Charlotte Balbier

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

March 24th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

an elegant wedding at Rushpool Hall (c) Diamond Photography (31)

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

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

So let’s hear that engagement story…

With images by Brides Up North featured supplier Diamond Photography.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

an elegant wedding at Rushpool Hall (c) Diamond Photography (3)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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silver lining. a highly entertaining wedding at west tower – sally & simon

March 23rd, 2015 | Julia Braime

an entertaining wedding at West Tower by Jonny Draper Photography (66)

Having a good time was certainly high up on the priority list for today’s real wedding couple.

Sally and Simon planned their wedding date around securing the right entertainment for their big day in order to ensure the celebrations went with a bang.

Lots of singing, dancing, cocktails and a Jaeger train resulted in a fabulously fun wedding that went on into the small hours.

So it’s full steam ahead with today’s real wedding inspiration… cheers!

With images by Jonny Draper Photography.

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sally says: We got engaged on July 18th 2014. Simon took me and our dog Oscar for a walk up Rivington Pike, it’s all uphill and I nearly gave up half way up but he made me carry on. I’m so glad I did as when we reached the top he got down on one knee! He had a mini bottle of champagne with glass and a can of Stella in his back pack to celebrate! He chose there as we often visit and you can see the church where his dad is buried so it made it that little bit more special!

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We tied the knot on 7th February 2015, the date kind of picked us! We didn’t want a long engagement and always wanted a winter wedding so decided early 2015. The only thing that was a must was having Howard Wing as our entertainment, so it was a case of checking Howard’s diary along with the venues (and Bolton Wanderers fixtures!). I loved having the wedding so soon after the engagement, it meant I didn’t dwell on decisions and everyone’s excitement levels were high all the time!

We were married at Holy Trinity Church, Horwich as Simon’s dad is there. We then went on the have our reception at West Tower, Ormskirk. Years before I met Simon my sister was planning her wedding and was given the brochure by a friend, from that day I said it was where I wanted to get married. We thought it would be out of budget but we were allowed to tailor a package that suit our budget. Neither of us had ever been but we booked straight after our first visit!

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I wanted the theme of the wedding to be very simple and classic. I always wanted an all-white wedding and added a touch of silver to add a little sparkle!

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I wore an Ellis dress, style 11330 from Bridal Italia in Bolton, who were amazing! I always wanted lace strapless mermaid design and must have tried every lace strapless dress made! I wasn’t sure if I had made the right choice but I felt a million dollars on the day and wouldn’t change it! The in-house seamstress made so many changes to the dress to get it exactly as I wanted, covering the tulle neckline with matching lace and creating a deeper sweetheart. I always wanted a bolero to cover up at church so they made me a matching one from scratch. It was exactly what I had pictured in my mind! A few days before the wedding I decide to have a cathedral length veil which Bridal Italia altered to add extra lace down the edges – it gave the wow factor!

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Simon wore a navy three-piece suit from Next, my dress had polka dots within the tulle so he wore a spotty pocket square and a silver tie to match the bridesmaids!

The groomsmen wore matching two-piece suits to Simon but had polka dot navy ties. I had seven bridesmaids who all have their own styles and I wanted them all to love their dress and feel comfortable. So, I decided to go for a multiway dress where each girl could choose a style that suited them. They also had an optional lace bandeau. I encouraged them all to be different with hair, makeup and accessories so they felt amazing and they all did! The dresses were from Coralie Beatrix who sells on Esty.

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It took a team of people to get me and seven bridesmaids ready on the day! My hair was done by Paisley Gamble and make-up by Helen Cafferky, I cannot recommend both enough and will use them both again in the future.

We wanted to cut back on some expenses so decided my dad would drive me to church as he has a lovely car. I bought ribbons to put on and champagne for the journey to the venue. However! On the day just as I had put my dress on and was making my way downstairs my sister told me to look out the window, and there was a vintage silver car waiting! Her and my mum had surprised us, Simon didn’t know about it either until we left the church, he loved it!

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Our photographer was Jonny Draper. He was recommended to us by Howard Wing and as soon as I saw his blog I knew I had to have him! I can’t recommend Jonny enough, he’s great fun and completely put us at ease, he understood exactly what I wanted and the pictures are fantastic!

