Charlotte Balbier

vintage vision. augusta jones for a sweet village hall wedding in the north west – claire & matt

August 17th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (23)

Wow, where to start with today’s village hall wedding? It’s absolutely gorgeous, from the bride’s bargain wedding dress to the pretty afternoon tea reception, and all that’s in-between!

As they were footing the bill for the wedding themselves, Claire and Matt where careful to stick to their budget, looking for areas in which they could make savings but without cutting corners, whilst also calling in favours from family and friends along the way.

Their vintage vision came together perfectly and provides so much inspiration for couples wanting to follow in similar themed footsteps. So let’s take a closer look at the pretty…

With images by Andrew Keher Photography.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (7)

claire says: We got engaged on my 30th birthday in November 2013 while in Belfast. I was born in Northern Ireland and my family still live there so Matt wanted to take me home to get engaged. Matt managed to plan the whole thing and keep it a secret – I had no idea! Throughout the day we arrived Matt was secretly recording little videos and pictures and sent them to an email account he set up for me. He later told me he had the ring with him all day but couldn’t find the right moment to ask the big question. He decided to ask me on my birthday so when I woke up he showed me the email account and got me to read all the messages he’d sent through. When I got to the final one he was down on one knee and before I knew it had asked me to marry him. We were both in tears at this point – it was perfect! Plus he chose ‘the ring’ I’d seen – a vintage 1920s engagement ring that was in a local jewellers, Mr Allan’s. Every time we went past we would look at it but then one day I noticed it had been sold – I was sad until I realised he’d saved up and bought it for me!

We set the date for 6th June 2015. We’d been together for nine years on the 4th June 2015 so this was the closest date we could get to that.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (1)

We got married at our church, St Oswald and St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic Church in Ashton-in-Makerfield. We both went to the high school there and some of Matt’s relatives are buried in the church grounds so it has a special connection for us. It’s a beautiful church – the photos from Andy really show off the church at its best. We chose Dunham Massey Village Hall for our reception as we love the area and the nearby National Trust Park. We also loved that it gave us the freedom to do what we wanted with the space. The price was so reasonable it was perfect for us as we were paying for the whole wedding ourselves.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (5)

We went with a vintage theme but it wasn’t really a conscious thing – we just love everything vintage! We were really keen on having afternoon tea which lends itself to the vintage theme really well.

We didn’t really have a set colour scheme. The colour came from the flowers – when we met Clare from The Flower Farm we decided on seasonal flowers with pinks, purples and blues to add some colour to the venue.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (11)

I was set on a dress in a vintage style. I knew I wanted lace and tried on a few styles before I found ‘the one’! I tried Ali by Augusta Jones in a local bridal shop and knew instantly it was the one but it was way out of my budget – £2,000! I tried to find something similar on the high street but couldn’t get this dress out of my mind. In the end I found it for sale for £600 on eBay and arranged with the seller to go and try it on. I would recommend that anyone buying second hand does the same and be 100% sure you’re happy with it before you hand over any money.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (16)

To go with the dress, I wanted some shoes that were special so I knew I’d find something from Rachel Simpson. The Gardenia style in powder blue were just what I wanted and were so comfortable to wear – I kept them on all day. I kept my accessories really simple with a pair of drop pearl earrings from Marks & Spencer and my engagement ring.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (18)

Matt was keen to wear something a little different and special for the big day. After a ‘few’ shopping trips he eventually found his suit in Reiss – the Claymore. After that nothing compared so it had to be that one. He paired this with a slim fit shirt from TM Lewin, navy bow tie from Red Herring, navy braces from Next and tan brogues from Autograph at Marks & Spencer. Matt’s best man wore a navy suit and shirt from Next.

My bridesmaids wore a dress from Debut at Debenhams – it fitted both of them perfectly and was a great find! The silver shrug was from Monsoon.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (24)

We booked a vintage double decker bus from Belle Vue Coaches in Stockport as our transport. I travelled with my bridesmaids and mum to the church in the bus and then we travelled down to the venue after the wedding. Alan the bus driver was a legend – he managed to navigate the small country roads to get us all there in one piece.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (37)

Andrew Keher was our photographer and I would 100% recommend him! Andy was amazing on the day and was fab throughout the whole process of booking and our engagement shoot. Andy does natural really well, we didn’t want to have lots of group shots but wanted to remember those little moments throughout the day. That’s what Andy does so well and after the wedding he posted little sneak peeks to Facebook which kept us going until we received our wooden box in the post. He puts so much thought into what he does and really cares about the whole experience for the couples he works with. Just amazing – money well spent!

