January 18th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Sarah and Matt’s relaxed, family-focused wedding combines two of our favourite themes at Brides Up North: plenty of organic woodland elements with a gorgeous blush, gold, mocha and burgundy colour scheme.
However, as these photographs show, you don’t have to compromise on style to have the informal, child-friendly wedding of your dreams. Sarah’s Jenny Packham gown and breathtaking oversized bouquet are just two super-stylish details from this stunning day.
With images by Jess Yarwood.
sarah says: We got engaged on Christmas Day almost seven years before the wedding. We’d been together five years and I was pregnant with our eldest daughter. Matt proposed with a big flower ring (not the real ring!) in bed on Christmas morning.
We were married on 7th October 2016. There was no special reason behind the date – in fact, getting married in 2016 was only an idea at the start of the year. We went to a family party (my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary) in April 2016, and loved the family being together so much that we decided we should get married the same year. So, we had to crack on and find a venue/date! I knew I wanted it to be in autumn but as early as possible so that it might still be warm enough.
We got married at Trafford Hall near Chester. A couple of people had recommended it as they’d been to weddings there but we had never been. We went to a wedding fair there and fell in love with it. We didn’t look at any other venues – we just knew straight away that it was the right venue for us.
Because of the nature of the venue we decided on a loose nature/woodland/botanical theme for the wedding. I love trees and plants and flowers and wanted to incorporate some greenery into the day.
The main colour scheme was mocha and burgundy with dusky pink, gold and lots of green! Originally the bridesmaids dressed were dusky pink but we had a few issues with the dresses and ended up having to change everything mid-August!
I chose a Jenny Packham dress called Betty, which I bought from Lillya Grace Bridal Boutique in Nantwich. I actually bought another dress in Chester first and realised quickly that it wasn’t what I wanted; it wasn’t in keeping with the style of the rest of the wedding and I had to find something else instead. When I saw the Jenny Packham I knew straight away that this was the perfect dress for me. I wanted something that was natural and elegant and not too structured. A little bit vintage with some detail but not over the top. It was amazing – it fell perfectly and looked fabulous in the pictures.
Holly Lander did my makeup – she was fantastic and helped out with other things too – she even went to the bar to get a bottle of pre-wedding bubbly! Emily Banks did the hair for me and the bridesmaids and Amy Lofthouse did the flower girls’.
Matt and the groomsmen wore blue suits from Next. The groom wore a mocha tie while the groomsmen wore burgundy ties.
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July 13th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Where on earth to start with today’s real wedding, this one has it all!
Following a very romantic proposal (we like your style Mitchell) Emily and her beau decided on a glam winter wedding without a Santa in sight. Instead of a typical festive celebration colour scheme of red this pair went for a lavish palette of taupes, lilac, latte and gold, which looked stunning. To complete their setting vision for the big day they then enlisted the help of Red Floral Architecture to take care of the flowers and décor – and the result? Wow!
The high level of style is continued in Emily and Mitchell’s attire choices with the groom opting for a cool burgundy suit and bow tie and the bride falling for one of Ian Stuart’s most iconic dress designs to date – the fabulous Flower Bomb!
Prepare to take note ladies, there are lots of great special touches and tips in here too. Take it away Emily!
With images by Tim Simpson Photography.
emily says: Mitchell proposed on the 22nd of September 2013 in Filey, North Yorkshire. He asked me to meet him out on the boat house over the lake where we were staying. As I approached the boat house to my utter amazement Mitchell had arranged lots of lanterns and candles in and around the boat house and as I got nearer began to play Bruno Mars Marry You – the rest is history!
Our wedding date was 6th December 2014, which we chose as I have always wanted a winter wedding! There is something so glamorous and magical about winter and Christmas time! We 100% did not want a Christmas themed wedding but did want it near enough to Christmas that our guests would be feeling festive, magical and ready to party! We decided the first Saturday in December would be perfect.
Our wedding venue was Crow Hill in the beautiful unspoilt village of Marsden, Huddersfield. Both Mitchell and I fell in love with Crow Hill and couldn’t have found a better venue for the type of wedding we wanted to plan! We both have large close families with Mitchell’s family all living in London and so having somewhere to house all these guests the night before the wedding and the wedding night was vital for us! Crow Hill is a beautiful country house estate with accommodation for 32 guests across three beautiful properties! This enabled us to have all our close family, bridesmaids, best man etc. stay with us for two whole nights making it the ultimate wedding weekend! Serving a beautiful cosy supper on the Friday night around the open fire of the main property was just the perfect way to start our winter wedding weekend! Our guests could then flit between all properties making the whole thing so relaxed and with the definite ‘house party’ feel we wanted to achieve.
Crow Hill added with the amazing marquee provided a gorgeous, crisp, clean and glamorous space that was important to me when creating the feel for the reception. We didn’t want anything taking away from the decoration for the reception so a marquee was very important. The marquee at Crow Hill is huge with a chandelier gracing the draped ceiling, a built in modern and classy bar area all complete with bar tables, stools and a chic lounge area! Team the venue with beautiful scenery and amazing in-house chef it is just hands down the best venue for this type of wedding. We married in the equally fabulous St Bartholomew’s Church in Marsden village which also was incredibly important to Mitchell and I. A church as magnificent as St Bartholomew’s was just the icing on the cake when choosing this venue.