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My flowers were supplied by Sue Nunn, we were on the same page immediately! I carried a simple bouquet of white roses and I chose centrepieces in all white. She made the table arrangements propped on four test tube vases so views were not obstructed and we added lots of mini tea lights and vases all over the tables! To save a little I asked Sue to provide seven empty vases on the top table for my bridesmaid bouquets, they looked great and kept the flowers fresh to take home! I also hired petal table clothes and silver sequin runners from Gilded Linens for something a little different along with lace chair sashes from Princess4aday.

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As favours we decided to make a charity donation to two charities close to our hearts in remembrance of loved ones we have lost. I bought charity pins for the guests to take away with them.

I called in quite a few favours for the wedding, the cake being one! I left the whole cake design to one of my bridesmaids, Michelle, who had a friend at work that made individually designed cupcakes and a cutting cake. I didn’t see them until the day and they were a lovely surprise!

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One of our planning highlights was the food and wine tasting. We sampled several dishes and settled on butternut squash soup, chicken with a creamy leek and mushroom sauce (yum) and profiteroles. West Tower allowed us to tweak recipes to get exactly what we wanted. We were given so many wines to choose from and Brian spent a lot of time with us tailoring a drinks package to suit. We had several compliments on the red wine we chose! We chose two different beers for the reception drinks, Moretti and Budvar and a Kir Royale for the ladies. The only thing I can recommend for any brides getting married at West Tower is don’t drive to the tasting! I have never seen so much wine and so many cocktails!

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We had Mike Smith Sax Player to provide entertainment for reception drinks, this was a surprise given to me on my hen party from the girls! Later we had Howard Wing. Since we saw Howard for the first time at a friend’s wedding I said I would never get married without him! We wanted a huge party to celebrate our wedding and that’s certainly what Howard delivers. There aren’t enough words to describe how good he is and how many amazing memories I have from the day. He gets everyone involved and in the party spirit. We also booked a DJ – Dave Jones – through Howard Wing, he was amazing, I didn’t leave the dance floor all night!

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We wanted to add special touches to our day to ensure our guests had the best time! One extra was the Jaeger train; we had 100 Jaeger bombs set up and had a race against each other. Simon won however he did slip and fall knocking a few over the bar! Luckily it was all caught on camera and on the short video Howard Wing made on the day! Another little special touch was to have our ‘last kiss’ before our first kiss. We really wanted to make our mums feel special on the day, so as a surprise they were invited up during the ceremony to give us our last kiss as single people before our first. We chose our mothers as they had given us our first ever kiss at birth. We also had Candles 2 Cherish make us two candles in memory of lost ones which we lit during the ceremony and are a great keep sake.

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We would definitely recommend West Tower to others. The venue and setting are stunning and the main reason we booked. Other than the fact the place is stunning, the food is incredible and the staff couldn’t do enough for us. Brian and Charlotte helped with all the planning and Lindsey made sure our day went without a hitch! Lindsey cares about every little detail which was great as I was very particular! After meeting Lindsey I had no worried about the day and felt completely relaxed to leave everything to her! The waiting staff and bar staff are also superb, extremely polite and accommodating, they even stayed up until we wanted to go to bed at 4.30am!

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My favourite part of the day was standing in church next to Simon, all nerves disappeared and I couldn’t take the smile off my face! Closely followed by Howard Wing’s entertainment – epic!

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We left a few days after the wedding for our honeymoon, we went to Jamaica and stayed at Secrets Wild Orchid. The hotel was amazing and it was great to just get away alone and really relax!

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I would advise other Brides Up North not to cut corners on a photographer as after it’s all over you will want amazing memories to look back on! And…the little things really don’t matter!

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graceful grandeur. sottero & midgley for a romantic wedding at allerton castle – angela & riccardo

March 17th, 2015 | Julia Braime

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (25)

Today we join Angela and Riccardo for a wedding celebration in a wonderfully grand setting, complete with elegant 1920s touches.

But it isn’t just the venue and décor that’s looking good. Angela makes for a sparkling and stunning bride in a slinky Sottero and Midgley gown embellished with Swarovski crystals and mirrored beads while her maids look incredibly pretty in flattering floor-length Coast designs.

The men don’t brush up half bad either as they work their dapper blue suits and mustard bow ties – cue some serious man posing!