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (28)

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (39)

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (32)

On the wedding day I carried a bouquet of wild flowers from The Flower Farm. It was beautiful, smelled amazing and Clare put some peonies in there too, which are my favourite flowers!

To decorate, we bought three buckets of wild flowers from Clare. We had jam jars on the tables so this allowed us to create a rustic feel to the arrangements. Clare also made the bridesmaids bouquets, some flower hair clips and all of the buttonholes. We also bought 100 stems of gypsophila, which we suspended from the ceiling.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (42)

Our venue dresser Harri Bradburn came up with some lovely ideas for the venue which included a little area for our guests where they could take a picture using an Instax camera or write us a message using the typewriter. On the tables she put some advice cards for our guests to give us advice for a happy marriage. There were some interesting ones! Harri spent so much time on the little details that really made the difference on the day.

The room just looked stunning! We had lots of bunting, lace panels with fairy lights and lots of jam jars! Our friends were very generous and we borrowed some beautiful pieces to use in the venue. My friend Kath loaned us the tea trolley that the cake sat on and the stepladders that were adorned with flowers on the stage. At my hen do my friends gave me some little trinkets that we used to dress the venue on the day. My bridesmaids both had some keepsakes made for us so we used those as well. It was lovely to include those little personal touches.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (40)

For our wedding cake we wanted Victoria sponge (as we both love it) and we were really keen on having tiered naked cake. We met with Annalise from One Sweet Day who immediately understood what we wanted. It was even better that I expected and the bunting was a gorgeous finishing touch. It was delicious too!

We knew early on that we wanted afternoon tea for our wedding meal – we’ve become a bit obsessed! My friend Wendy (from work) and Anne were the perfect choice as this is their forte! They also provided all of the vintage china that our guests used. We met with them a few times to decide what we were going to have – the lemon drizzle cake is their speciality and went down a treat on the day!  We also love pizza so early in the planning process we found a few companies that have pizza vans. We knew we had to have one so we contacted Honest Crust who were so lovely and provided us with the best pizza’s we’ve had. The salads were also delicious and went down well. We bought the wine from Majestic Wines and went with a Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinot Blush. Matt was in charge of beer and contacted Dunham Massey Brewery to order a keg of their Summer Meadow ale and cider for our guests. This went down really well especially with the men attending!

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (31)

At the reception Matt and I decided to have a sweetheart table. We were so happy we did this as it gave us some time to ourselves to catch up after the wedding. Everyone says your wedding day goes so fast but I think this helped us to have a moment for just us.

In terms of entertainment, Matt’s mum arranged for the Haydock Male Voice Choir to sing at the church. We chose a few songs for them to sing: Embraceable You, Cwm Rhondda and a few others – everyone was in tears as it was so emotional and sounded amazing.

For the reception we had an outdoor seating area with some hay bales and outdoor games and we booked a DJ, Paul Leffler, on recommendation from one of our friends. We gave him a list of songs we love and he managed to fit them all in and get everyone up dancing. Our first dance was When I Fall in Love by Nat King Cole – we loved that it is a classic and suited us as a couple.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (44)

Others fab suppliers we used on the day included Nicola at Johnson Hairdressing Group in Wigan, who did mine and my bridesmaids’ hair and our makeup was done by the fantastic Mika Johnson. We hired our folding wooden chairs from The Chairman Company, who were very reasonably priced and provided easy delivery to the venue. Our wedding rings were from Mr Allan, the same jewellers that Matt bought my engagement ring from. Matt had his grandad’s ring re-sized and I had a white gold band specially made to fit the round shape of my ring. Our confetti was from Shropshire Petals – we went with the Vintage Daydream mix, which I think this summed up the day perfectly!

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (51)

We would recommend our wedding venue to other couples that want control over what they do on their big day. The location is in the lovely village of Dunham Massey and has some outdoor space that can be used as well. Andrew, the caretaker is so helpful and lives next door so was on hand if we needed any help. I was amazed when we were looking at venues how much money couples are charged for various things (corkage, cake cutting etc.) so if you want to save some money this is a really good way to do it.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (45)

Meeting Matt at the top of the altar was my favourite moment of the day – it was all worth it at that point. I was close to tears all the way up the aisle but managed to keep it together. Matt said his favourite moment was when we were outside on the hay bales with all of our friends.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (46)

We haven’t been on our honeymoon yet but we’re planning on going to Italy at the end of September. We want to go to Florence, Rome and then spend some time on the Amalfi Coast. We’re really looking to it – with all the saving for the wedding we’ve not been away for years! We did manage to get a few nights away after the wedding to chill out. We stayed at The Drawing Room in Powys.