When it came to styling the wedding we had very definite ideas of what we wanted to achieve. We wanted a glamorous, glittering winter wedding without the ‘Christmassy’ theme. This included using tons of gold and champagne glitter, baroque style candle holders and tons of glamour. We wanted the style to feel really special but still tasteful with a magical, cosy and wintery feel. We decided having lots of twinkling candles, tons of textures and plenty of glitter was the way to achieve this. Our stylists Mat Hepplestone from Red Floral Architecture and Rebecca from Crow Hill where paramount in helping us achieve this!
The colour scheme for the wedding was always something I struggled with. Coming from an artistic background it was hard for me when people asked what is your colour scheme? And expected a one colour answer back! For us it was important to include various colours and tones and not just stick to one typical ‘wedding colour’. The colours included taupes, minks, dirty lilacs, creamy lattes and gold. We felt these colours helped us achieve the magical wintery feel without the usual red and green colours.
I wore an Ian Stuart dress for the wedding which was from the amazingly beautiful Bridal Collection in Harrogate. It was the Flower Bomb dress in Taupe with multi flowers and featured a sweetheart neckline encrusted in Swarovski crystals. The dress had a tight bodice with a dropped waist and then exploded into a skirt full of mixed tulle, flowers and silk with a large train. The dress was completed with a cathedral length waterfall veil and a grey/mink coloured cropped fur jacket. I first saw this amazing dress gracing the window of The Bridal Collection way before we were engaged! I instantly vowed that I would wear the dress for my wedding day and that one day I would get to go inside The Bridal Collection and experience the excitement and awe of all the blushing brides I could see inside. I kept my vow and the whole experience was so special. Trying on that dress for the first time years from when I first saw it was magical and I really did feel like a princess!
My hair and makeup artists on the day were the utterly amazing Flossy and Leigh. Head stylist Sam did me, my mum and bridesmaids’ hair and makeup for the wedding day. They then also touched my makeup up after photographs and before to ensure that I was looking my best. For the evening reception they then totally changed the style of mine, my mum’s and the bridesmaids’ hair and makeup. They are incredible and I couldn’t recommend them enough!
Mitchell wore an amazing suit bought from Next. It was an incredibly stylish, classy dinner suit in an aubergine/burgundy colour. It was then professionally tailored and finished off with a Thomas Pink shirt, matching bow tie and Ted Baker shoes. He wanted an old school Motown look with a modern twist.
The bridesmaids wore full length strapless lace gowns with rouched side and a glam split up the leg. These where bought online. They then wore faux fur stoles and gold glittering shoes! The little flower girls wore handmade tutu dresses made by myself which took inspiration from the Ian Stuart dress and were made from masses of soft tulle and adorned with sparkles and silk flowers! They carried small gold glitter handbags from Monsoon and finished with gold glitter tights and fur trimmed cardigans from Monsoon also.
The groomsmen meanwhile wore classic black dinner suits with aubergine/burgundy bow ties as did the page boys. These were all bought from Moss Bros.
For the big day we hired a glossy black Volkswagen camper van called Stanley, who stylishly transported the groom and groomsmen to the church and also the mother of the bride and the bridesmaids. We hired this beauty from Love Dub Campers, York – an amazing down to earth and friendly company. I travelled in a fabulously glam pale pink 1950s Cadillac hired from Cartwright Cars in Huddersfield, another amazing company! The car looked stunning against the crisp frost and really added to the glamour of the wedding. Both companies where especially fab as they even took guests back up to Crow Hill while we were having photographs, much to our guests’ delight!
Our photographers on the day were the amazing Tim Simpson Photography! We would hugely recommend these guys for their laid back, friendly and amazingly artistic style. They are just gorgeous lovely people who are so amazing at what they do! They are not invasive, they put you at instant ease, they mingle in with your guests capturing the true feel of the day and don’t waste time capturing boring structured traditional shots, instead putting their huge creative and artistic skills to perfect use and really getting those natural professional shots. We love Tim Simpson Photography and feel their connection and the team they have allows them to just cover absolutely everything that great wedding photography should.
My bouquet was designed to reflect the taupe shades of the Ian Stuart Flower Bomb bridal gown. The bouquet was a hand tied style made from masses of mink and taupe flowers including Quicksand, Sahara and Safi roses. The bouquet was accessorized with masses of pearls, crystals and diamantes to reflect the adornments on the bridal gown. Shards of tulle and birdcage veiling also featured throughout the design to reflect the skirt of the gown. The stem of the bouquet was finished with taupe material and finished with an amazing sparkling adornment. It was created and designed by Mat Hepplestone at Red Floral Architecture.
The styling in the marquee reception was also done by Mat at Red Floral Architecture and Rebecca at Crow Hill. The flower centrepieces were a mixture of designs including huge flower balls on ornate gold stands, huge blossom trees, beautiful boxed designs, tall cherub candle designs and a huge central piece which was suspended from the marquee chandelier and hung over the central table! Each design featured masses of roses in the chosen colours.
Each table was also adorned with hanging glass tea lights, hordes of flickering candles on a mixture of candle sticks and mercury glass holders, masses of flower petals and rose heads and each table had luxury linens draping in a mix of champagne and gold sequin cloths and designer bridal lace cloths. The chair covers matched these also with added satin fabric ties on some allowing us to achieve the mix of colours and textures that we really wanted. We also had huge light up letters saying ‘love’ and ‘dance’ provided by Typical Type. These added such drama and a wow factor to the marquee. We also had a light up monogram with our names projected onto the dance floor. Finally we had a tree for our table plan with hanging tags for our guests to find their tables and we had various ornate gold gilt frames around the reception encouraging people to Instagram/Facebook their wedding pictures using a hash tag unique to us.
