December 30th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Merry Christmas! Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break for the festive season, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely.
Usual service will recommence on Monday 5th January 2015 (with some big news!) but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year. Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks for 2014.
Today’s real wedding at the amazing Castle Howard near York is all kinds of beautiful. Elegant and classic, with unexpected touches and an overarching feeling of full on luxury, this is my kind of a wedding day.
Twinkling candles, layers of scent, stunning blooms and a black tie theme. Sensational.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Ally Byrom Photography.
laura says: We got engaged in Barbados two years ago. We were on holiday and Daniel suggested we went to the Sandy Lane beach for the day, a beautiful pristine beach attached to the well known hotel. We were walking along the shore when Daniel got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
We got married on 21st June 2014. We knew we wanted an early summer wedding.
We got married at Castle Howard. If you have ever been there you will know how stunning it is. We had also been there the previous year to race in a triathlon. The views during the drinks reception and on arrival at Castle Howard are lovely.
We had black tie dress code but we didn’t have any special theme. I don’t think you really need to add anything else to Castle Howard, otherwise it might detract from the beautiful venue. We had matte silver colour scheme. We went through endless bridesmaid dress colour swatches before we settled on matte silver! We think it looked chic and elegant on my gorgeous bridesmaids.
I had an Enzoani dress. It had an elegant racer back with some delicate thin lace detail on the neck line and back, fitted to just below my hips and then straight down with a train; and in white of course!
My hairdresser was incredible. Carrie at Urban Hair in Boroughbridge managed to create the exact style I wanted and was so nice and relaxed on the day. I highly recommend her.
My hair accessories were from Flo and Percy, they had a great selection and made each accessory to order. I also got miniature versions of my headpiece for my bridesmaids to wear.
My shoes were from Harriet Wilde, she had a sophisticated, elegant selection of styles. I am quite fussy on shoes but Harriet came to meet me at her London shop to help me choose the right ones.
Daniel wore a Moss Bros dinner suit with a white waistcoat and white cravat.
The bridesmaids wore JLM Couture dresses in matte silver with each of the five bridesmaids in different style dresses. They each chose their own style from a shortlist I gave to them. All the dresses were floor length and fitted with a black beaded waist belt and beige court shoes.
Ally Byrom was my photographer. She did an amazing job! We were very relaxed having our couples shots and she captured the moment perfectly without other guests even realising they were being snapped! I would highly recommend Ally!
Kymm Queen was our florist, I carried some beautifully scented, white peonies and white roses with freesia and lavender hidden around the base (because I love the smell of lavender but didn’t want the colour on display!).
We had white peonies, white roses, lilac freesias and lavender in the centre of the candelabras. We had dried rose petals scattered on the wedding breakfast tables too.
Kirsty Guest at Piece of Cake Harrogate made our impressive four tier (Baileys, Limoncello, Fruit and Chocolate and Guinness) cake with intricate lace design (to match my dress) and little bikes around the base (to keep the husband happy). We also had real flowers between two of the layers.
We had Sloe Gin miniature bottles with personalised ‘Laura and Dan’ stamped labels that we made ourselves. We also filled the miniature bottles ourselves, which was a messy job, but we had plenty of volunteers to help us!
We supplied our own individual types of beers from the countries we had visited together over the last 8 years and had fun little additions with a pick and mix table and giant chocolate letters that spelt out our names.
Our singer Tommy Ludgate (contact through www.michaelhallmusic.co.uk) was sensational and made our ceremony the highlight of the day with acoustic renditions of modern songs which we chose. We really can’t recommend her enough.
My favourite part of the day was the ceremony, but we hadn’t expected it to be. We were looking forward to drinks reception so we could relax but it was just so incredibly special, it was easily the most memorable part of the day. The atmosphere in the great hall at Castle Howard was perfect.
For our honeymoon we visited Lake Como, Tuscany and Sicily. We took our bikes and explored the lakes and Tuscany on them. We enjoyed some wine tasting and amazing meals.
We took a private helicopter trip over Mount Etna for a close up look into the crater.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be don’t get hung up on minor details, they aren’t that important, as long as you have the main things in place you will have the best day.
December 23rd, 2014 | Rachel Parry
Merry Christmas! Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break for the festive season, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely.
Usual service will recommence on Monday 5th January 2015 (with some big news!) but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year. Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks for 2014.
This bright and beautiful wedding is guaranteed to inject a big boost of colour and happiness into your day.
Creative couple Tony and Katy tied the knot in the super city of Sheffield, starting off with their ceremony in the stunning Town Hall before moving onto the nearby Workstation for a fabulous afternoon tea and evening celebrations.
To really make the day their own they included lots of vibrant decorations, quirky homemade touches and beautiful blooms, all of which was captured perfectly by their talented photographer.
With images by Photography34
katy says: We got engaged on New Year’s Day 2013. We had been to a friend’s New Year’s Eve party and Tony had taken the ring, but he couldn’t find the right moment when we were both alone. The following morning we both woke up early and Tony asked me what I was doing for the rest of my life as he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me and then produced my beautiful ring! I cried a little and then called the world.
We set the date for Saturday May 24th 2014. We wanted to get married over a Bank Holiday as we had lots of guests who would be travelling a distance so we were keen to make sure they had plenty of time to party and recover.
I think we must have viewed almost every venue in Yorkshire, but we couldn’t find anything which would allow us to create the different look and feel we were hoping for within our budget. We are both from Sheffield and love to city so when we found the Workstation which is part of the Showroom Cinema and met Mark the sales manager, it ticked all the boxes. He was so accommodating and because the venue is an exhibition centre he allowed us to dress it exactly how we wanted. We originally wanted to get married at the same place as our reception but this was not possible at the Workstation so we started to look for somewhere close by. We had walked past Sheffield Town Hall hundreds of times but had never been inside. Once we did we were blown away by how beautiful the building was, especially the fabulous staircase.
Very early on in our wedding planning I discovered Pinterest, and began pinning ideas to a mood board. We knew the venue was going to need a lot of dressing so we decided to hire someone to help with this. Jennie from Hansley Beard came highly recommended by our venue and she did a fabulous job of keeping me calm, my ideas focused and she planned the design to the finest detail, we could not have done it without her.
