May 21st, 2015 | Rachel Parry
There’s something extremely enchanting about saying ‘I do’ in a castle setting as today’s couple demonstrate.
Every inch the fairy-tale bride, Caroline wore a stunning Maggie Sottero organza ball gown for the big day and carried a romantic bouquet of pink and ivory roses, peonies and ranunculas.
Add to this some incredible floral displays, stunning grounds and a fine feathered ring bearer and you’ve got one very grand affair indeed.
With images by Martin Hambleton.
caroline says: We got engaged back in June 2011 whilst on holiday in Turkey, during a visit to the harbour in Fethiye.
Upon returning we set the date for Sunday, 8th June 2014 at Peckforton Castle, Tarporley, Cheshire. I spotted Peckforton online whilst looking for potential venues and I was instantly drawn. It just looked so beautiful. After arranging a visit that was it, we loved everything about it and we knew our guests would too.
We didn’t have a theme as such, just a bit of everything we like and loved. Our colour scheme was silver, grey, cream and ivory.
My mum chose my dress for me at Brides Gallery near Chorley. The ladies their Alison and Liz were amazing and so helpful. The dress I wore was a Maggie Sottero organza ball gown called Hanaleigh. It was a sweetheart fitted dress, with a ruched bodice, loads layers and hand-sewn flower detail. It was huge and so fairy-tale like. Far from what I originally thought I would go for, seeing as I was looking at a non-detailed, no frills, slim-fitted dress. But I loved it and I knew it was the one.
My bridesmaids wore silver/grey A-line/sweetheart floor-length chiffon dresses with pleated and beaded/sequin detail. I bought these by recommendation from JJ’s House online.
We used Hipswing for the lighting and entertainment. They also supplied our chair covers and sashes as well as the sparkle lit dancefloor. We would highly recommend them. Our DJ Dan was great, he played all our favourite songs and the dance floor was never empty. Tansy and the team were so helpful with helping organise our day and nothing was too much trouble.
We also used Eventures wedding venue decorators. The team did an amazing job for the ceremony and the wedding breakfast. Everything looked incredible and the flowers and bouquets were stunning too. I had a hand-tied bouquet of white and ivory roses, pink avalanche roses, peonies and ranunculas, finished with lace and diamante pin detail. We cannot thank them enough.
Our photographer was Martin Hambleton. We met Martin at a wedding fayre, he was so easy to talk to and his work was just incredible and exactly what we were looking for. Knowing I would be nervous on the day, Martin made me feel at ease and half the time I didn’t even know I was being photographed. Martin captured every aspect of the day. Our photographs are beautiful and we cannot thank him enough either!
Chris designed all of our stationary; the invites, order of the day, the seating plan, place names, table numbers and also the favour boxes. We both then did the making and the embellishments. It took a long time but was well worth it.
For some extra décor I bought tall lanterns for the entrance to the Great Hall and vintage birdcages which I decorated with flowers, pearls and diamantes bought from Country Baskets. I also did my own sweets and treats table.
As a special touch we had Mango the owl deliver our rings during the ceremony and a falconry show at the drinks reception, which was enjoyed by all.
My auntie had our cake made for us as a wedding gift by family friends who have done this for many years. They did an amazing job. We had a three tiered cake; one lemon sponge, one Victoria and the other was fruit. It had ivory icing with vintage detailing in lace, pearl flowers and fallen petals.
For the transport on the day we hired two Imperial Landaulette cars from Horgans. I have to say these are by far the best supplier in wedding cars you’ll find. The cars were immaculate and the drivers were lovely. They arrived in plenty of time and even got us to the venue, some 40 miles away 20 minutes early, avoiding all the traffic, road works and chaos that some our guests got stuck in. Definitely number one for reliability. Thankfully all ended well and everyone made it in time.
I couldn’t pick a favourite part of the day as I loved everything about it. Following our special day we jetted off on honeymoon to Puerto Vallarta in Mexico.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to try and relax during the lead up to the wedding – don’t stress and enjoy every moment. It’s your day after all. Everything will be perfect.