Everyone says this but my top tip to other Brides Up North is to do what makes you happy as a couple – it’s your day. It was a little easier for us to do this as we paid for the wedding so we didn’t feel obliged but I think there are ways to get what you want while keeping everyone else happy. And make sure you have some time to just you on the day.

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big hats & high jinks. a papakata wedding in york – hazel & adam

August 3rd, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Pretty Papakata Wedding in York (c) JB Creatives (46)

Hazel and Adam stamped their personalities all over their unique & beautiful wedding under canvas, and that’s just the way we like it here at Brides Up North.

What better way to start the week than a wedding involving lots of pretty touches, vintage finds, brilliant blooms and a first night spent sleeping in a chicken hat… oh, yes.  Read on, read on…

With images by Brides Up North sponsor JB Creatives.

A Pretty Papakata Wedding in York (c) JB Creatives (13)

hazel says: We got engaged in a wine bar in London, the day before we went on holiday. My sister had just come back from a year in Canada, and as hard as Adam tried to get rid of her, we hadn’t seen each other in ages, so in the end he had to tell her to go and wait in the toilets while he proposed!

A Pretty Papakata Wedding in York (c) JB Creatives (17)

We were married on October 4th 2014 – we wanted to get married while Adam’s sister who lives in New Zealand was back in the country. We got married in St. Helen’s church in Escrick, just outside of York. We absolutely loved the church, and it was close to where we held our reception. Helen at Escrick Park was absolutely fantastic, as were Papakata who provided the teepees. They both did such a great job of making our day so special, perfect and unique to us.

Our venue was a field – this meant that we could choose absolutely every detail ourselves and make our day exactly as we wanted. It meant some very long days in the run up, and I never expected my wedding to include a lesson in how to run a generator or heavy lifting of fridges, but it was 100% worth it!

A Pretty Papakata Wedding in York (c) JB Creatives (25)

We didn’t want a strict style or colour scheme – just things that we liked. I guess you could say that we went for a vintage theme, but really we just picked the things that we thought looked nice! We deliberately avoided a strict colour scheme, and just went with pastels where colour was required.

A Pretty Papakata Wedding in York (c) JB Creatives (32)

I chose a lace wedding dress from an outlet in Northallerton. I didn’t want to spend a fortune on a dress I knew would inevitably end up covered in grass and mud – which it did!

Adam wore suit trousers, a shirt and waistcoat from Next. He tried on a couple of suits but they looked too formal and we wanted a more relaxed style.

The groomsmen wore the same as Adam, but with different coloured ties, and I only had my sister as a bridesmaid. This made it much easier, and she just picked a dress that she liked!

A Pretty Papakata Wedding in York (c) JB Creatives (38)

We hired VW campervans to sleep in at the teepees, and ended up using one to transport me to the church too. They were from The Campervan Company in Thirsk.

A Pretty Papakata Wedding in York (c) JB Creatives (50)

Jane Beadnell from JB Creatives was our photographer, she was absolutely fantastic from start to finish and she takes brilliant photos. She did an amazing job and captured our day perfectly in a style that really suited the wedding itself. We had so many lovely comments from our guests about how hard she worked and the lovely photos.

A Pretty Papakata Wedding in York (c) JB Creatives (55)

My bouquet was made up predominantly of roses, hydrangea, and freesias. The flowers were provided by another friend – Sarah Richardson at Leafy Couture, she also did an amazing job, with our very limited knowledge of flowers and vague descriptions of what we liked!

The flowers for the reception were also provided by Leafy Couture – again lots of roses and freesias – in mini milk bottles on the tables. We also decorated with lots of home made bunting.

A Pretty Papakata Wedding in York (c) JB Creatives (67)

Adam was in charge of the favours – he had a boy’s night in and made them all! Everyone had a big bag of marshmallows to toast on the open fires, and a jar of hot chocolate to take home and help them through the morning after!