We knew we wanted to do things differently and we wanted the whole feel of the day to be bright, colourful, fun and homemade. We both like colour – our house is full of it. We originally found some bright material which we liked at The Range store, we used this as the basis for our colour scheme, they had paper, buttons etc all in the same collection which was great. Bright coloured ribbons and buttons then became the main theme throughout the wedding. We didn’t want a traditional wedding so decided that lots of bright colours would really help create a different atmosphere. We are so happy that we went with these colours in the end as our wedding day turned out to be raining and gloomy but the colours helped keep everyone bright and cheery!
I always knew that I wanted a fitted lace dress and I fell in love with Pippa, a Sassi Holford dress which was well over my budget. I searched the internet and to my complete amazement I found Silk Bridal in Litchfield selling a sample of this dress in my size. I would highly recommend this bridal shop – they made my wedding dress experience so memorable. Helen, the seamstress, could not do enough to help with my alterations and every time we visited the shop I was made to feel just as special as the last. My friend Serena, very kindly lent me her beautiful Jenny Packham headband for my something borrowed. I’m actually selling my dress it is currently listed on eBay and preloved. Although I will be very sad to see this dress go, it would give me great pleasure for another bride to have a chance to wear a fabulous Sassi Holford dress.
I knew that I didn’t want traditional bridesmaid dresses or anything too formal; I wanted something that they would wear again so they wore emerald green maxi dresses from Mango which were accessorised with belts from H&M. The best man wore a bright blue suit from Moss Bros and our page boy, my nephew, wore a little navy suit from Next, a homemade emerald green bow tie and some white Converse boots which he loved!
Tony’s mum’s friend made all the bouquets and button holes. I picked the flowers for these, along with the flowers for the venue, from the Parkway Flower Market in Sheffield. I had a hand-tied bouquet with bright flowers including Gerberas,Ranunculus, Gentian and Craspedia. My bridesmaids’ bouquets were similar, just a bit smaller. All the bouquets had ribbons hanging from the stems.
We both share a love for VWs, especially retro split screen camper vans and we knew that we couldn’t arrive any other way. We hired the stunning ‘Johnny’ from Something old Something New. As our venues were close together we were able to use the same van for the whole wedding party.
We were let down by a friend who was originally planning on doing our photography, very close to the wedding day. Tony at Photography34 was recommended to us and to our delight he was available on our date. Choosing Tony was the best decision we made, after getting married of course! He had a very relaxed, natural style and went above and beyond. He made us, and our guests, feel relaxed all day. Our guests noted how hard he worked on the day. Most importantly he captured all the detail, fun and laughter of the day.
When we started planning we decided that we wanted things to be as personal as possible and make as much ourselves as we could. Having ‘Brown Owl’ as my mother-in-law-to-be made this a lot easier. Jennie from Hansley Beard helped us to create our desired look with lots of help from our bridesmaids, best man and friends. We had homemade bunting, pom poms, table numbers, seating plan, card box, paper covered jars as centre pieces. We also used fairy lights to decorate the mezzanine. We had bright coloured ribbons hanging from the back of all the chairs and a ribbon drop which cascaded from the mezzanine to the dance floor. I went to the Parkway Flower Market with Jennie, other than Gerberas which are my favourite flowers I wasn’t that particular, it was mainly the colours I was looking for. We incorporated all the flowers from the bouquets as well as Golden Glory, lime green and yellow bloom Chrysanthemums. Jennie then arranged all the flowers for the venue and centre pieces, and made these look great, she truly was amazing!
Tony’s mum and I made homemade rhubarb jam for our favours. The rhubarb was home grown in Tony’s dad’s allotment.
I love baking so the wedding cake was very important. We had a four-tiered cake covered with bright coloured hearts. The actual cake was striped coloured Victoria sponge with butter cream and made by Gemma at Iced Gems. We had two wooden birds with matching hearts as cake toppers which we got from Etsy.
We didn’t want to have a formal three-course wedding meal so we decided to have afternoon tea with prosecco for our wedding breakfast. In the evening we had pie and peas with plenty of Henderson’s relish!
The entertainment was really important to us, we wanted a big party with all our friends and family, and I love to dance. For our ceremony we had a friend, Rebecca Guy sing and play her guitar. As a wedding present my parents got Paul Pashley, Sheffield’s answer to Michael Bublé, to sing at our evening reception. Not only does he have an amazing voice, he was a little bit of eye candy for the ladies. We then had a DJ who played us into the early hours.
We did include quite a few special touches in our big day. Tony’s mum made a very cute ring cushion for Reuben, our page boy, in the same material as the bunting and sewed buttons all over it, he was very proud of his special job.
We hired some beautiful vintage crockery from Jameson’s Tearoom for the afternoon tea, and one of the highlights was their teacup glasses which we served the prosecco in.
We chose big illuminated ‘LOVE’ letters from Typical Type as a backdrop to our dance floor, and our homemade photo booth and they were the talk of all our guests. Once we had decided on the letters it helped us decide on our first dance – L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole sang by Paul Pashley.
We both share a love of sweets, so a sweet table was a must. We brought in our theme by laying the table with ribbons, we used the same paper we had used for the centre pieces for the sweet labels and homemade pin wheels, and then had bright coloured paper fans as the backdrop to the table.
I found a finger print poster tree from Etsy which was a wonderful alternative to a guest book. Our guests added their fingerprints as ‘leaves’ to the tree and wrote their names. We now have this framed and it acts as a daily reminder of our special day and the guests we shared it with.
My favourite part of the wedding day came at the end of our first dance. Jennie, who had helped us to design our wedding day, had arranged with our guests to drop all the off cuts from the ribbons from the mezzanine above the dance floor. This was a total surprise and the only thing throughout the day which we had not planned for. This was an amazing moment which Tony, our photographer, captured perfectly and we have used one of these images for our thank you cards.
We went on honeymoon two days after or wedding; we spent two days is Dubai and eight in the Maldives. Dubai was very hot and we packed in a lot within the two days; tours of the city and a dessert safari. Then the Maldives, which was absolute paradise, was the total opposite to Dubai, quiet and relaxing, which was exactly what we needed after the wedding.