May 20th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Is there anywhere more romantic to pop the question than Paris? Ok, so I’m a little biased, as that’s where my other half got down on one knee, but another proposal in the French city of love is how today’s story begins.
After a dream engagement Emma and John bagged their dream venue Thornton Manor, for their big day and got the preparations underway.
They agreed they wanted the wedding to have a classic feel to suit the venue and we think you’ll agree that everything from Emma’s lace dress, to the maids’ pastel blue gowns and simple blooms say elegance.
Looking at the wedding snaps it’s easy to see why Emma and John had their hearts set on this venue – the reception room is nothing short of incredible!
With images by Matt Parry Photography.
emma says: We got engaged outside Montmartre cathedral in Paris at midnight on the 28th December 2012. John had planned to propose on New Year’s Eve but had the urge to do it on the first day we got to Paris. We had dinner in our favourite restaurant in Montmartre then John took me up the hill to ‘see the laser show on the Eiffel tower at midnight’.
We wanted a summer wedding, we knew you couldn’t guarantee good weather in England but thought we’d have the best chance in the summer months. The 28th August 2014 was available at our dream venue so we booked it. We married one month after my 26th birthday and the weather was stunning.
We got married at Thornton Manor on the Wirral. We had looked at the venue on the internet but dismissed it as we felt we couldn’t afford it. On a Sunday we were going to a wedding fair but it was awful so we googled if there were any other fairs in the area and there was one at Thornton Manor. When we got there we were welcomed by the owner, Phillip, and we were blown away and instantly knew we would do everything we could to get married there.
We wanted an authentic, classic feel for the wedding and knew we wanted elegance to match the house. We had top hats and 1950’s style bridesmaid dresses.
The main colour was pastel blue. It is my favourite colour and we felt it was perfect for a summer wedding. Our bridesmaids, groomsmen and page boy wore pastel blue. The stationery was ivory and pastel blue.
I chose an ivory David Tutera for Mon Cheri dress. It was a sleeveless soft lace mermaid gown with lace straps with a scoop neckline. The dress had embroidered Swarovski crystals with a spun gold waist.
John wore a charcoal morning suit and grey top hat. His outfit and the groomsmen’s outfits were from Slaters in Liverpool.
The bridesmaids wore a 1950’s pastel blue style dress from Dorothy Rose Bridal in Ellesmere Port. Everybody was blown away by the dresses and the fit was beautiful.
For our wedding transport we had a vintage Bentley in cream and black. It was hired from a company local to the venue.
Matt Parry was our photographer, without a doubt we would recommend him to anybody. Matt made us so comfortable before the day with meetings via Skype to talk about ‘essential’ photos and talk to us about his style etc. On the day John met Matt at the venue a little earlier than expected, Matt was having a look at the venue to get some ideas for his shots. Matt then came and spent a lot of time with me and the girls getting ready before going back to the venue to get those ‘nervy’ shots of John.
Throughout the day Matt wasn’t in anybody’s way, John said he didn’t notice him at all during the speeches but when you see the photographs you wonder how! He was a great friend on the day and we were absolutely overwhelmed when we got our beautiful presentation box through the post with all our gorgeous shots.
My bouquet was made up of ivory roses with Chinese grass loops, arranged by Amore Flowers in Widnes. The bridesmaids had ivory and pastel blue roses.
Amore also did our reception flowers, we would highly recommend them. We gave Joe the florist free reign to do as he pleased within our theme and he did a beautiful job!
We gave out jams and chutneys as favours, which were made by a company called Posh Pickles based in Knutsford. With customized labels and ribbons to match our theme, Rob and Steph did a great job and their Jams and Chutneys are amazing!
We had a four tier lace cake with roses and rose petals in the theme of pastel blue and ivory – the layers were lemon and carrot cake. A friend of mine, Coleen, did the cake – she was great!
The venue had a caterer list that we had to choosefrom to provide our wedding breakfast – we chose Anne Wilson Corden Bleu. We had a pate starter, pork trio main and a trio of deserts – it was so nice!
For entertainment we had a DJ in the evening and gave him an extensive playlist – basically every song for the evening! In our RSVP’s we asked our guests to give us a song that would get them on the dance floor.
