Charlotte Balbier

blossoming romance – a ‘north east’ garden party wedding in essex – hayley & gary

February 28th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

A Pretty Garden Wedding (c) Kimberley Waterson (35)

Could there be anything more special than hosting your wedding reception in a friend’s garden? Today’s couple did exactly that – and we simply adore everything about their laid-back and very personal day.

Hayley and Gary exchanged their vows at the most picture-perfect, quaint church, before heading onto a close friend’s house to celebrate inside a beautiful marquee decorated with paper lanterns.

We think this might just be country chic at its very best.

Images by Kimberley Waterson Fine Art Photography 

A Pretty Garden Wedding (c) Kimberley Waterson (42)

hayley says: Gary proposed on 23 November 2014 in Grand Central Station, New York.

Firstly, Gary surprised me with the trip to New York. I knew I was travelling overseas, I just didn’t know where that was until we arrived at the airport. I even carried my engagement ring in my hand luggage without realising!

Little did I know until after the proposal that Gary had been having a nightmare with his three chosen locations for where to propose, due to TV film crews, swarms of seagulls, children throwing food, and busy crowds in unexpected areas. We eventually arrived at Grand Central Station in the afternoon where he made an amazing job of asking me to be his wife!

A Pretty Garden Wedding (c) Kimberley Waterson (11)

We got married two years later on Saturday 27 August 2016. We always knew we wanted to have the wedding on a bank holiday. In order to plan and save for the day properly we picked this month. We also hoped for sunshine with it being in the summer!

Although we are both originally from Co Durham in the North East, Gary’s work has taken him to the south. We decided to get married in the small local church in Lindsell, Essex. This is where Gary now works and lives. We then had the wedding reception in Gary’s employer and very close friend’s garden at his home.

Gary is a professional carer for individuals with spinal injuries. He works and lives with the man who he cares for. Martin, or Tiny as everyone knows him, is a very special person to both of us. His extended generosity to hold the wedding at his home is precedent for the loving and caring man he is. He is very much like a father figure to us both; so much so that he provided the Father of the Bride/Groom speech on the day – and did a fantastic job!

A Pretty Garden Wedding (c) Kimberley Waterson (46)

The main wish for our day was for everyone to be as relaxed as possible and to have fun. We therefore adopted a theme for our day of an informal garden party. Our chosen style was vintage country.

The main colours for the day were mint green, dusky pink and gold.  I always imagined these colours would work well together and we both agreed these complimented the vintage country style.

A Pretty Garden Wedding (c) Kimberley Waterson (65)

I wore a bridal gown named Elsa from designer Eliza Jane Howell, purchased from Kathryn S Trueman Bridal and Occasions in Morpeth. I initially did not have a preference for a style or shape of dress.  I wanted to find something I could move around and eat in – and something unique!

After trying on lots of dresses, I knew I wanted something with a higher neckline and coverage on my arms. This designer has such a 1920s vintage style and this particular dress was lightweight, with a soft sequin covering, small train, ¾ batwing sleeves and high neckline – perfect!  I knew it was the one when my mam cried when she saw me wearing it. I felt like a perfect bride!

My hair was styled by Smith and Co and makeup by House of Skin, both based in Dunmow, Essex.  Both were recommended to me, and were extremely friendly and professional.

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timeless romance. a grey & cream themed wedding at newton hall – charlotte & michael

January 23rd, 2017 | Rachel Parry

A Timeless Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Melissa Beattie Photography (34)

It might be Monday morning but we have something super-pretty to brighten up your day, as we head to Northumberland to relive the beautiful wedding of Charlotte and Michael.

Taking place at the stunning Newton Hall, bride Charlotte was set on a relaxed and romantic big day that would stand the test of time – and looking at the images we’d say she certainly achieved her goal.

Stand out elements for us include Charlotte’s gorgeous mermaid style dress, the delicate blooms and the idyllic seaside setting #swoon!

With images by Melissa Beattie

A Timeless Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Melissa Beattie Photography (8)

Charlotte says: We got engaged while were on holiday in Spetses (a tiny and remote Greek island). We had hired a quadbike for a couple of days to explore and Michael suggested we take a picnic up to a remote viewpoint in order to watch the sunset over the sea. As the sun was setting Michael popped the question with a ring-shaped rock he’d found on the beach that day.