My advice to other Brides Up North would be to do what makes you happy and have the day that you want, not what others expect of you. That is so important. You want to look back on your day and know that you had it exactly how you wanted it. It doesn’t matter if this doesn’t follow traditions or you think people won’t like your ideas, as long as you do, that’s all that matters. Tony’s advice would be at some point during the wedding breakfast, to go around each table and speak with your guests and thank them for coming, as it’s a very busy day and you don’t get chance to spend very much time with anyone. Our collective advice is to make sure you both take time together to have a few moments to take everything in as the day will go past so fast.
It rained for the most of our day, but like Louis Armstrong sang, we didn’t care what the weather man said, when the weatherman said it was raining as you didn’t hear us or anyone else complaining!
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December 3rd, 2014 | Julia Braime
I’ve been at home all week with a poorly little one, and the cabin fever is starting to set in. So what better way to cure the Calpol blues than this bright and beautiful beachy wedding from scuba lovers Esther and Ben?
Whilst we hole up on the sofa and recover, I’ll let you get stuck into this fresh and fabulous celebration, with images by Brides Up North Sponsor James Tracey Photography, and more than a few lovely personal details.
Let’s hit the surf…
esther says: We got engaged in September last year. We were visiting our scuba diving friends in Vietnam, Kerry and Eugene. Ben had arranged for Eugene to take us for a dive one morning, and after about 40 minutes we were coming to the end of the dive. Just before I thought the dive was about to end Eugene disappeared around a large rock as Ben and I followed I looked up to see Kerry, Eugene and a photographer staring at us. As I looked down ‘Marry Me?’ was written in shells in the sand, Ben got down on one knee and pulled out a ring.
We got married on 18th August 2014 at Newton Hall in Northumberland. We chose to have a seaside theme as Ben and myself met as scuba diving instructors in Mexico and love the sea.
We originally looked at the venue because it was near sea. As we drove up the grounds looked stunning, inside the rooms were quirky and had a shabby chic feel, which fit our theme and personalities. As we walked into the ceremony room I could imagine us getting married there. It was the first and last venue we looked at.
I chose a v-neck ivory fit and flare dress with black embellishment from Rosina Brown Bridal Boutique in Stocksfield. I never imagined wearing a dress with black on it but as soon as I put it on I knew it was the right dress. It was so flattering on me and unique that I knew it was perfect. I’m so glad I picked a dress from Rosina’s, she was amazingly helpful and professional and she seemed to know what I would like even before I did.
Ben wore a black suit with an ivory waist coat and cravat from Moss Bros. My mum made all the guys blue pocket squares and shell buttonholes to match the girl’s dresses. The bridesmaids’ dresses we bought online from Etsy.
James Tracey, our photographer, was wonderful. He made us feel at ease, he got on fantastically with all our guests and he wasn’t at all intrusive. In fact, we hardly noticeable on the day. James did exactly what we asked and more, we didn’t want many posed pictures, instead James really captured the emotion and overall feeling of our wedding and our pictures ended up looking stunning. We couldn’t have asked for more.
I carried a bouquet that my mum made from silk flowers and brooches. Most of the brooches were given to us by family members and family friends. On the tables, we had blue and white sweet peas, which my granddad grew in his allotment.
Ben’s mum Jenny made beautiful drift wood signs and collages to decorate the venue. My family made all of our decorations and centrepieces.
My mum made a three-tiered chocolate truffle cake with white chocolate icing, which her and my aunt Sue decorated with edible shells. She even made a starfish bride and groom as toppers!
During our wedding ceremony we had a sand ceremony, which fit our theme and added our own unique twist to the ceremony.
I think the moment where I was standing at the end of the aisle, my bridesmaids had gone down the aisle the music was playing and I looked up for the first time to see Ben at the end. We made eye contact and he smiled at me and his eyes started to water.
We went on a little mini-moon for a few days to the lake district but we haven’t been on a big honeymoon yet. We are saving so we can go to the Galapagos with our friends Kerry and Eugene, which is our dream.
My top tip for other other Brides Up North would be to enjoy every second because the day flies by.
November 13th, 2014 | Julia Braime
We’re starting the day off brightly as we commence the downhill to the weekend, with Jennie and Jon’s fabulous fuchsia wedding day in glorious Yorkshire.
Following the cutest proposal ever (read on!), beautiful bride Jennie combined traditional romance with bold brights and fun extras for a memorable and show stopping celebration.
And here at Brides Up North, we love her choice of accent colour… funny, that.
With images by John Hope Photography.
Jennie says: We got married on 27 March 2013, I was full of cold and feeling disgusting, Jon planned date night, a romantic candlelit meal in our home, with Emeli Sande playing in the background, to “cheer me up”. Jon took me upstairs where there were two wrapped up presents on the bed, I opened the first one and it was a cuddly elephant, the second was a box of fireworks, then Jon switched off the light and written on the ceiling in glow in the dark stars were the words “Marry me?”. He had remembered years earlier that I had said if he was to propose I’d want it to be like the end of the film Annie – complete with elephants and fireworks! Jon said it was pretty difficult to get real elephants to come to our back garden in suburban Leeds in March.
We celebrated by letting off the fireworks whilst we sipped cocktails and excitedly rang round family and friends to share the news!
We were married on 31 May 2014, we were working around my studies for my Postgrad degree and the school holidays for Jon’s daughter, Alicia, our beautiful bridesmaid. This was the first feasible date that we could do it, it seemed so far away when we set it but it really creeps up on you!
We got married in a Catholic Church as this is Jon’s family’s faith, St Edward’s King and Confessor in a small village called Clifton. I knew I wanted a church that was picturesque and this one certainly delivered, I felt like we were in a movie.
Wood Hall was the reception venue, picked for the stunning views and amount of open space for the children to run around outside and for the drunken guests to stagger around!
I picked fuchsia pink as it’s one of my favourite colours; I knew I wanted a bold colour rather than a more traditional pastel. I particularly liked the contrast between the white and the pink which shows really well on the photos.
