays (I work in an international school) and get married during the half term. The date worked, so we booked it!

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We were married at Christ Church Gleadless in Sheffield and our reception was held at Whirlowbrook Hall, Whirlow. We chose the church as it is the church where James’ parents and grandparents were married. We chose the reception venue because we loved the setting, grounds and the rooms there. As soon as we visited it we knew it was right because the Whirlowbrook team were so welcoming and helpful. Nothing was too much trouble.

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There was no specific theme, although navy blue was the colour of the bridesmaid dresses and boys’ cravats. The flowers and decorations were a little rustic and my dress had a slight vintage feel.

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I’d say the colour scheme was navy blue and white. James is a Sheffield Wednesday fan and they are the colours of his team so it worked quite well!

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My dress was a simple evening gown with a long sleeved lace bolero jacket over the top. It had a slight train at the back and was an A line shape. I chose it because I wanted something simple and elegant that I wouldn’t struggle to move around in.

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James wore the Royal Ascot morning suit from Moss Bros in grey and black with the navy cravat.

The best men wore the same as James and the bridesmaids wore long navy blue evening gowns with lace and beading around the neck line.

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I travelled in a Rolls Royce Phantom III Wraith which we hired from Cupid Carriages in Wales Bar.

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Jon Dennis from S6 Photography was our photographer and he was just perfect. I would highly recommend him to anyone for their wedding as he is so friendly and professional and the photos he took were stunning.

Jon took us out towards Derbyshire for some photos in the countryside on the day which was a great idea and really added to the photos. It was special because the area was a big part of both mine and James’ childhoods so it felt important to include that in our wedding shots.

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I carried a bouquet of seasonal flowers and berries in blues, purples and greens. It had ivy trailing down and a fabulous succulent that we named Stanley! The succulent is now growing in a pot at my sister’s house. The bridesmaids had bouquets of gypsophila and some in the hair too. All of the flowers were provided by the lovely Tracey Campbell of Campbell’s Flowers in Sheffield. She was an absolute dream and I couldn’t have been happier with everything that she created for us.

Tracey also provided the flowers for the centre pieces which were candelabras with a wreath of gypsophila. The top table had a wreath of gypsophila at each end around lots of candles. It was very elegant and simple, exactly what we hoped for. She also proved a beautiful garland to go down the staircase at Whirlowbrook Hall and few extra vases of gypsophila.

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Favours were three macaroons in a box. We wanted to have a little nod to our French life so it seemed the perfect choice.

We chose a three tier cake; one tier of chocolate, one of sponge and a top fruit tier. It was made by a wonderful friend called Sarah Axe who makes cakes and just asks for donations to her charity; Memories from Isla which creates memory boxes for grieving parents who have lost babies early on. The cake was delicious and was decorated with white icing and white cake lace with navy ribbons. Tracey the florist added some gypsophila for the top of the cake.

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For our wedding meal we went for the Whirlowbrook gala buffet which included lots of delicious meats and salads. A whole poached salmon and lamb. There was also a curry and everything was delicious! We wanted to keep it reasonably informal and allow people a huge choice. We chose a white French wine; Colombard Ugni Blanc, Richelieu and a red Rioja Tempranillo as we used to live in Spain and it’s one of our favourite wines.

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We chose a band called Downtown Underground to provide the entertainment who were a soul/funk seven piece band that we found online. They were fantastic and the dance floor was full all night.

We also had a photo booth from Meridian Entertainment which was so much fun and everyone stuck a copy of their photos in a photo album for us so we had a lot of laughs looking at the photos after the wedding.

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We would absolutely recommend our venue to other couples. It was beautiful inside and out and the whole day ran smoothly due to the professional team there. We didn’t have to worry about anything from the planning, to the setup, to the running of the day. They took care of everything and were so friendly and fun.

For me my favourite part of the day was saying our vows in front of all of our family and friends. It’s something I will never forget and was so special. James loved having a big party with everyone – we love and watching me walk down the aisle to him!

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We went to Budapest and Vienna on our honeymoon. We had tonnes of fun – eating, drinking and exploring the cities. We love city breaks and as we only had a week due to our work commitments it was the perfect ‘mini-moon’. In Budapest we went to the Thermal spas and food markets and did a walking tour. In Vienna we went to beautiful restaurants and took in the sights of the city.

My top tip to other Brides Up North is organise your budget early on and try to stick to it. Invest in a great photographer. On the day, relax! It’s so much fun if you take it as one big party and celebration. The day goes so fast so make the most of every second!