We set the date for 5th September 2016, rather unconventionally a Monday! We didn’t want a long engagement (little over a year) and so were limited by the availability of the venue we had fallen in love with. Getting married on a Monday also meant we could save on the venue hire and splurge on the food and drink for our guests.

A Timeless Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Melissa Beattie Photography (22)

Our chosen venue was Newton Hall, in rural Northumberland. It was the only venue we viewed but knew it was the one. It’s a beautiful Georgian country mansion within a few minutes’ walk of some of the most unspoilt and beautiful beaches in the UK. As Newton Hall only does weddings, we had the whole place to ourselves all day. As our guests were travelling from all over the country, we decided to make a weekend of it and have a pre-nuptial barbecue on the beach the evening before the big day. It meant we got to spend more time with everyone as well as making our wedding celebrations last that bit longer!

A Timeless Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Melissa Beattie Photography (31)

We didn’t particularly theme the wedding, it just a timeless and romantic English wedding with vintage touches. We wanted something relaxed but classy and fun.

Our colour scheme was grey and cream was with muted pastel shade flowers with silvery grey greenery.

A Timeless Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Melissa Beattie Photography (4)

I chose my wedding dress from Lisa Bilotti, a small, independent bridal boutique in Bedford (my home town). My friends had told me that all brides go to the bridal shop with an idea in mind and end up with something entirely different. I didn’t, I knew exactly what I wanted and that’s (luckily!) what suited my shape – a full lace vintage style mermaid number which I loved from the moment I tried it on. It actually looked like a pair of old lace curtains on the hanger so I very nearly dismissed it but Lisa listened to my description of my perfect dress and urged me to give it a try – I’m so glad I did!

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all loved-up. ronald joyce for an elegant wedding at eshott hall – jill & thomas

July 15th, 2016 | Julia Braime

Jill and Thomas, Wedding Eshott Hall

Providing a beautiful end to a beautiful week of real weddings on the blog, we’re sharing the classic big day of newlyweds Jill and Thomas.

We absolutely love the elegance of this well-planned wedding, from the stunning venue to the bridal party’s gorgeous attire and the oh so pretty artificial blooms. Pure perfection!

With images by Katy Melling Photography.

Jill and Thomas, Wedding Eshott Hall

jill says: We got engaged 6th September 2014, the week after my 30th birthday just and before Thomas left to go back to sea. It was a very private affair – I would have hated it if Thomas proposed to me in public, so it was just the two of us, which suited me fine.

We met back in March 2006 so we knew we wanted to get married in March, and 2016 marked our ten year anniversary so we decided upon 12th March 2016. We were a little apprehensive about what the weather may be like at this time of year but on the day we could not have asked for better – the sun was shining for us. It just goes to show that you never can predict the British weather, no matter what month you decide upon, so to other brides I say just go with when feels right for you and at a time of year that means something to you both.

Jill and Thomas, Wedding Eshott Hall

Jill and Thomas, Wedding Eshott Hall

We decided to get married at Eshott Hall in Northumberland. With Thomas working away I had to do a lot of the narrowing down myself (which I think Thomas was secretly pleased about!) I narrowed it down to two venues, which we viewed together when he was on leave. The second venue was Eshott Hall, and I definitely saved the best until last! When we arrived we just knew straight away that this is where we both wanted to get married. We loved everything about it, from the quaint little ‘reading room’ in the village, which still had that church feeling without the religious element which Thomas wasn’t too keen on, to the beautiful grounds which provided beautiful photo opportunities, and the hall itself which was just stunning. It really felt like an, albeit huge, home from home. We loved the fact that we could hire the entire hall and grounds and know that it was just our wedding party there, which made it such a special weekend. We travelled up on the Friday afternoon and held an evening meal and drinks with the guests staying over the night before. The guests really enjoyed making a weekend of it for the two nights. We stayed an extra night on the Sunday once all of our guests had left which gave us time to take it all in before leaving on the Monday morning. The staff at Eshott hall were all absolutely amazing especially Lindsey and Hannah who all made our wedding not just a day, but a weekend to remember.

Jill and Thomas, Wedding Eshott Hall

We didn’t have too much of a theme but knew we wanted very elegant and classical, nothing that would date too much when looking back in years to come.

