Charlotte Balbier

a little blush. justin alexander for an elegant wedding at seaham hall – kirsty & ryan

November 8th, 2016 | Laura McDonagh


Today’s bride Kirsty, says that the perfect wedding dress took her by surprise by being everything she supposedly didn’t want. The dress in question – a romantic, swishy Justin Alexander creation – was a truly stunning choice from what we can see!

Kirsty also said she wanted her day to be defined by the words “classy” and “romantic”. Well, mission accomplished, just take a look at the stunning photographs!

Ready for some serious pretty? Let’s dive right in…

With images by Leighton Bainbridge Photography.


kirsty says: Ryan and I got engaged on 1st August 2014 while on holiday in Mexico. Ryan had organised a private, romantic meal on the pier, looking over the ocean where we could watch the sun set. We had a gorgeous meal with champagne. Once we’d finished our meal, Ryan got down on one knee and the waiter presented my ring on a silver plate. It was perfect and the waiter caught it all on camera so I will always be able to look back at that moment. I had no idea, which made it even more special.

We got married on 6th August 2016. We always wanted to get married in the summer and this date worked well around my work. I’m a teacher and wanted to have a few weeks off before the wedding as well as being able to go on our honeymoon before the new term started. Plus, we hoped that in August we’d have sunny weather – which we did!


We were married at our local church in Houghton-le-Spring and then went onto Seaham Hall in County Durham. I’d always wanted to have my wedding there. The hotel is so beautiful I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else. Plus, we loved the fact that we could have an exclusive wedding with the whole venue and facilities to ourselves. We booked all 20 of the hotel rooms, which meant our close family and friends could stay over. The hotel boasts a sports room with a pool table, which was ideal for the men, plus there was a quiet lounge for the ‘oldies’.

I’d always wanted a big wedding and Ryan just went along with it! The two words I wanted to define the day were “classy” and “romantic”. When we got engaged the rustic, vintage theme was very popular and I loved the idea of lots of little details. However, I still wanted the overall feel to be contemporary as Seaham Hall is quite modern.


Making a decision on the colour scheme wasn’t difficult. I’m a girly girl and knew I wanted pink. We decided on a very soft blush; we knew it would suit both bridesmaids as well as the groomsmen. The bridesmaids’ dresses were from Mia Sposa in Newcastle; I chose a full-length lace gown in blush pink. They chose their own shoes so that they were comfortable on the day.

The choice of my own dress took me by surprise. It was everything I supposedly didn’t want. I chose a Justin Alexander dress also from Mia Sposa in Newcastle (the girls there are fab!) It had a full skirt, long train and lace straps, creating a ‘v’ shape at the front and back. The lace detail went all the way down the fitted bodice and past my hips where it faded out and then also all around the hem of the skirt. I loved the buttons at the back as they too went all the way down the skirt. When I spun it swished around me; I really felt like a princess! I also wore a veil, which was the full length of my dress and decorated with small crystals.

Mel Hedley did the bridal party’s makeup for the wedding. She was fantastic! Francesca Hair Design in Pelton, then did the bridal party’s hair. We had such a laugh getting ready and they all went beyond the call of duty!


We hired Ryan’s suit from Just Perfect in Shotton Colliery. He wore a French navy suit with a tweed waistcoat. He had a blush pink tie and tan shoes. The combined effect was gorgeous. The groomsmen wore the same as the groom however their waistcoat was the same French navy as the suit, also from Just Perfect.

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doing things your way: the biscuit factory

October 6th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

© jamie penfold photography 2015 -

This afternoon we’re catching up with the fabulous team at one of our Dream Venues in the wonderful North East, The Biscuit Factory.

An individual and quirky art, craft and design gallery in the heart of Newcastle’s cultural quarter, this place is perfect for those of you on the hunt for a big day venue that provides a blank canvas with character, exceptional service and amazing food!

The friendly team encourage its brides and grooms to do things their own way and get a buzz out of making couples’ dream days become reality.

Intrigued? We thought you might be, and so we’re going to hand you over to the guys at the venue to tell us more about The Biscuit Factory’s unique offering…

Images by Jamie Penfold and Sean Elliott.


Can you give us a brief overview of The Biscuit Factory?

the biscuit factory say: The venue is a contemporary art, craft and design gallery – the largest of its kind in the UK – located in the Ouseburn Valley, dubbed the cultural quarter of Newcastle. The gallery is housed in a beautiful Victorian warehouse (think wooden beams and exposed brickwork) – and yes, biscuits were manufactured on-site back in the 1800s!

Adjoining the main gallery is our purpose-built function space, The Biscuit Room, which is one of the largest venues in Newcastle.

The Biscuit Factory prides itself on being a unique and quality venue. Can you tell us what sets the venue a part from others and how it provides good quality service to its brides and grooms?