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wedstock. a vibrant festival wedding in yorkshire – sophia & sean

April 20th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

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Today’s real wedding takes place in one of my favourite places, Bradfield – a gorgeous little village in Yorkshire that was something of a hidden gem until the Tour de France zipped through it last year.

Clear of cyclists, Sophia and Sean headed to Foxholes Farm to throw a festival themed outdoor wedding inspired by their love of music.

Add some incredible blooms, bright bunting and striking flags to the live entertainment provided by the groom’s band and you’ve got one rocking wedding.

Lets head to the main stage…

With images by Photography34.

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sophia says: We got engaged in October 2012 the Northern Lights while we were in Iceland! Sean really isn’t romantic but this is the most romantic thing he’s ever done!

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We decided to book the wedding for 23rd August 2014 as we wanted it over the bank holiday so people could celebrate and party with us all weekend!

Cressbrook Hall, near Buxton, was our chosen venue for the wedding ceremony. We fell in love with its beauty straight away. It was too small to hold our total wedding though so we opted just to have the ceremony in the orangery overlooking the stunning Peak views. The reception venue was then held at Foxholes Farm in Bradfield, just outside Sheffield (not far from where we live). We loved the views and the flexibility of this venue – it gave us a chance to put our own stamp on it.

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We had a festival wedding – ‘Wedstock’ – Sean plays in a band and we love going to festivals so it seemed to fit us!

We wanted bright, sunny, warm colours to brighten up our marquee and to fit the summer season – so chose red, orange and hot pink. We loved our colour scheme! The colours looked so lovely in the photos.

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I found my dress in Blissful Daze in Sheffield which has since shut down (such a shame as it was a lovely shop). I’m half Peruvian so a Spanish-designed and inspired dress caught my eye and I loved it straight away! When I put it on it felt so ‘me’ and so right! It was by Pronovias.

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Sean and his groomsmen wore grey suits from Moss Bros with white shirts and pink ties.

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The bridesmaids wore watermelon – which is a colour I love (they took some convincing but liked it in the end, Bridesmaidzillas!) Their dresses were from JJsHouse off the internet believe it or not! It was a risk ordering online, but ultimately I was pleased with them – despite being slapped with an import tax I wasn’t expecting – never mind!

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We travelled in an amazing VW campervan called Rita. Grant drove us from Candy Apple Weddings – he only does a few select weddings a year but would highly recommend him!

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Tony from Photography 34 was our chosen photographer. We think Toy is amazing and would recommend him to anyone! His photos are gorgeous. We also had a videographer who was great – Wedding-Cam.

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Our florists were Swallows and Damsons from Sheffield – they were brilliant form start to finish and my bouquet was probably the part of the wedding which most surprised me – I loved my flowers more than I had anticipated and actually feel quite emotional thinking about my bouquet now! They were excellent – again I would highly recommend.

Swallows and Damsons did all the flowers displayed in watering cans and homemade vases alongside hand-decorated candles at the reception. To decorate we also had bunting made my Sean’s amazing mum. And my mum handmade the petal confetti.

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We created a little message in a bottle for each guest for favours. Sean and I wrote a message for each of our family/friends – we just wanted to bring a personal message from us to each of our special guests. They went down a storm and we were told our guests shed a few tears whilst reading them! They doubled up as name-places too.

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My friend Lisa made our wedding cupcakes which were carrot and vanilla. They were delicious and looked beautiful!

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Friends 4 Dinner did our catering. We had scallops and pate followed by salmon and beef, as we wanted something that everyone could enjoy. The food was delicious and the catering was to a very high standard. To drink we had Rioja (Sean’s favourite) and Sauvignon Blancfrom New Zeland (my favourite).

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Sean’s in a band so played the wedding to entertain our guests. They’re called Control Freak and were ace! We also had a magician Ben Z from Sheffield to dazzle us with some tricks. At the ceremony our friend Al sung us down the aisle to Incubus’ If Not Now, When – it’s a very special song and brings a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye thinking about it!

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We would recommend our wedding venue to other couples who want to make their big day personal.

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I couldn’t possibly choose a favourite part of the day – it was all amazing! Being sung down the aisle to our very special song by our friend or maybe driven around the Peaks with my new husband, sipping champagne in a VW was pretty special! Tony found us some gorgeous spots to be snapped. When I look through the photos, they’re the ones I love the most – the gorgeous views with my new hubby!

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For our honeymoon we went backpacking in Sri Lanka. It was so nice to relax after the busy few weeks of the wedding, plus seeing some amazing sights.