With images by Andy Crozier of Insight Photography.

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angela says: Riccardo proposed to me in Beijing on the Great Wall of China. We were on holiday just the two of us, the proposal was a great surprise. We had both always wanted to travel to China so we went and visited a few destinations including Beijing, Xian, Shanghai. When we returned we had an engagement party at Laazats in Hull. We chose to hold it on the anniversary of the date we first got together – February 15th. During the party we announced who we had chosen for our bridesmaids/best man and groomsmen. Keeping this information quiet for so long was very difficult. If anybody wanted to give a gift we asked for a donation to be made to the Macmillan charity due to recently losing a good friend to ovarian cancer at a young age.

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Our wedding date was 26th July 2014 and was held at Allerton Castle. We’d always wanted a summer wedding.

Allerton Castle is the most beautiful and amazing location we’d ever seen. This was the first and the last place we visited – we instantly fell in love and never turned back. It has such character and amazing grounds. We also loved the fact that we could celebrate our complete wedding in one location. From staying over the night before in the nearby log cabins to the finishing touches and pre wedding drinks for the girls in the bridal suite and for the boys in the billiard room. We celebrated the civil ceremony within Allerton and had our wedding breakfast and reception within the castle too.

an elegant wedding at Allerton Castle (c) Insight Photography (3)

Our theme was focused around the 1920s. We felt the whole elegance of the era fitted in well with the setting for our wedding. Our colour palette was different shades of blues/purples/white and ivory.

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I wore a floor-length Sottero and Midgley dress bought from a well-established bridal shop called Deborah Moore in Hessle, Hull. Deborah helped to ensure I found the perfect dress and even did all the alterations. The dress was called Lola. It was a slim A-line cut, with Swarovski crystals and mirrored beads. I also opted for the choice of adding the capped sleeves. The dress colour was diamond white and pewter. I had tried on many dresses before I found this one. When I put it on I knew it was the one. I kept my dress a secret from everyone – the only people who knew were my brother’s girlfriend and my mother.

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Riccardo got his suit at a shop called Rees. He wore a three-piece dark blue suit with a white shirt. He wore a mustard bow tie with matching coloured socks and brown shoes. He also had a pocket. He got his suit tailored to a high level by a local source Gillian Long, who was previously a Saville Row seamstress and is now the owner of Cock of the Walk in Hull.

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The bridesmaids wore floor-length purple/grey coloured dresses bought from Coast in House of Fraser, again in Hull. They all wore diamond studs which were a present from us. Following the wedding speeches as a surprise on the big day my bridesmaids read out a poem they had written together which went through the journey of me and Riccardo meeting until the present day. This was truly amazing and very emotional!

The boys (groomsmen/best man/father of the bride) all got their suits from Next. They wore two-piece blue suits with a white shirt, brown shoes, matching coloured bow tie and socks. They all also wore a pocket watch which were individually engraved with a personal message. These were again bought by us as a gift to the groomsmen. They were all lined up in the billiard room for when the boys arrived, which was a surprise to all!

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All the ushers, best man, groom, bridesmaids and bride arrived at the nearby cabins the day before the wedding. Both groups were separated once arriving – the boys had a barbecue and beers while the girls had nibbles and a pamper session. On the day of the wedding the men walked to the castle and the girls drove.

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Our photographer was Andy Crozier of Insight Photography, based in Hull. Andy captured our whole day and even stayed beyond the time we’d arranged. He went above and beyond for us throughout the day, never too pushy but ensured we got exactly what we said we wanted. Andy was great with all of our guests, young and old, and made every single person there on the day felt special. Our images were truly amazing and we would highly recommend Insight to anyone.

I knew Andy personally from childhood, we both lived on the same street since I was the age of eight. Riccardo didn’t know Andy but soon felt at ease and felt comfortable following our initial meet up. We also did a pre-wedding photo shoot at Allerton Castle which we both felt was a great touch. Andy used our favourite image as a message board for guests to sign on the day.

We also had a videographer who helped capture the memories of our wonderful day. It was a lovely and very professional guy called Dan Cain.