Earlier this year, we were shortlisted for ‘Best City Venue’ in the UK Wedding Awards – and we were the only venue in the North East listed in our category. This was a huge achievement for us, highlighting what makes us unique as a wedding venue, not just here in Newcastle, but on a regional and national scale, too.

We say to all our clients, “Do it your way”, offering couples a stylish and cultural backdrop to host their big day, set within an unconventional urban location. As for our service – our team are highly experienced and every couple is assigned their very own wedding coordinator to ensure a seamless and personalised service from the outset right through to their wedding day.

© jamie penfold photography 2015 -

The venue also puts an emphasis on individuality – in what ways does The Biscuit Factory tick boxes for those looking for something a bit different?

We don’t offer any standard packages at The Biscuit Factory – we work with every couple to create something that’s unique to them. And when it comes to our food, devised by our award-winning chefs, we can create a menu to fit any theme, whether it’s a traditional roast, Latin American street food or laid-back barbecue you’re after.

And how can couples make the space their own?

We often describe The Biscuit Room as a blank canvas because essentially, that’s what it is – a large, versatile space which can be completely transformed to bring a couple’s dream wedding to life. The backdrop is minimalist and understated, which means it can accommodate all types of themes, props and tables settings – the space is whatever you make of it!

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coastline colour: a styled bridal shoot at marsden rock

October 3rd, 2016 | Julia Braime


This afternoon on the blog we’re heading to the beautiful north east coastline for styled shoot that is both bold and beautiful.

Styled and shot by fine art photographer Kimberley Waterson, the concept of the shoot was to steer clear of obvious nautical themes and instead inject some warm colour to contrast with the cool and stark surroundings.

To help bring her vision to life Kimberley teamed up with a talented group of north east suppliers who took care of everything from the attire and décor to the cakes and flowers.

Here to give us more details of the day is the lady that captured the team’s wonderful efforts. Over to you Kimberley…

With images by Kimberley Waterson Fine Art Photography. Models Kayleigh Falcus and Chris Sewell.


kimberley says: Living in the beautiful north of England we sometimes overlook the beauty spots so very accessible to us and it was having this in mind that inspired this styled shoot.


Surrounded by miles of breath-taking coastline I started my journey scouting locations. I knew I wanted to view Marsden Rock first as this iconic location brings in people from all around the world and is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the north east.


Owned by the National Trust and overlooked by the Marsden Grotto (a pub/restaurant and soon to be wedding venue) we knew Marsden Rock would be a busy place to shoot and so decided to do the shoot on a Monday, though the unpredictable British weather certainly kept us on our toes.

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timeless elegance. a romantic wedding at newton hall – lailla & harry

September 19th, 2016 | Julia Braime


We’re starting this week in the same place we left off last week, the wonderful North East, as we relive the beautiful big day of Lailla and Harry.

Centring their celebrations around a theme of timeless elegance, simplicity in the details and décor were key for a flawless finish that wouldn’t date.

Highlights for us include Lailla’s stunning gown, the fabulous floral creations and those delicious looking cakes!

With images by Scott Spock Photography.


lailla says: We got engaged on 9th June 2014, while at Portals Beach in Majorca. We had been together for 12 years and just bought our first home together. Whilst on holiday Harry took me out for a beautiful meal to celebrate our 12 years. Afterwards he insisted we went for a walk on the beach, to which I resisted as I didn’t want to walk on the sand in the dark! After lots of persuading I gave. There was a full moon over the sea, Harry walked me to the tide where he got down on one knee and presented me with my amazing Hearts On Fire engagement ring! He followed by picking me up, spinning me round while our feet were in the sea and nobody was to be seen – just the light from the moon over the water! Afterwards we celebrated with champagne in a small bar overlooking the sea.

We set the date for 27th April 2016. I chose this date as I believe a Wednesday is my lucky day – I was born on a Wednesday and Harry proposed to me on a Wednesday, so I felt like it was right. I wanted a spring wedding as it’s my favourite season and April is by favourite month.


Newton Hall in Northumberland, was our chosen venue. I have always loved Alice in Wonderland and from the moment I walked in to Newton Hall I felt like I was in a wonderland! I loved how different it felt in comparison to other venues – it was both quirky and beautiful, and I loved the building from the outside too! I also liked that it was quite compact as I knew our wedding was going to be quite intimate. The staff at Newton Hall had a huge impact on my decision as they were all so kind and professional!

I chose a theme of timeless elegance for the wedding as I like to keep things quite plain and I didn’t want a look that would date. In keeping with this, the colour scheme was platinum white and a hint of silver.