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Sean’s top tip to Brides Up North would be to have a proper think about everything that needs to happen on the day, for example certain tracks being played at certain times, music being set up, equipment being in place, and delegate these tasks to a groomsman.

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My top tip to other Brides Up North is to prioritise capturing your special day in as much details as you can, either in photo or video format (or both if possible) as the minute it’s over you’ll want to relive it again and again and it’s nice to have those memories for the rest of your lives. Every year on our anniversary we’ve pledged to watch our wedding video with chocs and champagne! It’s a nice tradition we hope to create following our special day.

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pink to perfection. a pretty winter wedding at east riddlesden hall – stephanie & robert

April 2nd, 2015 | Julia Braime

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Here at Brides Up North we make no secret of the fact that we love all things pink! And so when we saw Stephanie and Robert’s incredibly pretty day (with lots of lovely pink touches) we knew we had to have it on our pages.

This big day is both cute and classy with special touches including a vintage tiffany blue VW campervan named Dylan, original Penguin paperback books as favours and wonderful décor in paper diamonds, twinkly lights and rustic style bike wheels in a nod to the couple’s love for cycling.

So let’s saddle up for this flawless Yorkshire celebration.

With images by Weddings by Smith.

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stephanie says: We got engaged at home in our bedroom. It was a low key affair, fitting of our relationship – quiet and understated. The ring was a real surprise, and beautiful, inherited from the groom’s mother’s great aunt. It is lovely to have such a family heirloom.

We chose Saturday 13th December 2014 as our wedding date. We wanted a winter wedding as December has always been a special time for us, and we thought the Yorkshire setting would be stunning on a crisp winter’s day (which we got). We didn’t want to follow the traditional summer wedding approach, this was a way to make ours a bit different.

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Our wedding was at East Riddlesden Hall, West Yorkshire. We chose the venue as it’s been somewhere we have cycled past on one of our many cycling outings, but never visited. The Rob’s sister, Sarah (one of the bridesmaids), had previously been to a wedding there and said it was wonderful. Upon visiting we fell in love with it straight away, the barn is beautiful and we loved the fact that the whole wedding could be held in the same venue. Also, being a National Trust venue, fitted with my past as a history graduate from Oxford University.

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We didn’t have a specific theme but wanted all the details to be as personal to us as possible. As big cyclists we wanted to incorporate cycling into the wedding – hence the bike wheels decorated with flowers that were hung up around the barn and a poem about a couple and cycling as one of our readings. We’re also both keen readers – note the original Penguin paperback books as favours and place markers for the wedding breakfast.

The colour scheme was generally pink and silver, which were chosen to fit with the bridesmaids’ dresses. And pink has always been my favourite colour!

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My gown was an ivory lacy dress with a satin underlay. The back was low cut and the dress had a very simple and sleek silhouette. I really liked the simplicity of the dress, with added elegance from the sparkles on the lace. I bought it from Teokath in Wimbledon. Originally I thought I would want a sixties style tea-length dress, but couldn’t find any that suited my figure. The dress I bought in the end was perfect for my figure.

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Rob wore a navy suit from Moss Bros. He, along with the groomsmen, all had pink socks to keep in with the theme. Rob wore a charcoal tie to match the bridesmaids’ dresses while the groomsmen had pink ties. These also tied in with the maids’ dresses, which were pale pink and charcoal dresses by Vera Wang.

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Our transport for the day was Dylan – a vintage tiffany blue VW campervan. It did two trips, one with four bridesmaids, and a second trip with the two remaining bridesmaids, the father of the bride, and the bride. It was perfect! Dylan stayed around for photographs afterwards, and was a key part of our vision for the day.

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Tom Smith of Weddings by Smith was our photographer. He is a friend of the Rob’s and was a wonderful and perfectly unobtrusive photographer. We wanted photos that weren’t too formal, but picked out the small details we had spent time organising and making. We were also keen to have photos of guests that were of individuals picked out from the crowd in a natural setting, rather than any posed photographs.

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Beth Webber, another friend of the Rob’s, did our flowers. She is not a professional florist, but has some experience helping out at other weddings, and we both think she did a wonderful job. We had a theme of wild flowers in pinks and greys. None of the flower arrangements were too fussy, we just wanted to work a casual vintage theme. We think the flowers perfectly reflected the happy, relaxed vibe of the day.