We also booked a string quartet to play before/after the ceremony and during canapés after the ceremony. They played as I walked down the aisle and also the music John and I walked out of the room to – they were absolutely brilliant and so many people commented on them.
We would definitely recommend our wedding venue to others purely because it’s magical. There is something about the music room that leaves you feeling calm and humble. The Manor House ball room is breath taking and given rain or shine any bride and groom will have the best time of their lives celebrating there.
One of our favourite parts of the day was when our photographer Matt took us off into an old green house to take some unusual shots of us. We loved this part of the day as we were able to spend time together and it was really fun trying not to smile or laugh at the camera. The pictures turned out to be amazing, just what we expected from Matt.
For our honeymoon we decided to go stay on the Palm in Dubai, the hotel was on the beach which was total paradise. We loved our stay and will definitely be returning in the future.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to remember the reasons why you are getting married. I think some brides/grooms can get carried away with making sure absolutely everything is perfect but just remember that you can’t please everyone no matter how much you will try. Remember your wedding day is your day and at the end of it all you’ll always have your best friend beside you so there’s nothing to worry about.
Also try not to spill red wine on your dress!
April 13th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Here at Brides Up North we’re lucky to receive so many incredibly styled weddings and today’s is one that would come close to the top of the pile.
Art teacher Sophie clearly has an eye for detail as she combined a cool blue colour palette with Scottish touches and her favourite fabrics to produce one heck of a gorgeous wedding.
Gals, you can pick up plenty of inspiration here for the wedding party’s attire, venue styling and special touches.
Paper and pens at the ready!
With images by Spencer Photography.
sophie says: We got engaged on the 4th September 2013 at Lytham Windmill. It was the last day of the summer holidays (I’m an art teacher) and we decided we’d go out for a meal, so Andrew booked an Indian we like in Lytham. A lovely meal and lots of hand holding we decided we would walk off the meal a little. It was a beautifully clear night with stars everywhere and we wandered along the front and walked right up to the front of the windmill for the best view of the estuary over to the twinkling lights of Southport in the distance. I turned to go down the stairs saying we should probably get home when Andrew just said “wait Soph” and I turned to see him on one knee with an open ring box “will you marry me?” I had always thought I would be so confident in my answer but I could only whisper the quietest “yes” behind the biggest smile.
We booked our wedding for the 18th October, we both love autumn and had originally thought we’d go for the first weekend of the school holiday, however everywhere we liked was either booked or closed! Then the venue that we chose in the end – Charnock Farm – had the weekend before free and after a quick discussion – could we cope going straight back to work on the Monday? We decided to go for it!
We were married at St. Michael’s Church in Kirkham, my church since I was a toddler. Not only is it a special place for me as it holds many happy memories but for a local parish church it is just utterly stunning. A grand entrance and long, dramatic aisle. What more could a girl need?
There were a few little themes running through our day, the main I guess ‘buttons, bobbins and Liberty fabrics’, from the moment we set our date I started collecting and buying up hundreds of wooden bobbins. As well as being an art teacher I’m a textile designer and have a little obsession with buttons. From being pretty young I have adored Liberty and everything it stands for and love working with their fabrics. Lodden is one of my all-time favourites, this print was at the centre of many fabric elements at our wedding.
Our colour scheme was blues – every single one of them! Weddings are so often all about the bride, but blue is Andrew’s favourite colour and is a nod to the traditional rhyme ‘something old, something new….’
I knew I wanted a vintage inspired dress, a nod to the 50s and Grace Kelly. With a pile of bridal magazines and Pinterest I quickly knew that Charlotte Balbier was the designer for me – and more importantly that Constance was almost definitely the dress, but I really wanted lace sleeves! I saw an advert for The White Closet in one of the magazines and they had a meet the designer night quickly after our engagement so I booked myself and one of my bridesmaids in. The White Closet is just gorgeous, I was in love. When asked if I had a particular dress in mind by Eve she made sure that the next changes included Constance, the buttons from the top to bottom of the train were beautiful, I just knew and I hadn’t even tried it on. It was as if Charlotte had been in my head when she designed the dress. I was able to chat with Charlotte on the night and discuss my ideas for extra sleeves, luckily I didn’t offend her. I booked myself in a few weeks later with my mum. I only tried on Constance.