My Dad was in charge of the car, he picked a navy Bentley to travel in style. It was totally his choice, he paid, despite admitting it was the most expensive taxi ride of his life!
I tried on hundreds of dresses, which I would thoroughly recommend; it’s a great day out! I bought a strapless gown with sweetheart neckline and full skirt. It is an ivory lace dress called Greta from The Bridal Lounge of York.
I had tried on mainly slim fitting style dresses as that is what I thought I wanted, but the full skirt on this one was so much fun to swish round in that I came skipping out of the changing room, decision made!
We hired a suit for Jon, from our local Moss Bros. Jon wanted one that fitted well and was nicely tailored and I managed to persuade him that tweed was a bad idea. We hired the same suits for the Best man and Ushers, with the only difference being that Jon had a pink pocket handkerchief and they had a silver one.
I had one adult bridesmaid, my sister, she had recently had baby number two, so we took a bit of a gamble and ordered a dress online that we hoped would be too big and then had it fitted nearer the day to take some of the pressure off her. She looked amazing!
My favourite part of the day was definitely walking down the aisle! I was so nervous beforehand, I’d been worrying about the walk for months, concerned I would be too emotional to enjoy it, but the second I got to the church and I saw all the guests, I felt fine and I really enjoyed the walk down and took everything in.
John Hope was our photographer, we picked him after our first meeting as we both felt very comfortable with him, we thought this was important as he would be a large part of our day. We did a pre-wedding shoot which was incredibly useful for us to get used to each other and for me and Jon to relax in front of the camera (turns out Jon’s lifetime of posing came in handy!)
I would thoroughly recommend John as a photographer, he arrived at the crack of dawn and left late in the evening, he didn’t stop all day and we are incredibly grateful for the beautiful shots he took (we don’t look that good in real life!) My overwhelming memory of him on the day was helping me to take the tags off the flower girls dresses with his teeth as we realised we had no scissors in the room and they needed to leave for the church – above and beyond!
I had cerise gerberas and they were provided by a wonderful florist called Angie Walker. I asked for them to be simple and bold, which is exactly what she delivered, the bridesmaids carried smaller versions of my bouquet.
We stuck with the same flowers for all my arrangements, knowing very little about flowers and how to arrange them we were very happy to let the florist guide us. We asked for smaller arrangements on the tables as we wanted them to add to the beauty of the room and not detract from the guests on the tables trying to talk across them.
The favours were chocolates that tied in with the table names. We chose not to have place names but to use old/embarrassing photos of the guests in their places. This was a lot of work to take on before the wedding but definitely worth it for the reactions and the laughs it brought!
My Dad made the wedding cake, he baked a traditional fruit cake pretty soon after we got engaged and kept topping it up with alcohol to keep moist until the big day. Or at least that was the excuse he used to keep buying brandy!
We hired a singer called Jade, who learnt especially for the Wedding Angry Anderson’s ‘Suddenly’. There were plenty of Kylie and Jason references throughout the day, if only Jon looked a little more like a Donovan…
We hired a magician/pick pocket called Magic Matt who was brilliant and had the guests in stitches; we wanted some light relief whilst the room was turned around for the evening do. This was mainly for our Dad’s but everyone got in on it. He even managed to control the friends table who started the drinking games from 4pm. Not sure doubling up as a babysitter came as part of the package but he was delighted to help out!
Then we hired a chocolate fountain and a photo booth through The Amazing Company, we didn’t get to try the chocolate fountain but we have been assured it was very good and the photo booth book was one of my favourite things. We know it’s a standard “wedding” thing to do but it’s really funny to see people deteriorate over the course of the evening do and have it all in recorded forever!
We made a family tree, full of photos of Grandparents, parents, through to us and the generation below. We wanted to physically show the two families coming together to make our marriage and also include Grandparents who were no longer with us.
Jon’s daughter who was six had written messages and drawn pictures for the guests to thank them for their attendance; these were included by the guest book and enabled her to feel part of the day, so much so, Alicia told everyone it was her wedding too.
We had a DVD of the day made, I would definitely recommend it. It was so exciting to receive and you live back bits of the day that you forgot or missed as it passes so quickly – plus you can see what your friends get up to after a few drinks! We used Picture House Wedding Films who did a great job.
Our wedding planner has since won an award for her role at Wood Hall. They took all the stress and planning of the day out of our hands and put up with our weird and wonderful requests!
The venue is just stunning as are the rooms; the staff were really friendly and went over and above to help us.
We had an amazing honeymoon, we flew to LA and hired a mustang convertible and drove up the coast to San Francisco, where we stayed for a few days before driving down to Vegas, through Yosemite Park, Death Valley etc, stayed there for a few days before heading back to LA and Orange County to see how the rich and famous live. It’s something we could get used to; we just need Jon to start working a little harder so we can afford the lifestyle!
We knew very early on that we would marry in a Catholic Church as that was important to Jon’s family; the hard part is that I was never baptised! This meant that we had to seek permission from the Bishop and this was a long time coming, so my top tip for other Brides Up North is to bear this in mind if you are in a similar situation, it took some chasing and gave us and the parents some hairy moments.
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October 22nd, 2014 | Julia Braime
Today’s real wedding is something special. A little bit wild, a teeny bit untamed, but altogether natural and entirely beautiful.
I’m completely in love with Kate and Mike’s happy go lucky approach to planning their gorgeous big day and the oh so pretty result.
With images by Chris Parkinson Photography.
Kate says: We got engaged on a bench at Kew Gardens on October 18th. We were living in London at the time and it was raining on the day, so I was pretty sceptical about a picnic at Kew – especially as Newcastle United were on TV. But Mike convinced me the rain didn’t matter so we headed out with a rucksack. Mid afternoon we picked a bench for our picnic and Mike knelt down in the wet grass with a beautiful ring – 2 rings intertwined with 22 diamonds, I have a bit of an obsession with even numbers! I’m sure he never doubted that I’d say yes.
We got married on 8th August 2014 at St Philip and St James Church in Witton-le-wear. I have lived there since I was a little girl, so it was really important to me that we were married at that church. The morning we got married the village green was lined with people waving and wishing us well!