We gave out favours to each of our day guests, these consisted of little mercury glass heart Christmas tree baubles. These were boxed in small lilac boxes and hand tied with a latte coloured ribbon and each finished with a pearl and diamanté embellishment, which were handmade and finished by Mitchell and myself.
We chose a six tier cake made and designed by Sarah Small at Choose Cake! Along with Sarah we designed and adapted the cake until it was perfect. It featured and ombré ruffle effect on the bottom tier, lace and brushed gold effects throughout the rest of the tiers including a monogrammed plaque with our initials. The final tier finished the cake off with cascading gold sequins and a large sugar paste flower arrangement to add to the overall theme of the wedding. The tiers included chocolate orange, white chocolate and red velvet flavours.
We had a reception welcome drink of hot winter Pimms for guests on arrival and a selection of gourmet canapés. Guests also had access to a hot chocolate bar with a winter lodge theme where they were served hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows and various other toppings in takeaway cups monogrammed with our initials and wedding date. We also had a winter candy bar where guests could choose from traditional Scottish tablet hearts. Ferrero Rochers and eggnog lolly pops! The menu was created and provided by Tracy Keppie at Crow Hill who is amazing! The food is to die for and is honestly the best I’ve tasted! She is incredible!
We added quite a few special touches on the day including providing glittering flip flops for guests’ ‘dancing feet’ and a basket of blankets for guests to keep warm outside! We also had a DIY photo booth with a huge array of props for guests to create their own photo memories. At the end of the night each guest was handed a mini bottle of Baileys and a golden box of wedding cake to enjoy as a midnight taxi snack.
We also had makeup stand in the main house of Crow Hill for guests to go get their makeup ‘touched up’ which was provided by the fabulous Flossy and Leigh. Guests could get their eye makeup intensified, try a new lipstick and even have false lashes applied for a small cost. We also had toiletries in the toilets for guests to use to freshen up including deodorant, hair spray, dry shampoo, chewing gum, hair clips etc.
We would 100% recommend our venue to others! Crow Hill is an amazing venue with fabulous staff. They know exactly what they are doing and manage the whole day with a professionalism. The venue is perfect for the ‘house party’ style wedding weekend which is what we wanted. It’s a total gem of a venue that will totally wow your guests! It’s perfect!
Our favourite part of the day was standing at the alter and just taking in the sheer beauty of what was happening, it was a moment we will never forget. We felt so relaxed and serene at this point with an indescribable peace upon the both of us, so beautiful and our most treasured part of the day.
We went on our honeymoon on the Monday after the wedding to Vienna! I’m a complete Christmas lover and Vienna was so magical at that time of year! It was so romantic. We wrapped up in our warmest clothing and visited the amazing Christmas markets, sipping on sweet ameretto liquor punch, took a horse drawn carriage ride around the beautiful city, visited the glamorous hotel coffee houses and soaked up the festive atmosphere! We stayed in a suite at the famous Hotel Sacher and sampled the famous Sacher torte!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be marry as early in the day as you can! People always say the day goes by too fast and so I decided I wanted to get married as early as I could to ensure I actually had a wedding day rather than a wedding ‘late afternoon’.
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June 18th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Here at Brides Up North HQ we make no secret of the fact that we love super glam weddings that sparkle and shine. However we’ve found of late that we’re becoming increasingly drawn to an emerging trend at the more relaxed end of the wedding spectrum.
We’re talking about pared back, elegant weddings featuring soft, muted colour palettes. Where once bolder was seen as better, we’re now starting to see weddings returning to a simpler, more stripped back look that creates an overall feel of natural romance.
Pretty pastel colour schemes have remained strong in the industry for the past few years but the muted trend sees shades such as mint green, blush pink and lilac, toned down a level or two. A more neutral colour palette of hues including dove grey, putty and stone, also sits well within the trend, giving couples plenty of choice.
So today we’ve picked out three of our favourite muted naturals to show you how it’s done. Let the inspiration flow…
Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by Braedon Photography| image source| image source, photography by Jemma Keech Photography| image source| image source, photography by Jacque Lynn| image source| image source, photography by Grace Photography| image source| image source, photography by Joielala| image source
As tasty as it sounds, this colour palette is warm, elegant and inviting without being at all in your face. People’s opinion on the colour caramel will vary from a light brown to more of a golden tone so we say there’s no harm in picking a few varying shades for depth and interest. This will also save you the added stress of trying match up all wedding elements to just one hue.
So let’s start with styling the wedding party. As we’re seeing more brides step away from classic white and ivory for their dress, blush and caramel tones have become increasingly accepted in the world of weddings, with designers like Mori Lee and Mark Zunino showcasing such shades within their collections. If a bride would rather stick with tradition, it’s best to dress the bridesmaids in a caramel colour instead. Again there’s the choice of a pale brown or a slightly warmer tone so brides should think about their maids’ complexions and pick what will suit best, or alternatively mix and match for a combination.
Flowers tend to look most effective when kept to a neutral palette of soft creams and whites with just the odd caramel toned bloom, such as blousy roses, dotted throughout.
The caramel colour scheme also lends itself well to light textured materials with a ripple effect (like how the running liquid itself pools and puddles). So brides might like a dress featuring soft ruffles or loose pleats and shoes with corsage type detail also work well. In terms of décor, paper pom poms and flowing ribbons can help continue the textured feel.