The colour scheme was vintage rose and creams, which suited the time of the year we were getting married.

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magic & sparkle. mori lee for a woodland wedding at the alnwick garden – danielle & christopher

October 5th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Treehouse Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Sarah Thew Photography (19)

It might be Monday morning but we’ve got a gorgeous real wedding that will provide a little escapism from your 9 ‘till 5!

Danielle and Christopher’s picture perfect woodland wedding took place at the stunning tree house within Alnwick Gardens in Northumberland. Embracing the rustic setting the couple settled on a natural theme adding complementary touches in their cake and décor choices.

This pair are certainly up there with the most stylish brides and grooms we’ve seen grace our pages, with Christopher opting for a blue tweed suit and Danielle picking a stunning Mori Lee fishtail gown – definite dress crush!

With images by Sarah Thew Photography.

A Treehouse Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Sarah Thew Photography (3)

danielle says: We got engaged on holiday, it was in Murcia. We hired a car and decided to visit the town Cartagena, it was mid-July so a scorching hot day. We arrived and walked around the town, making our way towards the port. Christopher insisted we walked all the way to the end of the pier; I wasn’t so pleased about this in the baking heat! However we did, as we got to the end of the pier, it was beautiful. Out of nowhere he pulled a box out from his shorts and got down on one knee (for a split second, may I add). I was so shocked and over-whelmed. It was the best day!

Our wedding date was 1st August 2015. Christopher proposed to me on the same day in 2013. So we thought this would be memorable – and he would never forget our anniversary!

A Treehouse Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Sarah Thew Photography (7)

We got married at the beautiful tree house in Alnwick Gardens. I originally discovered this watching Don’t Tell The Bride and loved it. We did visit a few other venues closer to home but decided to put this one off no longer. As soon as we arrived that was it for us both, the tree house itself, its grounds and inside was just magical. We both knew it was the right place for us.

We kind of decided to go with the woodland theme taken from the venue itself, with a slightly relaxed feel too. Because the venue is so beautiful it didn’t need much else added to it. It speaks for itself really.

Our colour scheme was a very relaxed pastel shade. The bridesmaid dress was a mocha colour and my flowers were cream roses with sweet peas. I wanted to keep it simple and not too formal really.

A Treehouse Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Sarah Thew Photography (5)

My dress was a fishtail style, it was Mori Lee from the bridal boutique Y.A.P in the heart of Newcastle. I had always wanted this style of wedding gown and soon as I tried it on for the first time it was the one. Because the dress itself was very ‘statement’ I felt I didn’t need much else, deciding on not to wear a veil meant it wasn’t too over-powering.

A Treehouse Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Sarah Thew Photography (12)

Christopher wore a blue tweed suit with yellow pocket square. He also wore a gorgeous stag pin which was a gift from Not On The High Street and a Rotary pocket watch (wedding gift from myself).

Both and his groomsmen’s’ outfits were from a suit hire venue called Most Suitable in Newcastle. The groomsmen wore green tweed with mocha pocket square which linked in well with the colour of the bridesmaid dress.

My bridesmaid had her dress made for her. It was from a bridal boutique in Newcastle called Laura Lea Boutique.

I arrived at the wedding venue in a vintage Rolls Royce. The company which provided this service was called Alnwick Wedding Cars. They did an amazing job; they also took Christopher and his best man before me.

A Treehouse Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Sarah Thew Photography (13)

Sarah Thew was our photographer and I must say she was absolutely fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for a better photographer being part of our big day. She made us both feeling at ease and relaxed from start to end. She also went away while we had our wedding breakfast and later returned to take images of the night time, which I was so grateful for. We got some fabulous shots.

A Treehouse Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Sarah Thew Photography (28)

My wedding flowers consisted of cream roses, spray roses, double lisianthus, gyp, sweet peas, and foliage in a hand held posy. The button holes and corsages were a cream rose and greenery. To decorate the ten tables at the reception we had milk bottles with gyp and spray roses. For the aisle we used jam jars and milk bottles with a mixture of gyp and spray roses in with some greenery. I also used a plain white bunting for around the turret which was an area before we arrived up to the treehouse. All the flowers were provided by Simply Flowers in Alnwick.
A Treehouse Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Sarah Thew Photography (31)

Our favours for the ladies were a brown hessian bag with a printed heart on the front. Inside there was a small wooden engraved hearts saying ‘Mr & Mrs Burke’ and the date of our wedding. A small pack of love hearts and bubbles. The men had a small green shot glass and poem attached on a vintage post tag.