At my first fitting with the help of The White Closet ladies I was also able to design a lace jacket to wear with my dress so I had sleeves, it dipped into a V at the back just as Charlotte’s own wedding dress had. I felt so beautiful in my dress; I didn’t want to take it off!
I also wore a simple ivory cathedral length veil and Rachel Simpson Cora ivory suede kitten heels. My youngest sister Izi made me a garter with fabric and buttons that all had little meanings, it was so very thoughtful.
Andrew knew he wanted a grey three piece suit but no tails. However when the boys went to have a look and try on he changed his mind. This was meant to be a secret but his brother and best man Scott told me by accident! So the suits were hired from Greenwoods but he wore a handmade Lodden tana lawn tie and matching pocket square, teamed on the day with blue spotty Paul Smith socks and dark brown brogue style shoes.
The bridesmaids wore floor length navy In One Clothing dresses their own way, with Izi and Laura wearing Agnes and Norman navy suede heels and Hannah in Rachel Simpson ivory satin sling-backs. Hannah, my middle sister, is wearing them for her own wedding in February.
The groomsmen all wore the same suit as Andrew but their ties and pocket squares were in Betsy print tana lawn.
Andrew and I have a mutual love of VWs so it had to be a camper van for our transport. We used Posh Pampa Campas and I travelled from home to church in Coco, a silver grey split screen, then we travelled from church to on reception via Lytham.
We found photography one of the more difficult things to pick, but through suggestions from different people and a few meetings we met Joanne Spencer of Spencer Photography for a quick drink and we could have talked for hours. Just totally on the same creative wavelength as us and her photos are just stunning. There is something in the colour that just captivates me. We had great fun on a very, windy and cold day on Morecombe front for our engagement shoot and we both felt totally at ease in Jo’s company. On the day Jo and her husband Scott were amazing, there when we needed them but not pushy as we had witnessed at other weddings. Their style suited ours as we didn’t want lots of posed shots, a natural documenting of our day and all the little details we had worked hard to include.
I carried a hand-tied bouquet of white roses, thistles, myrtle and rosemary mixed in with other bits of greenery. I wanted elegant and timeless and that is exactly what we got from Margaret Mason in Preston. Half of my family are Scottish so not only are some thistles blue (to fit the colour scheme) but they’re also the national flower of Scotland, another of our subtle mini themes.
At church we had our own little flower festival, and the church flower ladies led by Christine Lever took my breath away with their work and attention to detail. All of the ladies have practically known me my whole life so it was very special that they were able to do this for our wedding day. Stunning arrangements and an archway in ivories and foliage.
We had a combination of flowers and decorations we made ourselves at the venue. On the top table a traditional long and low arrangement with white roses, thistles, rosemary, pussy willow, gypsophila and other beautiful blue flowers. Then on the guest tables Andrew and I, with the help of a friend, had made our own bobbins on top of which posies of the same floral combinations sat and then tall slim vases filled with vintage bobbins also with a posy on top. Spare bobbins and buttons were dotted around the tables too. We had made loads of blue candles and decorated them with ribbons and ceramic buttons.
Our wedding venue was a barn with stunning exposed beams, from these Andrew and his groomsmen had hung blue and white paper pom-poms and white Chinese lanterns lit up with little LEDs. They did an amazing job on the morning of the wedding and they got it looking just as I had envisaged. We also hired carnival lights from The Word is Love, a huge S&A to light up the dance floor, our guests loved these and they really added something to the already gorgeous barn venue.
We did but didn’t give out favours but instead after the church service guests were invited for shortbread and fizz and a donation to WaterAid was made so that others benefited from our happiness. We only had a handful of children at the wedding but I made them each a personalised drawstring bag – using different blue fabrics and Liberty tana lawns, filled with books, games, bubbles, Lego, personalised pencils and colouring in books. The babies were given tana lawn bibs too – they went down a storm!
We changed our minds a little bit on the type of cake but in the end went for a four tiered fruit cake which my mum made for us and a sponge cake. A friend Caroline decorated our cake for us with ivory flat icing and a cascade of different blue icing buttons. It was exquisite and topped with a tiny floral topper.