Thinking outside the box, couples can deliver a muted caramel scheme in more ways than one, through both colour and sweet treats. So how about a salted caramel wedding cake, fudge favours or sweet caramel apple martinis drinks reception. Delicious!
Clockwise from top left: image source| image source, photography by Melissa Oholendt| image source| image source, photography by Hyer Images| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by AMBphoto| image source
Working our way onto another appetising palette, a pistachio scheme is both a modern and elegant choice within the muted trend. It’s simple and sophisticated appearance is less playful than previously popular mint green, but it is by no means boring.
Similarly to the caramel theme, couples can play on the flavour of pistachio as well as the hue, perhaps opting for a show stopping pistachio layer wedding cake or dainty pistachio macaroon favours.
In terms of flowers, décor and stationery it’s best to keep things clean and simple to achieve the desired level of elegance. So go for uncomplicated table settings with plain pistachio coloured crockery, glassware or linen and natural centrepieces.
Metallics such as gold and silver complement pale green colour schemes well, but to keep on track with the muted theme pick matt rather than glittery options.
Elegant, long, flowing and uncomplicated bridesmaid dress designs work best with the theme and thankfully pistachio is a flattering tone on most complexions so maids should be merry about the choice. Meanwhile the bride can incorporate the hue in her footwear and groomsmen can adopt it for their ties, pocket squares and socks.
putty in your hands
Clockwise from top left: image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by Shipra Panosian| image source, photography by Annalie Young| image source| image source, photography by Jessica Lorren| image source, photography by Helen Russell Photography
Just like caramel, putty can be interpreted in several different ways. Though often seen as an off-white or pale grey, others feel it has more of a warm mushroom or pink hue running through it, so again we suggest working several colours of this nature into your muted palette.
This means brides might like to mix up their bridesmaid dress colours rather than putting all their leading ladies in just one shade. But it’s not just the maids that can switch things up, the groomsmen could opt for mix and match trouser, tie and blazer combinations in shades of grey, putty and mushroom for both a stylish and individual look.
For brides an ivory or pale cream dress tends to complement the warm putty tones best but they hints of muted tones can be added in their flower and footwear choices.
Finally, décor should be light and elegant so think pale paper lanterns, dainty flowers in clear vases, simple candle light and polished glass wear. In terms of the cake, pale ombre creations and those with subtle texture are perhaps the most popular to complete the desired look
June 15th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s couple had their heart set on their chosen wedding venue from the moment they viewed its website – and looking at the images below we can see why.
Meols Hall provided a wonderful rustic setting for Ben and Jen’s romantic big day with its exposed brick walls and large wooden beams tying in perfectly with the couple’s moss-green colour scheme.
To complete the desired look they added natural flower displays and a gorgeous naked wedding cake – rustic romance at its best!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, James Tracey Photography.
jen says: We got engaged in May 2012. It was a while back but we’ve never been a couple to rush things: we got together in 2004! Ben arranged a long weekend break to Paris for my 28th birthday. It was not the most original choice, but Ben was going for the double-bluff!
We had a wonderful time seeing the sights, but it wasn’t until the last day when Ben proposed. We went to Sacre Coeur on top of Montmatre (the telescope scene from Amelie, with a sweeping view of Paris). Despite us having been partners for more than seven years, Ben was shaking with nerves, and it ended up being a very emotional moment for both of us. He gave me a platted string ring that turned out to be impossible to put on! Ben knew that I would appreciate a say in the choice of ring so he was waiting until we could go ring shopping together.
We set the date for 28th March 2015. I’m a primary school teacher, so it coincided with the start of the Easter Holidays. We had a hearts set on the venue, and it was one of the very few dates left for 2015 that worked well for me.
Our chosen wedding venue was Meols Hall in Churchtown, Southport. Not far from Wigan, where my family live. We fell in love with it as soon as we saw their website. It is a wonderfully tasteful barn conversion that is more rustic than ostentatious. After we’d seen it, my parents went to visit it, and we were thrilled to hear that it was as beautiful in real life as it was in the website’s pictures.
We had a relatively informal feel to the day. We didn’t want things to be straight-laced and serious. It really helped us – we were as relaxed as we could have been throughout the day.
Our order of service matched the style of our invites. They were both designed by a close friend of ours and featured a collage of fonts and black and white photos of Ben and I. As we both now live in London we also had a London Underground theme on the day. We wanted to bring a bit of the south up north! Our table names were stations in London that have meaning to both of us. The table plan was presented with an old London Underground map. We wrote funny(ish) short blurbs of why we had chosen the stations on the flip side of the table signs, to help break the ice on the tables.
We went with a moss green colour scheme, to complement the rustic venue, but to also go well with my hair.
I wore a beautiful Justin Alexander dress which I bought from Angelica Bridal in London. It was simple, elegant and covered in lace. I absolutely loved it! I added a moss green belt with a lace applique to fit in with the theme which I’m really glad about because I think it made the dress come alive.
On the wedding day Samantha Marshall did my makeup. It was fantastic and made me look glamourous yet natural! I would highly recommend her. Meanwhile, one of my oldest friends, and now professional hair stylist, Nicola Farrell, made my hair look wonderful! She plaited gypsum into the back which fit beautifully with the tasteful flower arrangements at the venue.
Ben didn’t want to hire a morning suit because he wanted something he could be proud of wearing over and over again. He found a tailored-fit three piece dark grey suit from T M Lewin that fit like a glove. He wore a luxury wide-collared plain white dress shirt from M&S and a well-matching moss green tie from Debenhams. The grooms and my dad wore the same suits as Ben.