The wedding cake was a vanilla sponge made by Baked With Love By Laura. I had discovered a dew design I liked and asked Laura to come up with something similar, it was perfect. I purchased the cake toppers from Not On The High Street and used a slice of tree trunk for the base of the cake – this finished it off perfectly

A Treehouse Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Sarah Thew Photography (34)

We decided on the Aaron Bayley Band for our night time entertainment. They were a five piece band and played live music for all genres, which meant all guests could really enjoy it. They played right through until mid-night, which was a bonus! Lucy Bewley was my pianist who played me up the aisle during the ceremony. The song she played was Kissing You by Des’ree. It was beautiful.

As a special touch we provided guests with a guest book and ‘signature tree’ – they printed their thumb print onto the tree and signed next to it. This worked perfectly for the tree house setting and was a great piece to frame and keep.

We also hired some love letters from New Image Signs, which were placed just outside the venue. These worked great when it began to get dark. New Image Signs did an amazing job and the service was outstanding! The love letters really made the whole venue light up and we managed to get some shots sitting inside the letters which was amazing! Would fully recommend this company for any special occasion.

A Treehouse Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Sarah Thew Photography (41)

I’d also highly recommend Alnwick Gardens. The venue is so special and the staff are brilliant, especially the wedding planner Wendy who helped me plan and make my ideas become real! She was amazing leading up to the day but also on the day itself! I couldn’t have asked for a better venue, it was perfect in every way; both the food and drinks were fabulous too!

A Treehouse Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Sarah Thew Photography (50)

My favourite part of the wedding had to be walking up the aisle – it was beautiful, and seeing Christopher and all my family and friends made it so special. Saying our vows was slightly nerve-racking however we were just us and laughed our way through it!

A Treehouse Wedding at The Alnwick Garden (c) Sarah Thew Photography (18)

We delayed our honeymoon until later in the year. We will be jetting off to Dubai on Boxing Day! We wanted to drag our celebration out even longer and have something special to look forward to at the end of our best year!

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to enjoy every second! It really does fly by, even though everyone says it! End the night on the dance floor with your new husband and best friends! That’s what made it special for me.

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breezy boho. a fun filled papakata wedding in north yorkshire – fiona & james

May 18th, 2015 | Julia Braime

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (32)

Today’s wedding couple booked their big day for the middle of summer with the hope of blue skies and sunshine. Fortunately the unpredictable British weather was kind and delivered just that for their teepee reception held at the local cricket ground.

Highlights for us include Fiona’s stunning lace dress and her choice of boho-style, short white dresses for her maids complete with girly gyp headpieces. Ladies you look gorgeous!

In cricket terms we’re ‘bowled’ over by this fab Yorkshire wedding!

With images by Valentina Weddings.

Fiona and James (Papakata) from Bouncing Ball Films on Vimeo.

fiona says: We got engaged in October 2012. It was on a rainy day (as it always is) at the top of Cat Bells in the Lake District. We decided to get married on 9th August 2014. Bang in the middle of summer, hoping for some sunshine!

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (15)

Our ceremony was at our local church, St Radegunds Church in Scruton, North Yorkshire, which we can see from our living room window. We love where we live so it was nice to keep everything local and for our guests to enjoy our fab village. We decided to hire a Papakata teepee for our reception which was pitched at our village cricket ground where my dad has played cricket for years. They were so accommodating and we were able to use the loos in the pavilion which saved us many pennies!

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (8)

There wasn’t really a set style for the wedding. I seem to acquire lots of random bits and bobs, so these kind of became the props for the day – an old vintage singer, a bargain wooden wardrobe my friend bought from a hospice sale and lovely retro marmalade pots.

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (17)

I tried on every kind of style of wedding dress you can imagine and had good old laugh in the process! I found that I really liked lace and something quite fitted. I changed the back of the dress, to have more of a full keyhole style back as it was a high neck and added some onto the length to the train. It felt really vintage and quite a lot dressier than I pictured myself in, but I absolutely loved it. I got it from Charlotte at the Bridal Lounge in Northallerton – I can’t recommend this place enough!