Because we got married in the village church the ceremony was filled with special touches, a poem my mum wrote and a reading from Mike’s father, and my next door neighbour rang the church bells. Olive and John opened the Dun Cow, our local pub, for all our friends to gather before the service.
The reception was at Lumley Castle in Chester-le-Street. We booked the venue without ever having seen it, as we were living in London at the time. We sent our Mums along to check it out and trusted their judgement completely. It was great seeing the castle for the first time knowing that was where we would be having our reception, as we got to experience it through the eyes of our guests.
We never planned on having a theme and were just picking stuff we liked. Then at the church the vicar gave a sermon and commented upon the proposal at Kew Gardens, the wild flowers, hand dried confetti and floral illustrations on the order of service, and at that point we realised that maybe there had been a theme without us realising. The whole day had a bit of a pagan feel to it, from the flowers and dress to the centrepieces and castle.
There was a lot of green and pink in our colour scheme with the combinations of wild and botanical flowers, but that happened by accident.
Mu dress was from Happily Ever After in Darlington. It was the third one I tried on. I just felt really comfortable in it and I wanted something that didn’t cover my tattoo. I’ve always loved flowers and wear them in my hair all summer, so the floral detail at the waist band was what attracted me to the dress.
My bouquet was from Eliza Blooms in Darlington. She was just fantastic and really understood the natural, unstructured look I wanted. Daisies and pink peonies were the main flowers, with lots of greenery.
Mike wore a traditional suit from Moss Bros, with a sage green pocket scarf and cravat. He looked hot!
The bridesmaid’s also wore dresses from Happily Ever After. The girls loved the mesh detail at the neckline and the flared layers. The groomsmen also wore suits from Moss Bros, but they ditched the cravat and waistcoat for the evening!
We travelled in a vintage Rolls Royce, which was hired from Elite Cars in Etherley. The driver was actually my dad’s mechanic and he was great! He had a constant stream of polos and jokes to keep up relaxed.
We arranged a vintage bus to take our guests from the church to Lumley castle, which we booked by making a donation to the North East Bus Preservation Trust. It was a beautiful bus and we bought a crate of mini prosecco for our guests to drink on the journey!
Chris Parkinson was our photographer. He lives in the village and was recommended by a friend. I love his photographs, they are really different and very artistic. I am quite creative so it was great to meet someone who I knew would do something original. The photographs are so lovely and so unique, it really feels like he captured the essence of the day.
My mum and I picked the flowers for the church the morning before in a wild meadow near our village. It’s a memory I will never forget: of me and my mum amongst a field of wild flowers, grasses and hundreds of butterflies. My mum’s friends brought flowers from their gardens to decorate the church. The pew ends were made of poppies, corn flowers and ferns and then the arrangements consisted of daisies, cow parsley and dried grasses.
Mike and I made the woodland centerpieces ourselves. We went to the beach with Mike’s father and his wife to collect driftwood, then arranged these amongst ferns, succulents, birds nests, orchids and moss. We wanted the centrepieces to look like they had just been lifted from the forest floor.
My mum and dad made all of the confetti. It was lovingly hand dried petal by petal. It was stunning when everyone threw the confetti – 20 seconds that had taken 9 months of preparation!
We didn’t have favours – we bought everyone an extra glass of wine!
The cake was from Marks & Spencer – a beautiful surprise from my mum!
We would definitely recommend Lumley Castle. It was so well organised and that’s exactly what we wanted planning a wedding from London. Our wedding coordinators were lovely and really understood what elements of the day were important to us.
We loved the ceremony, it was just so special to have it in the village church. We both thought we’d be such a mess and wouldn’t be able to stop crying, but we just smiled and laughed our way through.
The first dance was also pretty special. We chose ‘She Bangs The Drums’ by the Stone Roses. About a minute into the song we realised we couldn’t get away with swaying along to the music so all our friends joined in. After seeing the Stone Roses live with our friends a couple of years ago it felt extra special to relive the moment.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to smile and don’t get hung up on the small stuff, it really doesn’t matter. Spend as much time together as possible on the day and if it doesn’t go as according to plan laugh if off!
October 6th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I really, really don’t want to jinx it, but I honestly think this might be the best Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibition season yet.
I’m recharging (and still on a high!) today after my fourth weekend (a double bill in Leeds and Northumberland this time) at the helm of some very lovely, very busy events indeed, and taking a breather having reached the half way point for autumn 2014.
It was another record attendance all round yesterday and I’d really love to see you at our remaining shows this season – we’re back in action this very weekend at both Middleton Lodge and Allerton Castle – so click here for the full line up.
But for now. it’s back to the online gorgeous, as we join Natalie and Anthony for their pretty & pink wedding at Bartle Hall in Preston.
I love my job.
Images by Samantha Broadley Photography
Natalie says: We got engaged on my 21st birthday at a meal with all our family. After we had eaten, Anthony got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was completely shocked and didnt have a clue. All our family knew before the meal and my Mum even helped him pick out the ring.
We were married on Saturday 31st May 2014 at Bartle Hall, Preston.
We went looking around a few venues but eventually choose Bartle Hall. The grounds are beautiful and the staff were very welcoming and helpful. Most importantly the venue had accommodation so our family could stay over, that played a big part in helping us decide.
I’ve always wanted to use pink for my wedding, which Anthony wasn’t too keen on! I wanted my venue dressing to be all about the flowers and I wanted them to make the room. We used Flower Design from Blackpool who did an amazing job and created the exact look that I wanted, using lots of blousy peonies.
My bridesmaids had tried lots of different styles of dresses on but I was looking for something that was a little bit different. I wanted them to stand out from the other guests and I found with the typical maxi style dresses they could of easily of been mistaken for guests. I chose a shorter design of dress as the wedding was in a summer months and to show off their shoes. I was really pleased with how the dresses looked on the day and all the girls said they were really comfortable to wear throughout the day, even after a three course meal. They were from Lottie’s Bridal Boutique.
The flower girls’ dresses were from BHS and great value for money.
For the boys, we needed twelve suits in total so we decided to hire them for the day. We went to a few places looking but finally decided on Moss Bros. Their suits looked smart and not worn, unlike others we’d seen previously. They were great at organising fittings for twelve people and made the collection and return process so easy.