We had an afternoon tea, so rather than more cake we had wheels of cheese provided by Love Cheese in York. We are both big cheese fans, and we served it up after the afternoon tea with a glass of port (or 3!) – so it was great to see the guests tucking into it.

A Pretty Papakata Wedding in York (c) JB Creatives (63)

Katie & Maz at The Flax & Twine in York provided our catering – they were amazing, providing solutions to Adam’s crazy ideas and stopping him when they got out of control – he desperately wanted to make and serve crepes to all 130 guests personally!! In the end we settled for afternoon tea, followed by the cheese from our “cake” then later in the evening we had a hogroast provided by The Hog & Apple in York, and finally a waffle station – dreamt up by Adam and spectacularly brought to life by Katie & Maz from their vintage caravan… amazing! We provided all of the drinks, the wine was Cono Sur Bicicleta because Adam works in a bike shop and all of the bottles had a bicycle on them, and then we put on four beers – two from North Wales where my dad’s family is from, and two from the local York Brewery!

A Pretty Papakata Wedding in York (c) JB Creatives (62)

We tried to have lots of special touches – we painstakingly collected all of the crockery for the afternoon tea, and it included a set my granny was given as a wedding present over 60 years ago! We made lots of things too, all of the bunting, the bar, the photo booth, the coconut shy, the table plan was made of ladders covered in things that were important to us both, and the typewriter we used to write the invitations and sewing machine that made all of the bunting made an appearance too!

A Pretty Papakata Wedding in York (c) JB Creatives (70)

In the evening we had a ceilidh provided by the Dark Horse Ceilidh Band from Harrogate – they were great fun, then we hooked up the ipod for the rest of the evening.

A Pretty Papakata Wedding in York (c) JB Creatives (74)

The whole day was amazing, but the end was our favourite. We waved off our last guests on to a coach at 1am, and then had the teepee all to ourselves to reflect on the day. We were meant to sleep in the campervan, but Adam forgot to bring the duvet and the keys went home with a guest. By this point, it was pretty cold in the teepees, so I slept in my wedding dress, Adam slept in his suit, and then we raided the fancy dress box from our photo booth for extra warmth. I’m pretty sure there are no other brides that can claim to have spent their wedding night in their dress, an army camouflage jacket and a chicken hat!

A Pretty Papakata Wedding in York (c) JB Creatives (80)

Straight after the wedding we spent a week in the Dales in the camper van we had hired – mostly catching up on sleep and recovering from doing so much in the run up to the wedding. We then had 2 weeks in South Africa in January which was absolutely fantastic – the highlight of which was a 2 night stay in a tree house.

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be don’t leave too much to the last minute! The night before the wedding I was up late refining the ipod playlist, and Adam arrived at the church with the decorations after the guests did! Ooops!

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wild at heart. a shabby chic wedding at chester zoo – sam & dan

July 28th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (42)

Yes you read right, for today’s wedding we’re heading to Chester Zoo to relive Sam and Dan’s gorgeous big day.

Despite how it might sound there were no ‘I dos’ in the lion den or drinks reception in the elephant enclosure, for Chester Zoo has a stunning manor house in its grounds, which is available for ceremonies and receptions.

Not only is this wedding incredibly beautiful, thanks to Sam’s love of all things shabby chic, but it also looks incredibly fun, with guests smiling, laughing and generally having a fab time in the somewhat unusual setting.

But enough from us, we’ll let you see the wild and wonderful day for yourselves.

With images by Yana Photography.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (1)

sam says: We got engaged in January 2012, while we were in Madrid. Dan had the proposal planned for a while and I didn’t have a clue. I knew we were going to Madrid but thought it was just for a bit of sightseeing. Dan was trying to pop the question down a cute little street but I was too busy looking around so instead he asked me once we got back to the apartment, after a lovely meal out.

We decided to set the wedding date for 16th May 2015 as we thought it would be a good time of year weather wise.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (4)

We got married at Chester Zoo, in the Oakfield Manor House. Dan come across the zoo as a wedding venue on the internet and as we didn’t want a traditional wedding, we thought it would be perfect for us. Which it was. We live quite close to Chester so it was an ok distance to travel for us and our guests.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (6)

The theme and colour scheme for the wedding was ‘pastel shabby chic’. I love everything and anything vintage so the styling was always going to be along these lines and pastel colours work really well for a shabby chic wedding.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (7)

My dress was from First Lady Bridal in Wrexham. It was the second dress I tried on and fell in love with it straight away, it made me feel amazing. I always knew what kind of dress I wanted and it was just perfect. The dress was full length ivory, fitted, fishtail style, with a huge train. It was full lace with pretty beading detail. My veil, with full lace trim, was the best bargain of wedding – an eBay bargain! My shoes were a light pink/salmon colour from Kurt Geiger.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (25)

Dan wore a navy fitted suit from Matalan, waistcoat from Next, shoes from Zara and a navy and white floral printed tie that really worked with the theme, which was from Primark. All the groomsmen were in matching suits, again from Matalan.