In the beginning I had my heart set on having a long sleeved lace wedding dress. I visited numerous shops trying on this style of dress but found that they didn’t suit me. I was so disheartened as I had a strong image in my head of what I wanted. I ended up finding my dress by chance at Elizabeth George Bridal. I had an image on my phone from Pinterest of a dress that I liked but had no idea who it was designed by or where I could find it! When the girls in the shop held up a dress and suggested I tried it on I said I didn’t like the style of it, but my mum and sisters made me try it on, and I then realised it was that dress on my saved images! I did try some more on afterwards but we felt it was meant to be after the coincidence of that being the one I had found online! I teamed my dress with a very plain, long veil as my dress was quite detailed and anything else would have been too much. I also wore Jimmy Choo heels.

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made for each other. a relaxed wedding in the north east – sophie & daniel

August 31st, 2016 | Rachel Parry

A Relaxed Wedding in the North East (c) 83 Photography (25)

Today’s real wedding came after a whirlwind proposal with Daniel asking Sophie for her hand in marriage on their first year anniversary (boyfriends out there dragging their feet – take note!)

The most important factor for Daniel and Sophie was that the wedding was both fun and relaxed and so they made their day simply about them as a couple, and celebrated with their very nearest and dearest.

The result – a chilled out big day with smiles and laughter galore!

With images by 83 Photography.

A Relaxed Wedding in the North East (c) 83 Photography (27)

sophie says: Daniel proposed on our one-year anniversary, completely unexpectedly. He lived in Manchester, and I lived in London. He’d arrived at my flat after a long bus journey, it was late, he was unpacking his bag and then he handed some presents to me – one of which was an engagement ring!  I didn’t say yes at first as I was in such shock! We had quite a long engagement – our wedding was just over three years later.

We chose the date of 9th April for the wedding because we wanted to have our reception at Redcar Cricket Club and therefore had to accommodate the cricket season (or set a wedding date with only six months’ notice, once the fixtures were out). So we went with the last possible Saturday before the cricket season started – actually, it was the first day of the season but the manager said he would switch the fixture if they were drawn at home for the first match!

A Relaxed Wedding in the North East (c) 83 Photography (22)

We were married at Christ Church Coatham, in Redcar, where I was christened and which is attached to the primary school I went to as a child. We originally planned to get married near to where we live in London, but none of the venues felt ‘right’, whereas Redcar did.

We didn’t have a theme as such, we just wanted a fun and relaxing day. I guess if anything the theme was ‘us’. We decorated the cricket club with boards we’d made; one had items from running /adventure events we’ve done together, one had cards we’d sent when we lived apart, and the other had gig tickets. Our table names meanwhile were albums of artists that played at the festival where we met – All Tomorrow’s Parties in Butlins, Minehead.

A Relaxed Wedding in the North East (c) 83 Photography (24)

We didn’t really have a colour scheme either, again just wanting to keep things simple. My mum picked the flowers which were very natural whites and greens.

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true blue: satin & beads for an elegant wedding at ellingham hall – emma & gareth

August 5th, 2016 | Julia Braime

A Pretty Blue Wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Paul Liddement Photography (29)

We’ve made it through to Friday once again, and to celebrate we’re sharing the beautiful north east wedding of Emma & Gareth.

Everything about this wedding says elegance, from Emma’s gorgeous satin dress with dainty detailing, through to the romantic blooms and timeless colour palette.

The stunning venue provides the perfect backdrop and we love that the bride and groom decided to hire it for a full weekend to stretch the celebrations across more than one day.

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Paul Liddement Photography.

A Pretty Blue Wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Paul Liddement Photography (25)

A Pretty Blue Wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Paul Liddement Photography (23)

emma says: Gareth proposed during a surprise weekend away for my birthday in Croatia. We were staying in Hvar and rented a small boat to go out exploring all the small islands just off the coast. We’d found a secluded bay when we got out to have a swim and whilst we were in the water Gareth got done on one knee and popped the question.

We set the date for 28th May 2016. It was the Saturday of the bank holiday weekend. We had a lot of people travelling a long way so we wanted to make a weekend of the wedding.

A Pretty Blue Wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Paul Liddement Photography (2)

We got married at Ellingham Hall. We were living down south at the time but we knew we wanted to get married in Northumberland as the north east was where we met. Ellingham Hall is such a beautiful place and when we looked round, every room we looked at got us excited. Exclusive use was really important to us and the fact we could hire Ellingham for the whole weekend and could have people stay in the cottages surrounding the hall as well as the house swung it for us. The staff were so flexible with our arrangements and we hired Ellingham Hall and all the surrounding cottages from the Friday to Monday so we could have an extra barbecue and games day on the Sunday.

A Pretty Blue Wedding at Ellingham Hall (c) Paul Liddement Photography (27)

We didn’t really have a theme – I was going for classic elegance – I didn’t want to look back at our wedding in five years and think it looked really dated! The colour scheme was blues as it’s both of our favourite colour. I put my bridesmaid in navy and cornflower blue dresses and luckily this matched in quite well with the tartan that boys were wearing.

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