Andrew and I both love music and we are quite eclectic in our tastes. But we both agreed that live music was important so we were lucky enough to be able to book The Flip Band, a three-piece on bongos, violin and bass guitar. We have seen them a few times at different venues and they didn’t let us down. They learnt Calvin Harris’ Feel so Close for our first dance, incredible! We also had DJ Gary Mills who had worked with my sister quite a lot and came highly recommended. He too was great fun and very entertaining with his costume changes! Gary gave us a CD of musical highlights from our wedding which was a lovely touch.
As a special touch our tables were named after different activity badges you can gain as a scout (they also happen to be blue), as Andrew and I met through our involvement in Scouts. We also had a homemade photo booth in the form of a giant Polaroid frame with a trunk full of different props for people to enjoy.
Our venue has a lovely outdoor seating area and because it was possibly the warmest October day ever lots of people were able to mingle outside but it did get a little cooler in the evening so I had a basket full of blankets ready for this and also a basket full of slippers for those that just had to kick off their shoes.
We would definitely recommend our venue to others – it’s warm, cosy without being small, spacious without being too big and neutral back drop which would suit many individual styles.
Other suppliers involved in our big day that we would recommend are RA Designs at The Manchester Craft & Design Centre who make bespoke engagement and wedding rings, Chloe Sinclair and Cedar Nail and Beauty in Kirkham, who did the bridal party’s make-up and Barbara Kay and Talking Heads in Wesham, who did the bridal party’s hair.
The whole day was a whirlwind but a particularly memorable moment was when we started to exchange our vows the sun started to shine and it just burst through the church windows down onto us. Perfect. I did also love our photo shoot up at Lytham Windmill, it was time just together on our own (of a fashion) and we couldn’t stop smiling and laughing, especially when my cheek was prickled by the thistle in Andrew’s button hole!
We went back to work the following Monday but the next week we headed off to The Lakes for our minimoon of walking, spa days, afternoon tea and just time together. We are heading to California in August for our proper honeymoon where we are going to drive from San Francisco to San Diego down the coast. We cannot wait!
My top tip to other Brides Up North is – be yourselves. Do not be swayed by what other people think, it’s your day. And make sure you have clear communication with all your suppliers so that they fully understand your vision.
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March 6th, 2015 | Julia Braime
When we received the details of Jai and Mish’s big day I had to double take the time frame between their engagement and wedding date – three months, surely it’s an error. But the error was mine, for this incredibly organised couple planned their fabulous big day in just 12 weeks. Here Jai and Mish prove that keeping things simple can sometimes work best.
We love Mish’s cool wedding day look and the men keep their style stakes high too with their burgundy and navy suits and patterned paisley shirts.
Fashion fans might want to take note.
With images by Pixies in the Cellar.
mish says: We got engaged 1st November 2013 in Edinburgh and set the date for 25th January 2014.
Rowton Hall Hotel in Chester was our chosen venue for both the ceremony and reception. We wanted somewhere we could hire on an exclusive use basis. We booked the whole hotel including all 37 bedrooms so that family and friends could stay all weekend with us.
Rustic woodland was the theme we picked. Jai made all of the table centre log candles, the wooden bench that we asked guests to sign and the wooden box for guests to put cards in.
We didn’t have a colour scheme as such but chose a palette of creams, lilacs, and browns.
My dress was by Donna Lee, a British designer and the style was called Pansy. I wore a handmade veil that I made myself and a necklace that my mum had made by Simon at Fraser Bell jewellers in West Kirby, Wirral, using stones from my great grandmother’s and my mother’s engagement rings.
Simon also made all of our rings, including my engagement ring.
Jai wore a burgundy blazer and paisley shirt from Burtons and navy suit trousers, as did the best man.
The bridesmaids wore dresses from Ted Baker and the groomsmen wore navy slim fit suits from Moss Bros which we bought so that the boys could keep them.