To accompany my dress, I chose nude Hasbeens for my shoes and wore a gyp floral headpiece made by my lovely florist, Lucy. My hair was done by Becca Hunton and Jackie at Lady J’s did my makeup.

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (18)

James hired his and his boys’ suits from Most Suitable in Newcastle. They were grey with a mushroomy coloured cravat and a grey waistcoat. We also had some handmade cufflinks made through Most Suitable as pressies for all of the boys and a pair of matching ‘Happy Socks’.

The girls had short white dresses from ASOS with aubergine clogs from Lotti’s in Stockholm. It was a really simplistic but boho style and they also wore a floral gyp headpiece to match mine.

Our little page boy Archie wore summer tweed trousers, a white linen shirt and braces, all from H&M, with some Saltwater sandals in blue. Meanwhile our little flower girl Harlowe wore a white cotton summer dress from Zara, yellow Saltwater sandals and a floral head piece to match the other girls.

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (20)

We used my bridesmaid’s Dad’s camper, Bertie to transport us on the wedding day. He drove me and my Dad to church, and then me and James to the tepee after the service. A big thank you to Les for Bertie the camper! Our friends also surprised us with a hand drawn ‘just married’ sign and beer cans tied to Bertie!

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (25)

Our photographer was Mark of Valentina Weddings. Mark was recommended to us by friends and we just clicked instantly! He’s so lovely, totally approachable and super creative. Mark listens to everything you say you’d like, styles of shots and compositions you love but equally suggests ideas that he has. We had a Pinterest board going for us both to pin photography ideas to and it’s the biggest photography board you’ll ever see!

Our wedding album, Mark and I designed together, which was great fun. The quality of the album is so high, definitely worth the money! Every one of our guests spoke of how professional and friendly Mark was, and one of our closest friends has already booked him for her wedding off the back of ours!

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (26)

Mark also recommended to us a wedding videographer – Dom at Bouncing Ball Films and Ryan at Riff Raff Photography. At first we weren’t so keen, but in hindsight we are so glad we did. The finished video has been put together and footage edited so cleverly to create a short snap shot of our day. The choice of music was totally in their hands and perfectly suits our day. We have a huge smile every time we watch it!

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (27)

The bouquets and headpieces I chose were all gyp bound by natural garden twine, as were the boys’ buttons holes. We kept the church flowers really simplistic, just small tin buckets full of gyp. Churches have so much heritage and beauty that I think you should just leave them be.

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (31)

In the teepee we had beautiful multi coloured dahlias on the tables in the retro marmalade pots and a wooden crate filled with sunflowers. Again really simplistic but super vibrant creating a contrast from the neutral tones of the bouquets and church flowers. Our florist Lucy Hope was great and she helped with props that we needed too.

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (29)

I designed our own wedding stationery, a small booklet invitation with foil blocking detail of the teepee illustration and hand rendered typography. I also drew all of the signage for the day and designed the thank you postcards through my business, Plewsy.

The table numbers were created by hanging old cricket score board numbers from the beams of the teepee, it was nice to have a link back to the cricket club whilst it also left us with more room on the tables for wine!

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (35)

I totally forgot about the cake until two weeks before the wedding. Luckily our local farm shop, Springhouse Farm Shop, came to the rescue and created a beautiful naked sponge cake. They delivered it to the teepee on the morning of the wedding. The caterers layered it with strawberries and cream and we had a cake!

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (36)

We wanted a relaxed feel to the day and so decided on tapas for the food. Our caterers, Paul and Chris of Indulge in Harrogate, were recommended by a work colleague and again when I met Paul I knew I trusted him to be the caterer for our big day! I had some ideas, but Paul suggested most of the dishes. Canapés were served with prosecco to our guests when they arrived at the teepee. We had crazy amounts of tapas including spicy chicken wings, tabbouleh, vegetable lasagne, chicken paella and chorizo. We served the wedding cake for pudding with berries and cream.

Paul and his team also ran the evening barbecue, serving grilled halloumi, salmon, chicken, homemade kebab skewers, coleslaw and a humongous salad! To drink we went for Rioja and Pinot Grigio for wine on the tables and behind the bar, along with barrels of Black Sheep and Carling (we ran out and had to raid the village pub for more!)