I only had one bridesmaid, my 13-year-old sister. She wore a light blue maxi dress, with multi-coloured floral print all over, from ASOS. She had pastel pink shoes and belt to match.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (30)

My mum arranged the transport for me as a gift. I had a Jaguar to travel in, which was hired from RB Wedding Cars, Wrexham.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (33)

Our photographer was Yana Photography, who we would definitely recommend. Yana was really friendly and helpful with family and friends, and the pictures look amazing!

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (51)

Flowers were provided by Vivid Floral Design in Wrexham. My bouquet was made up of beautiful pinks, blues, pastel coloured peonies, roses, gypsophila, gerbera among other flowers. I went for a meadow look. My bridesmaid’s bouquet was a mini version of mine, we both had lace and hessian wrapped around to carry on the theme.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (50)

All venue decorations were either made by myself, friends or family. I had a very DIY approach to the wedding which fitted the shabby chic theme really well. Decoration wise I had hessian table runners, and chair bows, ditsy print napkins, engraved wooden table numbers made by a friend, bunting made by myself and a friend, jam jars dotted with hessian and lace trim filled with flowers, tea cups and jugs filled with flowers and our name places were little flags with different floral/ ditsy print, which were made by a friend.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (9)

Our favours were Tunnocks Tea cakes. They worked well with theme and looked really cute.

We didn’t have a traditional wedding cake to cut, but instead a dessert table for guests to help themselves. My friend (Button Bakes) is amazing at baking so I asked if she would make a lovely selection of cakes: classic Victoria sponge, chocolate cake with raspberries and lemon cupcakes.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (11)

To provide the evening entertainment, we hired a DJ called Steve Lewis Entertainments, from Chester. My friends, family and I absolutely love dancing so I wanted someone who was going to play amazing music all night for us to not stop dancing. And that’s exactly what happened – lots of dance offs!

For extra entertainment we had a sweet stall for guests and a dress up corner, which was lots of fun.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (53)

As a special touch on the day my brother played the guitar for when I walked down the aisle and after the ceremony. Also, our wedding rings were specially made using my mum and dad’s wedding rings. My dad passed away before I was born, so this was something my mum suggested. A really lovely idea and they mean so much to us.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (61)

We would absolutely recommend our wedding venue to other couples. The staff were amazing on day, everything went perfect. The venue is absolutely stunning inside and the guests have the zoo to keep themselves busy. No bored guests at all.

It’s so hard to pick a favourite part of the day but I would have to say the ceremony itself was amazing, a lot more emotional than I thought. I also loved the first dance, it was perfect – I felt so happy and in love. We keep playing the song in the car all the time, as I want to relive that moment over and over again.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (63)

Following the wedding we had a short minimoon – a five day break in a log cabin in Keldy Forest, Yorkshire, which included a hot tub, prosecco and lots of food. We just wanted to completely chill out. We took our dog with us too, our little family getaway. Perfection.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (56)

My top tips to other Brides Up North would be to look around for bargains and do as much DIY as possible, it adds an extra touch and nobody else will have anything like it. But the main thing is, do what you both want. It’s your day so make it perfect for the both of you! It will be the best day ever so take it all in, as it will be over before you know it. I was crying at the end of our night because I didn’t want the night to end and our guests to leave.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (67)

Our day was made perfect thanks to the amazing help we had from family and friends. All my girls chipped in and paid for us to stay in the Double Tree Hilton Chester for the wedding night and they had the room decorated for when we arrived. My two best friends made a video of how Dan and I got together, which we loved – it was so funny. My mum, sister, nan and family members did a surprise routine to Beyoncé for me. They’d been meeting up for months in secret and doing rehearsals – this was the best wedding gift ever! Finally, I had my grandad and step dad give me away.