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Our flowers were provided by Twisted Willow and were done to such a high level. We had great customer service and felt automatically at ease that the flowers and decorations were to be done professionally. Again we would definitely recommend them. My bouquet consisted of mainly white and ivory colours with a touch of pastel shades. The flowers had a lovely lace ribbon which I then attached a blue brooch to (I used this as my something blue). The brooch was borrowed from a very special friend.

In terms of décor we had a candelabra at either side of us when we read our vows which were decorated with white and pastel coloured flowers draped with crystals. We had candles on either side of the staircase and the reception tables all had tall vases with balls of flowers draped in crystals and pearls. We also had scattered tea light candles around the room.

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As favours we gave small bottles of sparkling rose wine to the ladies and white sparkling wine for the men. The wedding favours had a custom made ribbon around them in dark blue with gold text which said ‘Mr and Mrs Seaton’. Also attached to the ribbon was the person’s name tag and a cluster of vintage keys. Keys being the symbol of the key to a happy life/key to success and key to a happy future. The children had loom bands and sweets.

Our wedding cake was again from a locally sourced supplier. The lady who designed and made it was the sister of a long term friend of Riccardo’s, who was also one of our ushers. The cake maker owns a shop in Sutton, Hull, called Cake-licious. We followed our 1920s theme through with our cake design. The cake was a four-tier hexagonal shape with lots of geometric prints/designs. We had different flavours: lemon, chocolate and vanilla. All of our ushers put towards buying us our cake as a gift from them.

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Brides Up North Featured Supplier Dine provided our food and drinks. For our drinks post ceremony we had bottled beers and Pimms. We made our own sweetie table display with lots of retro sweets.

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Music during the day was provided by the events company Trio Vivo. During the wedding breakfast we also arranged a surprise. Using the events company we set up a staged performance pretending to have a very drunk guest and a waitress who then broke out into singing opera. These two were truly amazing and left many without a dry eye. To end our celebrations we then partied through into the evening at the castle with the music supplied by Chris Hilton’s Little Big Band. We were very impressed with all!

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Towards the end of the evening we also had a five-minute firework display (and sparklers), provided by Ferrensby Fireworks. We would recommend using this service along with other fab suppliers we used on the day including hair stylists and beauticians from Bows in Anlaby for the hair and make-up and a good friend of ours Rachel Peterson from Hull who had recently completed her wedding planner course. Rachel worked with us from the beginning right until the end and ensured we both felt at ease and kept us both in line and very organised with all the planning and finer details.

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We would also most definitely recommend Allerton Castle to other couples. It’s an amazing location and I’m yet to see a more perfect location.

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We couldn’t pick a favourite part of the day – we enjoyed it all! This may sound cheesy but we can genuinely describe it as the best day of our lives to date.

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For our honeymoon we went to New York and Orlando, Florida. We spent one week each location. With some of the money guests gave we booked a limo trip around New York City by night which was an experience we would definitely recommend.

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My top tip or other Brides Up North is enjoy every single minute of the day. People told us it would go quick and it sure did. Cherish every moment.

As an extra special touch on the wedding day we set up a message in a bottle for our guests to each put a message in for us. The plan is that we will smash it open on our first wedding anniversary (which we’re hoping to celebrate in Hawaii) and read all of the messages.

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keeping things cosy. a coast gown for a relaxed & intimate wedding in harome – sarah & andy

March 10th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

a relaxed and intimate wedding in Helmsley (c) James Tracey Photography (42)

A big  wedding just isn’t for everyone and so it’s lovely to see couples organising small, intimate celebrations with just their very nearest and dearest as an alternative. Andy and Sarah had just 30 guests at their wedding and though small, it was perfectly formed.

The setting was a cosy hotel in the lovely village of Harome (one of my very favourite places) which provided a warm and homely environment for them to tie the knot.

With images by James Tracey Photography.

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sarah says: We got engaged in summer 2011. Andy had surprised me and bought me a new watch. We had plans to go out for a meal that evening and when I’d finished getting ready Andy handed me the box which had my watch in it but he had replaced the watch with my engagement ring. Total surprise, never expected it.

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We decided to set the date for 25th October 2014 as it’s a nice time of the year. Sort of the end of autumn, beginning of winter and still chance of a nice sunny day (which we had) but dusk early evening.