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (42)

We booked Goldsands, a local band who we had seen play live a couple of times before, to entertain our guests. They are acoustic and were perfect for our venue. Everyone has said how great they were and they have been booked a fair few times by our guests since.

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (45)

We filled my friend’s retro wardrobe that she lent us full of disposable cameras, tambourines, sombreros, maracas, glitter and other bits and bobs! We also managed to exchange some bales of straw for a few free pints with a local farmer for seating outside the teepee! Oh, and borrowed a retro sofa from the cricket pavilion which was perfect!

As a special touch James and a few of our friends surprised me with a fireworks display, along with a life sized cut out of Guy Martin (long story)!

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (40)

We would highly recommend Papakata to other wedding couples – Rhian and the team were fab. All the organisation went so smoothly and the teepees are so bloomin’ gorgeous! My favourite part of the day has to be seeing so many of our friends and family together in one place, shaking tambourines and feather bowers on the dance floor!

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (47)

We flew to Ibiza for a week a couple of days after the wedding day. We stayed near the hippy village, it was really chilled out, super-hot with lots of beer and sunshine. Perfecto! In the October we used our honeymoon pot (set up through Spear Travels) to visit Thailand for a couple of weeks. We spent a couple of days in Bangkok, then flew south to Krabi / Ao Nang for a little while, then spent the rest of our time on Koh Phi Phi. It is such a lovely relaxed country, with beautiful coast lines and a great culture. We rode elephants, went on long boat trips to four small islands and drank a lot of mojitos!

a Papakata wedding in Yorkshire (c) Valentina Photography (49)

My top tip to other Brides Up North is – don’t stress! The best advice I can give is to go with suppliers that you get on with and click with! I did this with every supplier and each and every one worked their socks off to create our day. If you trust the people you book, this will take the stress away from you! Also people don’t notice if there’s a flower out of place or a mark on a napkin. It might matter to you, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not a huge deal. Just relax and enjoy your big day!

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chic to chic. a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House – karin & rob

November 25th, 2014 | Julia Braime

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (33)

Karin and Rob’s beautiful wedding day is chic, stylish and filled with the sort of opulent details that we love here at wedding blog HQ.  Lace, crystals, blousy blooms and one stunning setting make this a celebration fit for the pages of Vogue magazine.  Lucky for you, we snapped it up first.

Let’s raise the bar a little.

It’s getting haute in here

With images by fabulous Brides Up North Sponsor, Fyzal Photography.

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (8)

karin says: Unbeknown to me, when the idea of a ski holiday with friends popped up, Rob pushed for the 3 valleys, France and in particular, Meribel for one reason only….it was his ideal setting for a proposal!

When we first got together (November 2008 and after 7 months of Rob trying,) it left us just a month before Rob flew to France for a 5 month ski season. I joined Rob for a weeks holiday in the January and we both knew then our relationship was to last. Meribel was also where Rob told me that he loved me.

January 2012 was eagerly anticipated by Rob, eventually settling for his SLR camera case to hide the ring through airport security. He got it through and I was none the wiser as to what would happen a few days later. Rob planned to pop the question on a particular piste in the next valley, Courcheval. But due to an avalanche, it wasn’t until the last ski day that it was cleared to ski to.

It was called “Les Piste Indiens” where a purpose built Indian village appeared around a corner. We stopped and Rob knelt next to a plastic fox for a rare photo opportunity. It turned out to be very rare as photos later proved, Rob had the ring out trying to propose while I was trying to take his photo.

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (9)

We tied the knot on 14 June 2014. I (not superstitious at all!) didn’t want to be married in 2013!

We met whilst both working at Jesmond Dene House and when the decision was to be made as to where we were to be married, it had so much history to it and along with our own history there, the decision was simple.

Our wedding was always going to be straight ahead. I still work there as private dining manager and so have a strong relationship with wedding coordinators Abi and Christina, C & B manager Lukasz and everyone else to be involved on the day. Knowing everyone made us feel secure that the day was to perfect.

We chose a romantic shabby chic theme. Apple crates, coffee bean sacks, old leather suitcases, plenty of candles and wicker hearts all suited the Jesmond Dene setting. Since I oversee weddings day in, day out, I knew what would make our day different to others.