Our photographer was Samantha Broadley. Sam made us feel so comfortable throughout the day and half of the time I never knew she was there! After getting the pictures back we are so,so pleased with how they turned out and they really captured the whole day from start to finish. Sam made us a snapshot DVD of images which she set to music of our choice, this was so well done and even brought Anthony to tears. Everyone has commented on how lovely her photos are and my brother-in-law has even booked her for his wedding next year!
We had a mixture of high and low table centre pieces for our reception. As the high centre pieces were so big we had to be careful that they didnt overface the room. Flower Design perfectly placed the high centre pieces to create maximum effect when walking into the room. I also had the whole length of my top table draped in flowers, it looked amazing and so effective.
We chose a simple white cake as we used flowers to decorate it. The cake was four tiers with spacers in between for the flowers which gave it extra height. Two layers were chocolate and two sponge, by The Cake Lady, Blackpool.
We decided on a last minute honeymoon which we booked after the wedding, and went to the Sensatori Hotel in Crete.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to do what makes you both happy and what you want to do, not what pleases other people.
June 3rd, 2014 | Julia Braime
This morning I’ve done something that when gave up the corporate rat race to be come a full time wedding blogger (you can read my story here) I thought that I would do all the time, but in the reality of deadlines, features schedules, event planning and all the time consuming minutiae of running a busy small business – never do. Ladies, I’ve done a Carrie Bradshaw (albeit in Kurt Geiger rather than Manolo Blahnik) and decamped from Brides Up North HQ to my local coffee hot spot.
Sometimes you have to shake off the four walls of normality and mix things up a little to refuel your creativity. Writers block? What writers block (a homemade raspberry muffin and a vat of coffee later)?!
Inevitably, with change comes challenge, and a challenging Wi-Fi connection means that today’s Real Wedding feature comes to you a little later than planned, but (like the raspberry muffin!) the wait was totally worth it.
Clare and Philip’s wedding is contemporary (whilst still remaining a classic), stylish and cool, and any bride who nips out of her own reception for a quick drink with her girls gets serious kudos from me…
Images by Samuel Docker.
Clare says: We got engaged on Christmas Eve 2009. It was a complete surprise. Our tradition is to go for a meal on Christmas Eve before going out and that year Phil told me to drive to The Hilton in Sheffield. When we got there he had booked a room, he said he thought it would be different. In the room were candles and my Christmas presents. He then told me to close my eyes and he put a t shirt on me over my dress. I thought it was a band t shirt and my gift was tickets to a gig. He took me to the mirror and he’d drawn a design on the t shirt which read the right way to me and it said “I love you with all my heart will you marry me?” He was then next to me with a gorgeous ring.
I obviously said yes and was thrilled to bits!
We were married on 31st August 2013 at Sheffield City Hall.
Phil actually found the venue, he liked it because of the detail of the building and the grandeur feeling inside. He had also played there a few years before so had a personal meaning to him.
When I was looking at the website for the City Hall I noticed that there was a competition to win the venue for your wedding, so I entered never expecting to win and I did!
I didn’t mention that I’d entered to Phil because I thought it would be a nice surprise if i did win but probably wouldn’t so wasn’t worth getting our hopes up. Well a letter arrived in the post and I had only gone and won the venue of our wedding! We were ecstatic and the Sheffield City Hall were brilliant throughout and really on board with what we wanted to do.
We didn’t need to travel far on the day, my Dad drove me to the City Hall where I spent the morning getting ready with my bridesmaids and Mum. Phil got ready at the Leopold Hotel just a two minute walk from the City Hall so he and his best man walked there!
The theme of our day was soft, elegant and simple and we wanted guests to have a very romantic feel to the day with lots of candlelight. The evening reception theme was a surprise to everyone, only ourselves and parents knew about it: “Wedstock”.
Creams and whites were the main colours to give a soft romantic feel. The spindle back chairs were brushed vintage white and most of the table details were cream and white with pearl detail. The bridesmaids wore navy and the groom and groomsmen wore navy ties with grey suits.
I’m not a fussy dress kind of person so I wanted something elegant and simple. My dress was from Blissful Daze in Sheffield, it was one of the first bridal shops we tried and originally I picked the dress up because of the detail on the shoulders but that was all, but once it was on it felt perfect. It’s by Ellis Bridals. It has jewel embellishment on the hip and shoulders, a cowl back and button detail down the back.
I wore peep toe heels with a jewelled detail. I’m fairly tall for a girl but definitely wanted heels for the big day which was fine when I stood next to Phil but my poor Dad looks a little short!
We searched for some time for jewellery as I wanted understated jewellery but something that went with the detail on the dress. By chance we found the bracelet, earrings and hair piece in Debenhams and they went so well with the dress we immediately stopped looking for anything else.
I also carried with me a sixpence that my Grandad gave to me before the wedding, he said my Nanan had been saving it for my wedding day but sadly she is no longer with us so it was important to have that with me. The freesia flowers were also a symbol of my Nanan as they were one of her favourite flowers.
Philip wore a Ted Baker suit. He was very picky and his suit took longer to pick than my dress!
I carried cream and white roses, veronicas, eustomia, white freesia and gypsophila by Janice Johnson Vintage Floral Design.
Samuel Docker was our photographer – a great photographer and a genuinely nice man!
Phil is a big metal music fan and we both love festivals so we wanted to inject some of our personality and fun to the day. Everyone was in the bar area and when the ballroom was opened for the evening reception, staff handed out lanyards similar to those at a festival complete with map and set list. In the ballroom was a gazebo Photo Booth, a signing tent with artificial grass, vinyls to sign along with guest book, there was a tattoo inspired sweet table made by Phil’s parents, a guitar case displayed for cards and gifts and tents dotted around for people to go in, there was also a chill out area called the rescue room with lanterns where the evening buffet was served.
Unexpectedly to the crowd a band called Our Friends Electric then took to the stage. The band had Phil’s friends in it who have gigged a few times together and he was on lead guitar. They played cover tracks old and new and everyone was dancing and having a good time. By this time sunglasses were everywhere and we threw glow sticks into the crowd so it had a real festival feel. This was really special as Phil’s grandparents had never seen him play live before so was a really nice moment.