My bridesmaids wore a moss green dress from Monsoon. They were a bargain and looked amazing!
We hired a London cab to take us to the venue on the wedding day. We didn’t have any money left in the budget to hire a posh car, plus it fitted in with the London theme perfectly!
James Tracey was our wedding photographer. His ethos mirrored our intentions for the day perfectly. The photos on his website were of a very high quality, but what set him apart was the imaginative, playful and natural feel that they had. We couldn’t recommend him highly enough. He was unobtrusive and a lot of fun to be with throughout the wedding day, and we now have a gallery-worthy selection of photos of our special day to cherish for the rest of our lives.
I had a beautiful and simple bouquet of callow lily, white rose and gypsum. It was provided by a florist that Meols Hall deal exclusively with, called Mary Ambrose who provided flowers for the whole day.
Flowers were all white and mirrored the bouquet: callow lily, rose and gypsum. We were given a wonderful degree of choice for all aspects of the flower decorations, and Mary gave us exactly what we asked for. She was fantastic.
We didn’t give favours out on the day and instead are donating a sum to the National Brain Appeal. This was in appreciation of the work they and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery did for a close friend of ours, who sadly passed away two years ago after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.
For our wedding cake, we chose a slightly asymmetric naked Victoria sponge. It was based on a photo we had seen on the internet and was baked by All About Cakes in Southport. They recreated it perfectly and it tasted delicious!
Carringtons Catering deal with Meols Hall exclusively, so we chose a hot buffet with them for our wedding meal. We also chose a vegan stew to cater for Ben and a few other vegetarians. Before the meal we had canapés, and being a Wiganer, we had to have pies and peas for the evening celebrations!
When it came to choosing entertainment, we listened to a lot of bands online before stumbling across Toni James. She sounded head and shoulders better than anything else we had heard, so chose her instantly. Although Toni provided us with the option of having a bigger band accompanying her, a pesky sound limiter at the venue meant that we couldn’t really have more than a four-piece. We were anxious about what sound they would be able to make, but they absolutely rocked! They normally play a lot of pop music, but Ben is a big fan of funk and soul. They had enough in their repertoire to make him very happy, and even learnt Erma Franklin’s Piece of My Heart for the evening.
In addition, a friend of mine, Zoe Baldwin, is an opera singer, and she very kindly agreed to sing three arias during the signing of the register. Our guests – and the registrars – all appeared spellbound! It made the ceremony very special indeed.
As extra entertainment, we had little fun activities after the ceremony. There was a Polaroid camera and some old-fashioned fair games, like hoopla and a sweet stall, all made possible by our wonderful friends who created and operated everything.
We would absolutely recommend our venue to other couples! It was a stunning back-drop, with the whole day based in the one location. There was enough space to make it suitable for all weather possibilities. Also, the staff at Meols Hall were friendly, relaxed and professional, and helped the day progress seamlessly.
It is hard to choose to favourite part of the day as we had a few; saying our vows which we wrote ourselves, listening to Zoe sing, and dancing the night away whilst eating a pie! Heaven!
For our honeymoon we went to Marrakech for five days. It was incredible. We stayed in a beautiful, scented and tranquil Riad just a few minutes’ walk of the main market. We took in the sights and sounds, bartered in the souks, ate like kings, pampered ourselves in one of the best spas the city had to offer and caught up on some much needed sleep! Although it flies by, no-one tells you how tiring your wedding day will be.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to relax and enjoy yourself. As our photographer said, you get to be a rock star for the day – make the most of it! Also, use your friends and their talents. It made it really special, personal and unique.
We are hugely grateful to everyone who helped make our wedding the magical day that it was. In particular, my parents who gave so much of themselves on the day and the months leading up to it.
February 24th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Sam and Anna wanted their wedding to be a relaxed and informal affair that their family (including their adorable nieces and nephew) and friends could both enjoy and feel a part of.
Everyone pitched in with friends loaning and providing décor and family members baking tractor-shaped cakes, making props and providing musical entertainment. What a talented bunch they are.
So let’s take a trip down Paradise Lane for this inspirational summer wedding.
Images by Ian Wallace Photography.
anna says: We got engaged in September 2013 in the woodland walk around the edge of Ripley Castle. Me and Sam have been together from a young age and for a long time which I’ve always found a bit cheesy and cringey so I‘d always worried about how I would feel if he actually asked me to marry him! Because of this he always said he would only ask me to marry him when he knew I was ready.
We’d planned a week off work and Sam wanted to book the first night as a surprise before we headed up to Newcastle for a few days. When we pulled up at Ripley Castle, I was happy but not suspicious as we really like it up there so go quite a lot. Sam always says he had to follow me around to try and ask me because every time he started to try and get serious I would walk off looking at something else. In the end his beautiful speech started with a tugging me around and ‘will you just come here and stand still…’ before quickly getting down on his knee and waiting for me to stop crying and give him an answer. I of course said yes and we spent the next few minutes trying to get signal in the countryside to let our parents and family know. Afterward we spent the night in Rockcliffe Hall in Darlington which was amazing!
We set the date for 11th August 2014. We wanted to get married in the summer to give us a good chance of sunshine for at least some of the day. The wedding package we picked was a midweek deal to try and keep our costs down so we just hoped that the people we wanted there would be able to get the day off.