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We hired caterers GFS to take care of the food.They were wonderful and fitted the menu around what we wanted. Specifically we requested half the welcome drinks to be Kir Royales (to go with the pink theme), Yorkshire pudding with the main course, the groom’s favourite sticky toffee pudding for dessert (along with specially requested jugs of extra sauce for the tables) and a bottle of port and petit fours to follow dessert. My talented mum made our iced wedding cake of three tiers – one fruit and two sponge.

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A group called The Frankies provided our entertainment. We originally requested a band known as The Funtime Frankies, but unfortunately they were not available. However their B group, The Frankies, were, and they were no less fun!

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We incorporated several special touches into our day to help reflect our theme. We used beautiful vintage crockery to go on the tables and each guest had their own unique combination of crockery, including tea cup and plate. The effect was wonderful.We also had bike wheels hung on the walls around the barn, decorated with flowers to reflect our love for cycling. Rob’s mum made our hand folded heart books and his sister made paper diamonds in all different sizes and materials.

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a pretty pink wedding at East Riddlesden Hall (c) Weddings by Smith  (28)

When guests arrived at the ceremony they were met by the groomsmen, who had a basket of badges with a photo of either the bride or groom on. They were asked to pick a badge to wear for the day to identify themselves. We chose not to have traditional divisions in seating (groom’s family/friends on one side, and the bride’s on the other). Instead we asked guests to mingle, to reflect the relaxed vibe of the day.Our table plan for the reception was created by cutting out photos of all of our guests and placing the photos into wooden pallets. Each table had its own small pallet. We wanted to do something quirky and original.

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We would most definitely recommend East Riddlesden Hall to other wedding couples. The venue is stunning and being able to hold everything in the same place really helps when it comes to logistics.

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We followed our wedding up with an amazing honeymoon – three months travelling around New Zealand!

My tip to other Brides Up North would be to enjoy every moment; it will be the best day of your life, so relish every second of it!

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happily ever after. romantica for a family wedding at rushpool hall – cheryl & john

March 24th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

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I don’t know about you but I’m a sucker for a cute engagement story and today’s real wedding starts with a great one. Having been together just short of nine years brave bride Cheryl decided to turn the tables and asked partner John for his hand in marriage during a romantic weekend away to celebrate their anniversary. Huge kudos to Cheryl for ditching tradition – oh, and for also quickly pointing out to John that he owed her a ring to make it official.

To make their big day a real family affair Cheryl and John made their two beautiful daughters, Millie and Ellie, a big part of the day and it looks like the girls carried out their duties perfectly. Well done girls!

So let’s hear that engagement story…

With images by Brides Up North featured supplier Diamond Photography.

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cheryl says: John and I have been together for almost nine years and we have two beautiful daughters, Millie and Ellie. We had talked about marriage over a number of years but something else always seemed to arise, in regards to work schedules and having two young daughters. Our anniversary was fast approaching and we always make the effort to go for an overnight stay somewhere so I made the decision that this was it – I was going to ask him to marry me! I’d always been adamant I would wait until he proposed but I guess the time just felt right. So, after looking at different hotels and listening to other people’s experiences I decided to book Yorebridge House boutique hotel in the Yorkshire Dales. On 1st November 2012 we set off for our overnight stay, I told John that we wouldn’t bother with gifts this time as we had paid that little bit extra for the hotel stay.

After a glass of wine (for courage) I handed John a gift-wrapped box, which he cautiously opened but seemed pleased when a box of Thorntons chocolates were presented to him. However, he had to do a double-take when he realised what the chocolates spelled out the words ‘will u marry me?’ I was relieved when he smiled and answered ‘Yes!’ Next I presented him with a smaller box containing a jelly Haribo ring and a note stating, ‘you owe me.’ I felt comforted and very excited afterwards as we both began to contact our family and friends to share the news.

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I had hoped to book an earlier date, preferably before the football season started but those dates had already been taken, so we agreed finally agreed on our date, Saturday 30th August 2014.

We got married at Rushpool Hall, Saltburn, described as ‘a fairy tale castle set in picturesque surroundings’. We liked that our ceremony, wedding breakfast and reception would be all in the one venue. We chose the blue room with beautiful décor, which overlooks Saltburn Valley with additional sea views. This had been one of the hotels that John and I had previously stayed at and once we began to look at wedding venues we revisited the site and instantly knew this would be where we would say our wedding vows.

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Our wedding colour scheme was ivory and pink. The pink element stems from both of our daughters’ love of the colour.

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After visiting six different wedding dress retailers, I went back to Exclusively Yours at Wingate, County Durham. I chose a selection of three/four dresses but I kept returning to a particular dress, which I had previously tried on. I soon realised I’d found the one. The dress was Romantica Zeta, a straight A-line dress with crystals on the bodice, which featured a zip fastening on the back with crystal buttons. The dress was ivory in colour.