I’d been hearing Phil practice for weeks in the spare room and knew most of the songs but it was a lovely surprise when he got down from the stage to dance with me as the band played “My Girl”, me in my dress and Phil in his black flag t shirt!
I always said I wanted my mum to make my wedding cake. As I’ve grown up I’ve really enjoyed baking cupcakes, so me and my Mum made the cake two days before the wedding. It sounds stressful but it was a really nice to take some time out doing something we both enjoy together.
The cake was six tiers of cream topped cupcakes with brushed pearls and glitter on top with a fruit cake top tier made by my mum. We wanted something simple but elegant.
I think the whole evening reception was one big special touch for us, because we and our parents had made everything it felt extra special. We were excited that our family and friends had no idea about it and that the response to it was overwhelming,everyone loved it.
During the day the small touches made all the difference like the music sheet confetti cones we gave out, rose petals on the aisle, having our favourite film scores playing at the wedding breakfast, walking down the aisle to the instrumental ‘Inhale’ by Killswitch Engage: one of Phil’s favourite bands.
Other highlights include confetti cannons going off as we danced with our friends for the second dance and my brother’s poem reading during the ceremony.
The most random but also fun part of the day was when myself and the bridesmaids left the wedding for about 20 minutes in the evening for a cheeky shot. I’d joked to my friend before that it would be funny to leave the wedding and nip up busy Division Street to have a cheeky drink at The Frog & Parrot one of our go to places. Well she made this happen! Very random and very funny as we sat in a booth for a quick one with people gazing with puzzled faces and then ran back to the City Hall without too many people noticing. That’s why I love my friends!
The honeymoon was a complete surprise to me. On the morning of the wedding Phil had delivered a rucksack with a letter explaining the bag contained clues of our honeymoon destination. This included flip flops, sun cream, a Mickey Mouse top, a french baguette plus much more.
During the speeches Phil had four of my bridesmaids stand up and announce where we were going. We went to London, Paris and Disneyland and then onto Ibiza. It was pretty jam packed but the perfect honeymoon for us.
Someone told me to take a few moments to yourself throughout the day at different times just to take in what’s happening. I definitely did this, just a pause here and there and it really helps you absorb it all and gives you an extra smile. But my biggest tip for other Brides Up North is to enjoy it, we obviously both felt nervous before the big day but that was mainly because of the evening plans not the actual marriage. On the morning of the day all my tummy flutters disappeared and I just couldn’t stop smiling all day
Congratulations Clare & Philip!
This is not a sponsored post
April 14th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Following the fashion frenzy of the last week (dahlings!), I think it’s about time we got back to basics here at Brides Up North. It’s what we do best – Real Weddings from real Brides Up North and their talented local suppliers. Real, regional and really, really gorgeous. I jolly well hope you’re thinking local for your big day!
This afternoon’s wedding was sent to us by real bride Kirsty and Brides Up North Featured Supplier James Jebson and has all the elements of the best of big days – tons of sparkle, big blooms and lots of laughs.
Kirsty says: We got engaged in October 2012 at Mottram Hall and were married on 14th December 2013 at St Anne’s Church in Woodplumpton by our fabulous village vicar Revd. Brian Whitley, followed by a reception at Beeston Manor in Houghton.
We chose our venue as it just felt very ‘us’. With its countryside setting and manor house feel, Beeston Manor is beautiful. Furthermore the venue was completely private and meant we just shared our day with our family & our guests.
I chose a Mori Lee wedding dress with lace and diamante detail from Dan Kerr Brides. It was a really sparkly dress and I loved it from the moment I put it on. All my jewellery, accessories and my shoes were from Lottie’s Bridal Boutique in Lytham.
Our bridesmaids wore gold dresses by Ronald Joyce, again from Dan Kerr Brides. Wayne and the ushers all wore grey suits, ivory waistcoats and ties to match the girls’ dresses from Moss Bros, and the Mother of the Bride and page boys were dressed by Lottie’s Bridal Boutique – along with the bridesmaids’ fur shrugs.
We travelled in a Range Rovers on the day all dressed by our florist Margaret Mason with ivory ribbons – they looked fantastic.
My bouquet was made of mini Calla Lilies and had diamonds amongst the flowers. It was simply stunning
James Jebson, our photographer, was simply sensational on our wedding day. His attention to detail, his professionalism, & his incredibly infectious personality, accompanied with his awesome photography put him in another league. In the words of my new husband James is ”simply a different kind of gravy” and his photography service was extra special from start to finish.
We were over the moon with our wedding pictures as they capture the best day of our lives from every angle. James didn’t miss a thing and even caught images of moments we had missed! We have the most wonderful memories of our wedding and I cannot stress how important a good photographer is. When your wedding is over your photos are the one thing you have left and I cannot thank James enough for our amazing images. He is simply fabulous!
March 10th, 2014 | Julia Braime
So Brides Up North… fancy another beautiful Real Wedding this Monday afternoon? Why ever not!
In today’s second instalment, we’re sticking in the North West for Hannah & Adam’s glorious day at Styal Lodge. Their celebration was full of sparkly touches, lovely lace, Gatsby inspired details, bright florals, big kisses and special designer additions. Just the way we like ‘em.
With images by Susanna Modic.
Hannah says: We got engaged on holiday in Nepal in November 2012 visiting friends. We had just completed a gruelling four day trek in the Himalayas and were relaxing in Pokhara – we took a tiny boat out onto the lake in Pokhara and in the middle of the lake, with no one around, surrounded by the Himalayan mountains Adam pulled out his Grandma’s wedding ring and asked me to marry him.
We were married at Styal Lodge in Cheshire. We were looking at venues close to home and we fell in love with Styal when we went to the open day. The wooden lodge reminded us of holidays in Scotland and it was so big, light and spacious. Plus as it was a blank canvas – we could really do whatever we want with the space. It was important that we could hold the ceremony and the reception in the same building. We had 120 guests so we needed a big space! Styal also has a bridal room which was big enough for me and my four bridesmaids (and my mum!) to get ready in before the ceremony – perfect!