Hazlewood Castle in Tadcaster was our chosen venue. We wanted a venue that could house a lot of people and a lot of children for an entire day if it rained and Hazlewood Castle was great for this because it had various rooms that people could go and have a bit of space in. We also wanted somewhere where we could all have breakfast together the day after and there were plenty of rooms for people to stay over. We loved the overall style and feel of the castle and grounds and knew we’d be able to get some beautiful pictures there. A few people had recommended it to us that had been to weddings there which helps. And who doesn’t want to get married in a castle that’s on Paradise Lane?
We wanted a really natural, vintage/country feel to the wedding without a strong theme throughout. We were really focused on it being as unstructured as possible and letting things flow. I didn’t want to hide the castle décor so just added small bits to complement it and add a homely yet special feel. Our home is full of candles and flowers so these were a must! We didn’t really want a strong colour theme throughout the wedding either but wanted to keep everything very pastel based and natural so that it would blend well with the castle and nature elements.
I wore an ivory boat necked fit and flare dress with lots of lace detail from Elegance Bridal Boutique in Skirlaugh. I loved the intricacy of the lace detail on the sleeves and wanted something that I wouldn’t have to keep pulling up all day. It was really important that I could bend down and pick up little children in it (which I practised a lot when trying on) because our wedding was full of our nieces and nephew. I decided not to wear any hair accessories other than a veil so that the focus was on the detail of the dress.
Sam’s brother Joe wore a matching suit with different colour tie and shoes and my sister Rachel wore a lovely one shoulder dress from Coast. It was a beautiful pastel purple and gave her lots of room to pick up her two children and carry them down the aisle.
Our six nieces wore some really pretty dresses from Monsoon. They were pastel pink with little flowers on and some pink sparkly shoes. Jack our nephew wore a really cute suit from Monsoon with some cool trainers from Next. He was very proud of his outfit!
Ian Wallace was our photographer and he was fantastic. He was recommended to us by a work colleague who is his close friend so I was initially reluctant to ask him but once we’d seen his images and style we knew he’d be great. We really didn’t want a photo album full of forced smiles and standing in a line so Ian was a perfect choice for us. Ian was really relaxed and made us both comfortable. Our pre-wedding photo shoot really helped and I’d recommend it to anyone. He worked really hard on the day and had a lot of little people to try and capture as well as us! We love the relaxed and genuine feel of the photos he’s given us. I think his quote on his photography blog was ‘you broke me a little bit that day, but it was worth it’.
My flowers were from The Flower Shop in Easingwold. Again we wanted a really relaxed style and I wanted it to look like I’d just swept them up off the woodland floor (Disney style). It was a collection of woodland type flowers and herbs including rosemary, lavender and thyme, which smelt amazing!
We used the same florist to decorate our table centrepiece jam jars with similar flowers to my bouquet. Lots of our decorations were loans or bits and pieces that already had a meaning to them.
All the centrepieces were placed on a tree trunk base that our lovely friend chopped down and sliced for us for a wedding gift. We wanted each table to be slightly different, so used different types of jars and candles. Each table had a champagne bottle with a candle or flower in (we used bottles that we received as gifts for our engagement so they all had a special meaning. The smaller ones were from the travel company Kuoni where we booked our honeymoon). Our chairs were hired from Blacks, they provided a very efficient service.
For our favours we decided to go down the lucky in love route and give everyone a scratch card – I was convinced we would make someone (hopefully us) millionaires. For my nieces I made them each a locket with their initials in to thank them for being our flower girls. Jack got a good old fashioned whoopee cushion for his page boy duties! For all their support we also gave special gifts to our parents and siblings.
Our cake was a strange choice but reflected us both quite well! Early on I was determined for this wedding to be about both of us and wanted Sam to be expressed somewhere so what better way to do it than have a tractor cake! My brother’s long term girlfriend Chelsea, is a fantastic baker and offered her services to help make a cake. Two nights before the wedding, Chelsea had spent all day perfecting our orange flavoured tractor cake and all looked good. Then my dad arrived with the trailer he had made to house the children’s animal cupcakes (also made by Chelsea) and the tractor to trailer ratio was all off – our tractor looked like a little toy next a giant trailer! I will always remember that night, sat on Tesco’s cake aisle floor, with my mum, laughing and trying to piece together a tractor shape out of fruit cake and Madeira slabs to make a bigger tractor! In the end, we had two tractors, the small handmade one’s fate was a prize for the children’s dance competition so all’s well that ends well. Chelsea also made gorgeous cupcakes for us to have a more traditional style tower with a bride and groom.
For our wedding meal we chose a typical Yorkshire main of beef and Yorkshire pudding because Sam wouldn’t have had it any other way. We had Eton mess for desert. We had Pimms straight after the wedding because it’s one of my favourite drinks.
My four brothers are all talented musicians so we were really pleased when they agreed to play for our wedding evening. I don’t think we’ve ever seen our dad more proud! A DJ was part of the wedding package so he also played later on into the night – his only requests being from our 3-year-old nieces to play ‘Let it Go’ again! As part of our invitation and RSVP, we’d asked our guests to give us a song to add to our playlist. This way we could cater for everyone’s tastes and ensure everyone had at least something they could shake to!
Special touches to the wedding included two of my brothers playing me down the aisle, which was a really heart-warming and special experience. My dad built an amazing photo prop of a moon and clouds with starry background. Instead of a guest book, we decided to have a guest tree. We left tags for people to hang their wishes/ message/ advice on. Because we left for our honeymoon the day after it was really nice to come home and read all the messages people had left. We’ve saved the message in our photo album to look back on and our blossom tree is now planted in the garden to grow over the years. If we move, it’s coming with us!