John wore a suit with a waistcoat and jacket and an ivory cravat from Moss Brothers at Dalton Park.

Our two daughters Millie and Ellie both wore ivory bridesmaid dresses from Next which had an ivory band round the middle and fastened in a bow at the back. Bryan the best man wore the same suit as John from Moss Brothers.

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Andrew and Mandy of Diamond Photography were our photographers. I’d arranged to meet with Andrew who showed me different wedding packages and photographs that himself and Mandy offered. Andrew was very easy-going and added no pressure. Across a period of time before I got married I often messaged Andrew who always answered any questions and worries I may have had. On our wedding day they captured amazing moments, I’m not a person who particularly likes to be in the limelight, but Andrew made me feel very comfortable and settled my nerves at begin photographed. Andrew and Mandy were lovely. They had captured particular photos we had requested and more. They were so friendly and created a very professional and well-produced package, without being intrusive. I would definitely recommend future brides to meet Andrew and Mandy – I cannot thank them enough.

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My two daughters and I had small hand held bouquets, which consisted of my favourite flowers tulips and roses. My friend Tracy arranged our flowers for us along with the corsages and buttonholes. Our daughters carried a sign each, one saying ‘Here comes Mammy’ and the other saying ‘Last chance to run Daddy’.

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Our top table had an ivory ‘Mr & Mrs’ sign, with a small tea light candles in diamond cut glass holders and a bowl with other floating candles. The guest table centre pieces were ivory jewelled candle holders with diamonds scattered across the table. On the fireplaces we also had bowls with floating candles. In the evening we had a wedding wish tree, along with paper lanterns and large pink and ivory balloons.

The favours were lucky sixpences, which were personalised to each guest in a small wallet with ‘John & Cheryl’ written on, alongside our wedding date.

Our cake was pink and ivory with four tiers – the top tier was carrot cake, the second sponge cake and the two bottom tiers were fruit cake. It was delicious! It was made by Michelle who owns Michelle’s Cakes shop, situated in a wedding store called A Bit of a Do in Hartlepool. I often messaged Michelle with different pictures of cakes and constantly asked questions but nothing was ever too much trouble.

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For entertainment we had a disco which was provided by Rushpool Hall and the resident DJ, who was very good played all requests – we opted for a lot of 80s music. Our photographer provided a freestanding photo booth, which at the time was part of a special promotion. There were lots of props and guests were provided with a copy of their photo moment! I have to add that Andrew and Mandy were very patient as by this time everyone at the wedding party had, had quite a bit to drink – and shall we say, in very good spirits! We also had a caricaturist during the day to entertain our guests.

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Other great suppliers we used included Elaine Butler, who designed our wedding invites along with our guest place cards, table plan, sweet jar labels, and table numbers. Made At Home made our lovely sign, which I placed next to our cake which said ‘& they lived happily ever after’, along with beautiful handmade wishing dandelions for our daughters. Heart Shaped Home made lovely framed verses which we gave to our parents as gifts and also the signs that Millie and Ellie carried. Angela Leonard from Unique Styles in Hartlepool did my hair and Deborah Campbell did my make-up. Deborah and I have been friends since we were young and she offered to do my make-up as she knew I would be panicking about it. When she mentioned eye lashes I was panic stricken, however I was gently persuaded and loved them!

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We would certainly recommend our venue to others. Rushpool Hall is a perfect romantic setting, with beautiful grounds and an open staircase along with log fires. The team at Rushpool Hall were fantastic and very friendly, nothing was too much trouble and I must not fail to mention to Kerri who assisted us in the run up to the wedding and on our actual day, thank you.

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Our favourite part of the day had to be spending it with our family and friends, most of all our two beautiful daughters Millie and Ellie. I also think remembering those people that couldn’t be there to share our special day, in particular my Granddad Tommy, and John’s Granddad Bobby, was a special moment.

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For our honeymoon we went to the Grand Sirenis, Mayan Beach Hotel in Mexico, Riviera Maya. We were lucky enough that our family looked after our daughters for a week while we went away. We had an amazing week, with sunny skies and plenty of strawberry daiquiris. We spent days floating round the lazy river but our most enjoyable moment was swimming with dolphins, something that I had always wanted to do!

My top tips to other Brides Up North is – enjoy every moment and try to make a little time to take it all in! Don’t let the day pass you by and try not to be too nervous.

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