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (18)

Everything was based around pastel lilac and ivory themes. It worked so well with the grandeur of the dark oak of the hotel’s Great Hall. We also tied in the green of Jesmond Dene into all floral arrangements.

I stayed in the hotel the night before with my mother and the bridesmaids, setting up the decorations until 2am while best man and Rob had a beer and a cheeky Chinese takeaway in the room of the best man!

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (15)

When choosing my dress, I spent hours online looking for local bridal shops and looked at each designer stocked in each shop until I found my dress. When I came across Ronald Joyce ‘Babetta’, I knew no matter what else I saw, I’d be back for the Babetta.

I spent only a short amount of time in Wild Brides at Heart, Durham after a Ronald Joyce designer weekend and I was out in no time after placing the deposit looking forward to my first fitting. The detail in the lace, the open back, and its long train was exactly what I was looking for and nothing else would match it.

I chose not to wear a veil, instead a headpiece, slightly different to the norm. Flown from Canada, it was jewelled, but not over the top. Sarah Walsh was my makeup artist and hair stylist. Highly recommended!

My look was complete after Rob had a few gifts sent up to me with breakfast on the morning of the wedding. I had pointed out a beautiful Swarovski tennis bracelet a few months before and luckily he took the hint! It matched so well with the Swarovski pearl earrings he had also bought me.

I carried lilac and ivory roses with hydrangea. Helen from Bels Flowers provided all floral arrangements. Hats off to Helen, who did a fantastic job and came as a late replacement for florist after we had been let down by another months before the wedding!

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (21)

Rob and the groomsmen wore grey tails from Most Suitable with an ivory cravat and waistcoat. Rob also splashed out on a pair of Kurt Geiger shoes (very unlike him)!

My bridesmaids wore “Debut” Grecian lilac dresses from Debenhams and my maid of honour wore an ivory and lilac floral print dress from BHS. I bought all the girls a brooch to wear as a gift to personalise the dresses.

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (26)

I would highly recommend Fyzal Photography to anyone!

Both Fyzal and his wife Dawn went above and beyond to capture our day how we wanted it with the eye and finesse you would not get from any other photographer! He took us for an “e:shoot” on the beach where we got to know how it all worked. It also helped Rob relax as he’s not big on having his photo taken.

On the day itself, everything was done with military precision after we agreed an itinerary days before. They both made us feel at ease for the entire day knowing we were constantly having photos taken without even realising they were there.

Even months after the day, Fyzal stays in contact and helps to decide the final images for our album.

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (36)

Our cake was a chocolate croque-em-bouche produced by our friend, Kristian Branch, head pastry chef at the hotel.

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (38)

We had Jessica Avison, a local acoustic singer/guitarist play during our reception and then The Paul James Band – known for years through Jesmond Dene house performances, started the evening entertainment. We hired a DJ through One Voice Productions for our “after party” and a Snaparazzi photo booth for use as guest book.  Ross, Snaparazzi’s director is a friend via the hotel.

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (39)

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (43)

We’re biased but we’d definitely recommend Jesmond Dene House, even if we weren’t!  Every member of staff gets involved and consumed in every event that they work at. The hotel as a whole puts 100% into each event to put the hotel on the map in the region and to make a name for itself.

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (49)

My favourite moment of the day was our first dance, choreographed with help of Caroline of Bela Dance School. I wanted a proper first dance, no swaying as most couples do.  We had over 20 lessons to perfect the Viennese Waltz to Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years”.

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (52)

We pre-wedding honeymooned in January to Australia due to work commitments after the wedding. We flew via Hong kong where we spent a few hours walking the streets then onto Melbourne.  After a few nights in Melbourne we drove the Great Ocean Road and on to Adelaide via the Grampians (narrowly missing the bush fires) to fly across to Sydney, going into the blue mountains as well as the obligatory Harbour Bridge climb!  We then flew to Noosa to spend 10 days with best man and bridesmaid who lived there. Surfing, chilling out and getting stung across the face by a jellyfish! Ouch!

a stylish wedding at Jesmond Dene House (c) Fyzal Photography (55)

My top tip for other Brides Up North is to spend money on the photographer, namely Fyzal, as most of the day is a blur. Only one person can capture it all for you to remember forever, so choose wisely!

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