We’d recommend our wedding venue to anyone. The staff were always helpful and on the day just seemed to merge into the background. The grounds and castle are beautiful for photos and gives you and your guests the space for an escape if needed.
It’s really hard to pin point a certain part of the day as a favourite because it was all a genuinely beautiful day. Spending time with family is a massive part of our lives and I never feel more at peace when I’m surrounded by them so my whole day was lovely. I enjoyed getting ready and having my family and the children there.
Before the wedding, we’d both seen the actual ceremony as something that just needed to be done to get married but actually this part was amazing and really special. The personal parts always make things more special and laughing during our vows about respect will always be memorable! The speeches were also fantastic. My dad always has a way of entertaining a crowd so a detailed description of my conception was a must in his book!
There was a ten minute period later on in the evening where we both snuck off outside to have a few minutes to ourselves. Sneakily Ian had managed to find us! But we didn’t know he was there so now we just have the photo to remind us.
We booked our honeymoon late and decided on a trip around Sri Lanka followed by a week in the Maldives, which was pure heaven. Sri Lanka was full of culture and a wonderful experience. We spent time in various places and it was quite fast paced so we were both ready for a bit of rest and relaxation in the Maldives. It really was a once in a lifetime experience.
My top tips to other brides up north is when planning, don’t get bogged down with little logistical issues – on the day they really won’t matter. Always be true to what you want to do as a couple – there are so many ways to do a wedding, just make sure yours is your way. On the day, make sure you find a few moments to stand back and watch what a beautiful day you’ve created full the people you love the most. And really consider a videographer – we originally decided not to have one however, the night before the wedding Sam’s grandma feel ill and unfortunately her and his granddad were unable to attend the wedding. Thankfully, a lovely friend stepped in a filmed the whole day which we all watched as a united family when she was well again. When your wedding is over, you’ll want as many memories of it as possible.
January 21st, 2015 | Julia Braime
Jancis and Casey’s choice of wedding venue was all about the memories – a special place that they could share with their friends and family on their special day and for years to come.
It’s one of our favourite venues here at Brides Up North HQ too and you can join us for our beautiful wedding exhibition here in April, but for now, let’s celebrate Jancis and Casey’s ‘catch of the day’.
With images by Lissa Alexandra Photography.
jancis says: Just after we met Casey promised that he would one day take me to Rome. Three years later we still hadn’t made it so while we were planning what to do for our anniversary I decided to have a look at flights. I never thought they would be reasonably priced but it worked out less than we could have spent on petrol if we had stayed in the UK. I floated the idea to Casey and with one thought of pizza and Peroni he was sold! We booked the tickets and off we went to a destination I had only dreamed of!
After three days seeing the amazing sights and eating fabulous food it was our third anniversary. We spent the day doing all the things we had wanted to do. We went to Castel Sant’angelo in the morning which had the most spectacular views of the Vatican City. Then walked down to watch the Pope hold his service and went up to St Peters Basillica. Casey had thought about proposing at the top but after the 320 steps and around 100 other people squeezed up there he decided against it.
After spending most of the day on our feet we decided to go back to the hotel room for a rest and to get ready for a lovely meal to celebrate our anniversary. We got all dressed up in our best clothes and Casey asked me to open a bottle of prosecco. We toasted three years together and Casey sat me down on the edge of the bed and started talking about how thankful he was and how much he had enjoyed the past three years. Before I knew it he was down on one knee asking me to marry him. I didn’t need to think about it the words just spilled out: “Of course I will!”
We were married on 25th May 2014. We chose this date as it was a bank holiday Sunday and we were asking our guests to travel from far and wide across the UK and the world to celebrate with us. We knew this would mean most of them wouldn’t need to take too much time off work, if any at all, or like us, they would be able to make the celebration into a week long holiday.
We were married at The Alnwick Garden, It is one of our favourite places to visit. Casey first took me there on a spur of the moment weekend away. I has been having a really hard time at work and got home one Friday night to him looking up b&b’s in Northumberland, a place I’d never been. He whisked me away to Warkworth, a village we have both now fallen in love with, for the weekend and decided to make the trip the gardens for the day. We both love that it is a charity, run by donations from other people who love to visit and enjoy the flowers and of course the fountain.
We wanted a venue where we felt like we were contributing to the local community and somewhere in the future we will be able to take our children and relive our special day.
We had been to a wedding in America the year before where the bride and groom had their first look before the ceremony. The photos were very personal and it meant that they got to spend their cocktail hour with their guests. Casey and I decided to do the same. Around 3 miles from our venue is a beach where we have spent a lot of time. We decided to head down there before the ceremony and have a first look moment. We took our wedding party to the beach and one of the bridesmaids cleared the area for us. A group of people started forming so it wasn’t the most intimate moment however it felt special and we will always have the memories of that moment.
The style we went for came from the venue we chose. The Garden is full of bright colours and earthy tones so we chose green, white and brown for our wedding colours inspired by the plants, the water and the hessian sacks the compost came in. Then when I found my dress I knew we had to include lace in the wedding and it added that much needed feminine touch to our plans.
We brought the garden inside with our centre pieces which we made ourselves, in fact almost all of the decorations were made by us. The table squares were hand cut and the lace added by Casey, the centre piece boxes were made by Casey, painted by me and planted together (the flowers from each box are now planted in gardens around the UK!), the bunting was homemade, the signs were homemade and even the favours too!