We chose a colour scheme of charcoal grey and dusky pink and opted for a Gatsby theme. We were also lucky enough to have a Christmas tree as it was December but we didn’t want it to be too “Christmas party” – just a nod to the festive season! All the wedding stationery was designed by my younger brother and had a real art deco feel to it.
My dress was from (Brides Up North Featured Supplier) Love Bridal Boutique in Altrincham. Emma (the owner) is a total dream – the experience of buying my dress from Emma was exactly what I thought buying a dress would be like. She gave us brownies and coffee and champagne when I finally chose my dress.
It was quite a traditional dress – lots of lace and a little bit of bling (on the belt!) I was lucky enough to wear my grandma’s fur coat for the outside shots (it was VERY cold in December!) and this was the coat my mum wore on her wedding day so it felt extra special (my something old!) I also wore a bracelet that belonged to my great grandma. My shoes were Vivienne Westwood – my something blue with the big blue bow on them! My “new” was my wedding dress!
I carried a bouquet of dusky pink roses with dark thistles, white gyposphila and black berries by Deila’s Florist.
The groomsmen wore tails – charcoal grey with pinstripe trousers. These came from Moss Bros. We chose a pink cravat to tie in with the theme. The dresses for my bridesmaids were Jenny Packham. They were charcoal grey. I also gave them white shrugs to wear for the photos outside.
My older brother performed the ceremony (he is a chaplain) which made the service really personal and we are so thankful he was able to do that.
The table names were places we had been on holiday – including Pokhara (where we got engaged)!
I wanted to use champagne corks for name places on the tables – every cork we used came from a bottle of ‘fizz’ that we drank in the period between the engagement and the wedding – 117 of them!
Catering was by Top Table Events in Altrincham.
We chose a wedding cake made of cheese from The Cheese Hamlet in Didsbury – who were super helpful with the tasting of the cheese and supplying the correct amount of cheese! We had 1.5kg of cheese in 5 trunkles and it was dressed with fruit. Then in the evening we had a buffet with cold meats and the cheese from the cake – I had also made all the chutneys to go with the cheese. We put out bottles of port for the guests to enjoy.
We also chose to do a cookie table – I had 8 big jars filled with different cookies I had made along with help from my mum, both my sister in laws and one of my bridesmaids. The jars all had labels on them and we put a sign out so people would know what they were. I had grey and white striped bags and cookie tongs so people could take them home if they didn’t want them right then! We had bowls of bonbons and flowers and I also made a one tier fruit cake and decorated it with old jewellery and ribbon. I love baking and this was one of my favourite things!
My favourite part of the day was when my Dad had organised my friends who live out in New Zealand (the couple we had stayed with in Nepal when we got engaged) to be on Skype – it made me cry with happiness when I saw one of my oldest friends, on the other side of the world, 12 hours ahead – with a flute of fizz to say congratulations.
Also – after the ceremony, and the photos and the drinks reception when we were called into dinner (to James Brown – “I Feel Good”) and all the guests stood up clapping and cheering. It felt incredible to feel so loved by all of our friends and family.
In the evening we had “The Gobots” who were incredible. They played a whole range of covers with a really rocky/indie feel. Everyone commented on how good the band were and the dance floor was full all evening.
We flew straight to Copenhagen the day after the wedding. It was so romantic – the Tivoli gardens were all lit up and we spent lots of time walking from the galleries to the museums to the beautiful coffee shops. We were also lucky enough to get a table at Noma (currently number two in the restaurant world!) which was the perfect honeymoon venue!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be that if your photographer is taking photos of you getting ready remember to pack something to wear for those photos! You don’t want those moments to be spoilt by jogging bottoms and a vest top. I took a silk dressing gown with me!
Also, remind your groom to turn around when you walk down the aisle. I was super nervous walking down but having Adam’s face to focus on was just amazing.
Congratulations Hannah & Adam!
This is not a sponsored post
March 5th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Flying by the seat of our skinny jeans this morning to bring you this rather late first instalment of the day! What can I say, this week in the Brides Up North office is Hectic. With that capital H. We’re in the middle of an event sandwich: four beautiful Brides Up North wedding exhibitions over four adjacent weekends, with our biggest show of this season this weekend – but then you know all about that don’t you? Throw in playtime with a (nearly) one year old, an appearance as official blogger at The North West Wedding Fair over in Manchester this Friday (I can’t wait), goody bag stuffing, floor plan drawing, sign writing and a husband who thinks its cool* to head off skiing with his mates during our busiest week yet… and you can see why we’re winging it a little.
*It’s so not cool Alan.
We’re not skimping on the pretty though, because Louisa and John’s gorgeous Real Wedding at the always stunning Adlington Hall in Cheshire has real wow factor! And that, Brides Up North, is exactly what we like around these parts. Enjoy.
With images by Jo Bradbury.
Louisa says: We got engaged on 23 December 2011 at Tatton Park, Knutsford. John got down on one knee by the lake in the pouring rain!
We were married on 8th December 2013 at Adlington Hall, Macclesfield, Cheshire. We had a civil ceremony in the Great Hall and the wedding breakfast and reception in the Hunting Lodge.
We wanted to have a venue where we could have a civil service and the wedding breakfast in one place. We were looking for a venue that had a room for the service that was a bit special, particularly given the time of year with the expectation that most of the day would be spent inside. We fell in love with Adlington Hall as soon as we looked round. It had the wow factor whilst still feeling really intimate. An added bonus is that the whole place is exclusively yours for the day and the staff were excellent, very professional but also extremely down to earth.
A lace theme ran through the day, from my dress, to the invitations and table plan, to the detail on our wedding cake. We thought this helped to create a bit of a “winter wonderland” feel.
I wore an Enzoani dress from The Wedding Shop in Alderley Edge with a lace bolero. It was totally different and much bigger than I thought I would go for but I loved it as soon as I tried it on. I also had pair of sparkly Jimmy Choos.
John, his best men and ushers hired navy morning suits from Savoy Tailors Guild (Moss Bros) in Manchester.
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