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Our chosen venue was The Pheasant Hotel in Harome, near Helmsley, North Yorkshire. We hadn’t decided on anywhere but had been to Malton for the day. I had Googled venues in the area and The Pheasant caught my eye. The moment we walked in we knew this was the venue. It was Christmas at the time too so it was very festive and cosy with all the Christmas decorations.

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We didn’t have a special theme as it was only a very small wedding with a total of 30 guests so just a very intimate celebration with a small group of very close friends and family. There wasn’t a colour theme as such either. I had my sister as maid of honour and my two-year-old daughter as my flower girl. I kept Tilly natural in an ivory dress and my sister wore a black evening gown. My husband wore a dark grey suit from Next and his best man wore a navy suit.

I didn’t want a big dress as the wedding and venue were only small. What I picked was plain but classic – a cream strapless dress from Coast with a lace, off the shoulder bolero which buttoned up the back from a local bridal shop.

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James Tracey was our photographer. He was recommend by a couple of old work colleagues who both spoke very highly of him. I spoke to James several times before the wedding and instantly felt at ease and had every confidence in him. James made me feel very comfortable on my wedding day and it was a pleasure to have him be a part of my special day. I would highly recommend him to friends and family.

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I carried a bouquet of blue and white thistle, agapanthus, white avalanche roses, blue veronica, white bouvardia, eucalyptus. My bridesmaids carried the same but a smaller version. They were put together by Busy Liz’s Floral Design in Kirbymoorside. The same flowers were used for the décor and the room where we got married was candlelit.

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As favours we had pink chocolate lips lollipops for the ladies and milk chocolate moustaches for the men from a company called Cocoa Loco. Our cake was made by a family friend at Cakehouse on the Lane. We had a cream coloured cutting cake with a diamante ‘Mr & Mrs’ topper and cream cupcakes.

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I would absolutely recommend The Pheasant Hotel to others. This venue is just perfect for a wedding, so romantic. We’ll definitely be returning for our anniversary. It is perfect for small weddings like ours or for larger weddings you can have exclusivity of the hotel.

a relaxed and intimate wedding in Helmsley (c) James Tracey Photography (51)

a relaxed and intimate wedding in Helmsley (c) James Tracey Photography (53)

I couldn’t possibly pick out a favourite part of the day – it was all perfect.

a relaxed and intimate wedding in Helmsley (c) James Tracey Photography (55)

For our honeymoon we had a city break to Rome for four nights. Neither of us had ever visited Italy. What a way to end our wedding.

a relaxed and intimate wedding in Helmsley (c) James Tracey Photography (34)

My top tip to other Brides Up North is relax and don’t stress. Whatever hasn’t been planned/booked doesn’t matter. No one else will know but you. Stand back and just take it all in.

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we are family. a homemade wedding at hazlewood castle – anna & sam

February 24th, 2015 | Julia Braime

a homemade wedding at Hazlewood Castle by Ian Wallace Photography (49)

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.

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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!

a homemade wedding at Hazlewood Castle by Ian Wallace Photography (11)

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?

a homemade wedding at Hazlewood Castle by Ian Wallace Photography (10)

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.

a homemade wedding at Hazlewood Castle by Ian Wallace Photography (13)

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.

a homemade wedding at Hazlewood Castle by Ian Wallace Photography (14)

Sam’s wore a blue three-piece suit from Next with a white shirt and blue tie. He had amazing Kurt Geiger shoes too!

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!

a homemade wedding at Hazlewood Castle by Ian Wallace Photography (18)

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’.

a homemade wedding at Hazlewood Castle by Ian Wallace Photography (19)

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.

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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.

a homemade wedding at Hazlewood Castle by Ian Wallace Photography (34)

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.

a homemade wedding at Hazlewood Castle by Ian Wallace Photography (40)

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.

a homemade wedding at Hazlewood Castle by Ian Wallace Photography (48)

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!

a homemade wedding at Hazlewood Castle by Ian Wallace Photography (47)

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!

a homemade wedding at Hazlewood Castle by Ian Wallace Photography (30)

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.

a homemade wedding at Hazlewood Castle by Ian Wallace Photography (51)

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.

a homemade wedding at Hazlewood Castle by Ian Wallace Photography (52)

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.

a homemade wedding at Hazlewood Castle by Ian Wallace Photography (55)

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.

a homemade wedding at Hazlewood Castle by Ian Wallace Photography (58)

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