There were several special touches to our day which were contributed by different people. I travelled in my dad’s yellow 1973 Ford Capri. It rained on the way to the wedding and a windscreen wiper fell off but my dad luckily had a spare in the boot! Our wedding cake was made by Jai’s mum – it was a three-tier rice crispy toffee cake, his grandmother’s recipe. She isn’t with us anymore so this was a nice way to remember his grandmother.
We gave Kinder Eggs for favours and as a little extra for our guests we also made goody bags to go in each of the hotel rooms, which included paracetamol and some crisps and juice!
For my flowers I had a round vintage arrangement and the bridesmaids had smaller versions. The flowers were from Cocoa Flowers in Chester.
We used a DJ from Event Services Direct to provide the evening entertainment.
Having the photographs taken in the evening with the sparklers was definitely one of our favourite parts of the day. It was great fun because we told our friends about our engagement on bonfire night.
For our honeymoon we went to Sri Lanka on a private tour around the country and then a stop off for two nights in Dubai for a bit of shopping.
My top tip to other brides up north would be that it doesn’t have to take years to plan a wedding, we organised everything in three months, just keep it simple. Making a lot of the details ourselves kept everything within budget and gave our wedding a personal touch.
February 18th, 2015 | Julia Braime
I’m really excited to be reprising my role as “Official Blogger” for The North West Wedding Fair this spring.
This isn’t just a sponsored “I’m really excited” either, I genuinely love this gig. Whilst our own events are bespoke, exclusive (and perfectly formed… are they in your diaries yet !?), The North West Wedding Fair is the largest premium show for brides from the North West and I love that every one of their Exhibitors and Partners are dedicated to serving the North West region. Isn’t that what Brides Up North encourages: thinking local?
And, whilst I can’t wait to see as many as possible of you at our own events this season, I wouldn’t want my North West readers to miss out on the biggest juggernaut of a bridal event to come your way this spring either. There’s plenty of room in the diary for us both and what better way to get my brand in front of thousands more Brides Up North and fuel this Northern Revolution even further?
Plus, it was loads of fun last year. And I like having fun.
The North West Wedding Fair is taking place at EventCity, Manchester on 6th – 8th March 2015. Visit the website for more details. Brides Up North can save 1/3 off gold and standard tickets by entering exclusive discount code MK82 at checkout.
And guess what?! I’ve got a handful of FREE passes for two up my sleeves, and I’ll be giving those golden tickets away to the first 150 brides through the door at our own Luxury Wedding Exhibition at Hilltop Country House on Sunday 1st March 2015. Bonus! Be there…
^^^And yes, that is me nervously introducing the showreel above! (dies) ^^^
Our position as one of the top wedding blogs in the UK – and the only one specifically for Northern Brides – is extremely valuable, so alliances like this one need to be right for us. It is Mercury Events’ excellent reputation in the market that gave me the confidence to join up with The North West Wedding Fair in 2014, and I‘m happy to report that it was the start of a beautiful friendship.
As well as hosting my own features over on the show’s official blog, I’ll also be on site on the Friday evening at the event, tweeting, facebooking and instagramming like mad (from a front row seat on their designer catwalk no less), trying to meet as many of you lovely brides to be as possible and also putting my judging hat on to award the “best in show” exhibitor prize.
Joining me this autumn will be 180 of the most trusted suppliers from Manchester, Cheshire, Lancashire and Liverpool. The best boutiques in the North West will be on hand to help you find the best type and fit of dress for you and your whole wedding party.
Ideas for every aspect of your wedding will be on tap all weekend, with stunning Catwalk Shows, The Essential Bridalwear Collection, Vintage Village, Live Entertainment Stage, Inspired Bakes Showcase, free Tasting Sessions and so much more.
Treat yourself and visit the Fair in style, GOLD tickets include a reserved priority seat at the popular Catwalk Shows and a glass of bubbly from the Champagne Bar.
I can’t wait.
Visit their website for more details. Remember – Brides Up North can save 1/3 off gold and standard ticket prices by entering exclusive discount code MK82 at checkout, or we’ll see you for those free tickets at our Hilltop Country House event!
Standard Adult tickets £15 each (£10 with 1/3 off). Standard GOLD tickets £30 each (£20 with 1/3 off). Booking fees apply. These offers close at midnight on 5th March 2015.
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