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the roaring 20s. enzoani for a pretty wedding in chester – rachel & mike

July 22nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Pretty Wedding with Art Deco Touches (c) Ragdoll Photography (48)

With a clear eye for design, today’s bride Rachel, used her creative skills to put the all-important finishing touches to her wedding inspired by the roaring 1920s.

Her stunning Enzoani dress, with amazing back detail, helped to set the theme which Rachel then built upon by designing her own signage and stationery using silent movie and art deco influences.

A soft colour scheme of cornflower blue and yellow complements the men’s grey suits and helps to tie all elements together resulting in a well styled big day.

With images by Ragdoll Photography.

A Pretty Wedding with Art Deco Touches (c) Ragdoll Photography (8)

rachel says: We got engaged on 13th June 2014 at Queen’s Bridge in Chester. Mike had booked a night in Chester for our anniversary (the date we officially got together) and I had no idea he had a ring with him. He carried it around all day inside his phone case (I wondered why he looked uneasy when I borrowed his phone to take pictures) waiting for the perfect moment to propose. It eventually happened after dinner, we went for a stroll over the bridge. Mike had said that he’d been looking for the perfect moment, but nothing had felt right, then suddenly we were on that bridge, it was just us, the sun was going down and it was as if someone had just gone “there you go, this is the time and place”.

We decided to set the wedding date for 11th June 2015 – five years to the day from when we first met at the Isle of Wight Festival.

A Pretty Wedding with Art Deco Touches (c) Ragdoll Photography (11)

The ceremony was at St Mary’s Church, Halkyn, North Wales, which is my parents’ local church in the village where I grew up, and the reception at The Doubletree Hilton Hotel, Chester. We’ve stayed at the hotel a couple of times on special occasions and love it, but what sold it to us was the Abbey Suite – we’d been looking at converted barns for our reception and this had both the lovely modern hotel with the converted stables attached, plus beautiful grounds.

A Pretty Wedding with Art Deco Touches (c) Ragdoll Photography (14)

The theme was subtly based on 1920s. I love this era; the fashions, the crazy dancing, art deco styling etc. I think it oozes class and elegance. Luckily my favourite wedding dress was very 20s too so it followed on from there. From the 20s came the ‘silent movie’ idea – we used it in the design of our invitations and placemats/place settings and then carried it through in the chalkboard style table numbers and bunting.

Our colour scheme was cornflower blue and yellow. We wanted a summery, cheerful theme and it looked amazing against the blue sky and sunshine. Mike supports Everton too, which made it an easy choice for us both.

A Pretty Wedding with Art Deco Touches (c) Ragdoll Photography (18)

My dress was an Enzoani number. I didn’t want anything big or OTT and this particular dress struck me as simple and elegant with a touch of glamour and sparkle. It is 1920s inspired which suited our theme well. I chose it for those reasons but also because it struck me as so different from all of the dresses I’d seen. I bought it from Cheshire Rose Bridal, Chester. My shoes were by Rachel Simpson, my necklace, bracelet and earrings from Debenhams and my headpiece was also from Cheshire Rose Bridal.

A Pretty Wedding with Art Deco Touches (c) Ragdoll Photography (20)

Mike wore a light grey three piece suit from Reiss with a cornflower blue tie. He chose to buy a good suit over hiring tails as neither of us are huge fans of tails and he now has a very special suit to keep. Along with his suit he wore shoes by Jeffery West and a tie pin from The Little Homebird on Etsty, which was a gift from me. It was personalised with the coordinates of Queen’s Bridge where Mike proposed.

A Pretty Wedding with Art Deco Touches (c) Ragdoll Photography (28)

Our adult bridesmaids wore a light blue Biba maxi dress from House of Fraser and the flower girl had an ivory dress with blue ribbon from a local occasion wear shop. The groomsmen all had a three piece suit from Next and blue ties.

A Pretty Wedding with Art Deco Touches (c) Ragdoll Photography (24)

We used Grosvenor Classic Cars to transport us on the day of the wedding. Mike and I travelled in a blue and silver Beauford and the bridesmaids in a Daimler.

A Pretty Wedding with Art Deco Touches (c) Ragdoll Photography (25)

Rosie of Ragdoll photography was our photographer and she was brilliant, we would definitely recommend her! She put everyone at ease on the day with her fun, down to earth nature which resulted in a fun, relaxed series of photographs. She captured us and our family and friends and the essence of the day beautifully. I would recommend Rosie to anyone who wants a natural, relaxed, fun feel to their wedding album. We couldn’t have wished for better.  We also used Gray Weddings to film our big day. They were also amazing and so discreet you wouldn’t have known they were there. I can’t wait to see the video when it arrives to find out what we missed! They were so accommodating and flexible in our pre wedding meeting and on the day itself.