Less than a month after we were engaged I spotted a dress in Debenhams and decided to try it on just for fun. As soon as I put it on I felt beautiful and graceful (something I’m usually not!) and with the manageable price tag I bought it there and then. When I returned home I excitedly called my mum, unfortunately she was fairly disappointed she hadn’t been there so insisted she take me shopping with my bridesmaids so I could have the wedding dress shopping experience every mother dreams of having with her daughter. I agreed but told her I wouldn’t find one I liked as much.
On the day it felt like I tried on every dress in the shop so the lady who was helping me asked for three words to describe what I was looking for, “elegant, fishtail and lacy” I replied. The lady wouldn’t let me look in the mirror as she dressed me so when I walked out of the dressing room I hadn’t seen what I looked like. All of my bridesmaids were speechless and my mum burst into tears. A pretty good reaction when you don’t know what you’re wearing!
Unfortunately the dress was strapless and I didn’t like that feature so for the next half hour the shop assistants brought me lace, ribbon and readymade straps to try on with it. None felt right so I came away with just the dress and a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach that even though it was the one, it wasn’t. It took me another 12 months to find the right material to make straps but I loved them when I did.
I carried a gypsophila and hydrangea bouquet tied with brown string and green ribbon which matched my bridesmaids’ dresses. They were supplied by Simply Flowers of Alnwick.
My bridesmaids wore a long, strapless green chiffon dress which was bought over the internet from a specialist bridesmaid dress designer.
I knew the most important part of the wedding, apart from getting married of course, for me was the photographer. I am an amateur photographer myself and have photographed a few friends weddings so I knew that I wanted the best of the best to photograph my wedding. I first saw Lissa’s work at a wedding fair in Leeds and fell in love immediately and knew I had to have this person as my photographer. When Lissa came back to the stand she was so lovely and helpful we booked her there and then. Other than getting married in the first place it was the best decision we made!
She was fabulous in the run up to, on the day and afterwards. I would recommend her to anyone looking for a wedding photographer. My guests really enjoyed her company, she made everyone feel at ease and she captured moments that most people didn’t even notice happened. We couldn’t have asked for a better service!
We spent the afternoon before the wedding with a select few of our guests dressing the venue so it was exactly how we wanted it to be. All the effort was worth it, we love how it turned out and the small touches are what our family and friends still talk about!
My brother has set up his own upcycling business and made our ceremony décor, the bulbs with flowers in where his own creation and beautiful they looked too!
We gave out mini shot bottles filled with flavoured vodka. Casey and I met while working at Revolution Bar in Lancaster. Casey was the assistant manager there and I was working on the bar so it felt appropriate to incorporate that into our wedding somehow. We bought the vodka from the actual vodka factory where Revolution make the different flavours of vodka that they sell in their bars and decanted it into smaller bottles. It went down a storm with most of the guests although some found the flavours a little strong for them!
We chose a four layer cake: chocolate, lemon and raspberry, red velvet and fruit cake. All of which are our favourite flavours – we couldn’t choose between them. Our cake was made as a gift by Casey’s cousin Leanne. She is a professional cake maker and brought it all the way from Reading for us! She decorated it in a new style she hadn’t tried before for us so but I think you’ll agree she did an excellent job!
We had been to a wedding a few years ago where they had a live band, after having a brilliant time we decided this was the way forward for us. We spent hours on the internet listening to previews of different bands and finally found a band that made us want to dance.
The Shakedown Band North East made our wedding incredibly special. They kept the dance floor full for the whole evening and we have had numerous people come to us asking for their contact details. We would highly recommend them for a great night of dancing!
Our bridesmaids and a few friends decided to surprise us with a flashmob! They recorded a video and sent it to various family members and friends. On the night they sat us down and on came the three bridesmaids singing the first lines to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” gradually other people joined in and eventually the whole dance floor was filled with our nearest and dearest singing to us.
It was brilliant and the first moment I actually took stock of what the whole day meant to us. All we had wanted was to have the people we loved around us as we made a commitment to each other. Only when we saw how much effort they had gone through for us did we truly realise what they all meant to us.
The venue was stunning- in the day time you felt like you were part of the garden and in the evening with the venue and fountain lit up it felt like being transported into a fairy tale.
We enjoyed all the parts of the garden from the ornamental garden with its huge cast iron gates to the meadow of purple flowers and the castle turrets which make up the garden walls. Each area adds a different feature to the photographs we had taken and allowed our guests to take some time away from the festivities to explore.
My favourite part of the day was hammering the nails into our “Love letter Box”. A box filled with a bottle of wine we bought the day we were engaged and a love letter from each of us. We plan to only open the box if we get to the point of no return or on our 35th wedding anniversary.
Casey says his favourite part of the day was seeing me for the first time on the beach. He said it was a relief that I’d turned up and the first moment he felt calm all day.
We went to Disney World in Florida for the first week of our honeymoon. We like to have fun so decided to “do Disney” one last time. The second week we spent at my aunt’s house in Clearwater, Florida relaxing – if you can call it that! We hired a car, played golf, went sightseeing up and down the coast, and ate out far too many times. The third week we went to the Kennedy Space Centre and Universal Studios.
We had a lot of fun but felt like we needed another holiday afterwards!
Our top tip for other Brides Up North is to take ten minutes together during the evening reception to have a walk through the garden and have a drink together. One of our friends found me and told me to go and find Casey to do this – it was a brilliant tip and I would recommend this to anyone who is getting married. You are pulled in so many directions all day on your wedding day that spending a small amount of time with your husband to reflect on the day is invaluable.
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