A Pretty Wedding with Art Deco Touches (c) Ragdoll Photography (29)

Fresh of Chester provided our flowers. The beautiful natural bouquets for the bridesmaids and I were made up of lovely blooms in yellow, blue and white.

The reception flowers by Fresh of Chester were placed in vintage vases, provided by Pollyanna Vintage who also provided vintage books and pearls for centre pieces and on the card table, along with a vintage suitcase for cards and a large picture frame with easel for the seating plan. Other knickknacks such as old cameras and photo frames I borrowed or bought from vintage and charity shops and my mum provided lots of candles! I’m a graphic designer and so made my own 1920s inspired signs for the guest book/photo booth instructions, cocktail menu, cake quote and ladies toilets perfume quote. I also designed our invites and save the dates, plus some unique placemats/place settings inspired by silent movie frames, through my company Racoon Graphic Design.

A Pretty Wedding with Art Deco Touches (c) Ragdoll Photography (30)

As favours we gave sweets from the past provided by Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe in personalised sweet bags.

Cake Chester provided our lovely wedding cake. It was a simple 1920s design, inspired by a combination of cakes I found in my search for the perfect cake! I made a feather brooch which they kindly added onto the front for me. The bottom tier was fruit cake and the top tier was Madeira sponge.

A Pretty Wedding with Art Deco Touches (c) Ragdoll Photography (34)

A Pretty Wedding with Art Deco Touches (c) Ragdoll Photography (33)

As entertainment we had a 1920s jazz band called 52 Skidoo who were great! They played upbeat jazz for a couple of hours and then the resident DJ played until 1am. He played all our favourite songs and finished with Hey Jude, which is really special to us as we met at The IOW Festival where Paul McCartney was the headline act. At the end we all linked arms in a big circle singing ‘Nah-nah-nah-nah…’ it was epic!

A Pretty Wedding with Art Deco Touches (c) Ragdoll Photography (39)

One special touch of the day was our first dance. Dancing is really dear to me so I wanted to really go for it! We learnt the Argentine Tango and danced it to Coldplay’s, Magic. The song starts with a 1920s introduction so I started with a Charleston as Mike stood and looked perplexed (intentional). We loved it.

A Pretty Wedding with Art Deco Touches (c) Ragdoll Photography (37)

We would definitely recommend The Doubletree as a venue to other couples, it’s an amazing setting. It has the best of both worlds – a lovely modern hotel and the gorgeous Abbey Suite (converted stables), perfect for photographs. The grounds are also beautiful. The staff on the day were brilliant, in particular the toast master. He couldn’t do enough for us. The venue was perfect for – smart and sophisticated but relaxed and not over the top.

A Pretty Wedding with Art Deco Touches (c) Ragdoll Photography (51)

I couldn’t possibly choose one moment from the wedding as my favourite but there are some moments in my head that stand out: coming down the stairs to my dad who was waiting to see me in my dress for the first time and travelling in the car with him to the church. The ceremony, we both surprisingly enjoyed that part more than we expected to. We didn’t feel nervous, just elated and excited and the vicar put everyone at ease and cracked a couple of jokes! And the speeches, they were all brilliant, funny and heartfelt in their own way.

A Pretty Wedding with Art Deco Touches (c) Ragdoll Photography (55)

We haven’t booked a honeymoon yet but we are hoping to go to New Zealand sometime in January next year with a stop off on the way.

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be don’t try to include everything you want on your wedding day. I had so many ideas, some I wasn’t able to make happen but they really didn’t matter on the day. Simplicity and personality are key. Think about who you are as a couple and how you would like your wedding to be remembered. Our guests all said what a ‘fun’ and ‘happy’ day it was and in hindsight we wouldn’t want it any other way. And, enjoy the day for what it is, a celebration of marriage with all of your favourite people.

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flower bomb. ian stuart for a winter celebration at crow hill – emily & mitchell

July 13th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (3)

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.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (15)
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!

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (10)
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.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (8)

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.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (2)

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (38)
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!

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (5)

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!

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (39)

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.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (12)
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!

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (20)

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.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (24)

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.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (23)

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.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (29)

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.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (45)
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.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (30)

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.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (33)
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.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (44)
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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