Charlotte Balbier

real wedding recap summer 2017: a sophisticated wedding at west tower, ormskirk – jenn & mark

June 21st, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

A Sophisticated Wedding at West Tower (c) Ian MacMichael Photography (82)

It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely. Usual service will recommence on Monday 3rd July 2017 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from the first half of the year so far. 

Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your real wedding was one of our top picks.

Today we’re poring over Jenn and Mark’s exquisite wedding at the magnificent West Tower manor house in Lancashire.

Wearing the most stunning Mori Lee mermaid style gown, the beautiful bride carried a gorgeous bouquet of peonies and roses for a quintessential summer bridal look.

With a five-tier artificial cake – every inch the picture-perfect creation – the couple also laid on a special cocktail hour for their guests, complete with the breezy sounds of a live saxophonist.

With images by Ian MacMichael Photography

A Sophisticated Wedding at West Tower (c) Ian MacMichael Photography (83)

jenn says: We got engaged in London on 15th November 2014. We were celebrating Mark’s birthday, staying in our favourite hotel – The Grange St Paul’s. We were out sightseeing all day and when we got back in the early evening, there were roses and champagne in our room. Mark asked if they were for his birthday, I said no, then turned around and he was on one knee.

We got married on 11th June 2016. There wasn’t a specific reason why we chose this date, other than that we knew we wanted to get married on a Saturday at the beginning of summer.

A Sophisticated Wedding at West Tower (c) Ian MacMichael Photography (92)

We tied the knot in All Saints Church in Childwall, which is Mark’s family church and is stunning. This was followed by a reception at West Tower. I had always dreamed of getting married at West Tower; it was the first venue we viewed and we both knew straight away that it was perfect for us. The grounds are gorgeous and the staff are unbelievable, too.

Our colour scheme was white. We wanted everything neutral so that our photographs wouldn’t look dated in the years to come.

A Sophisticated Wedding at West Tower (c) Ian MacMichael Photography (101)

I chose a lace mermaid style Mori Lee dress – I tried on more than 50 dresses before I found ‘the one’. It was from a gorgeous shop called Natalie Ann Brides. As soon as I started to try on different gowns, I knew I would find my perfect dress there. I was petrified I wouldn’t find one that I loved and was really nervous, but they really put me at ease. I didn’t actually choose my dress – Natalie said she had found the perfect dress for me and, it turns out, it was exactly what I’d been looking for!

Mark wore a three-piece black dinner suit with bow tie from William Hunt in York. He has seen a photo of the suit on Pinterest which we couldn’t find anywhere, but he eventually tracked the shop down. They had one in London and another in Harrogate. He dealt with Gavin who was brilliant and nothing was too much trouble.

The bridesmaid dresses wore floor-length nude dresses from AX Paris. The groomsmen wore two-piece black dinner suits from Next with ties from Debenhams.

A Sophisticated Wedding at West Tower (c) Ian MacMichael Photography (107)

Peaches and Cream did the bridal party’s hair and makeup. I loved the trials in the buildup and it was such a fun atmosphere in the shop on the day. They don’t come out to your house, which I quite liked as there were ten of us so it could have got a bit manic! All the girls looked stunning.

Our wedding transport was a vintage car from The Wedding Rooms, Formby.

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love, lights, action. a rose gold plus size bridal styled shoot in the north west

May 25th, 2017 | Julia Braime

A Rose Gold Styled Shoot (c) Teresa C Photography (25)

Ready for something super, duper pretty? Well surely it doesn’t get much prettier than a styled shoot inspired by every girl’s current favourite colour, rose gold?!

Glamorous, feminine and fun, what’s not to love about this on-trend hue, which is making a stylish statement on the wedding scene right now.

Led by Rebecca Lord-Lyon, a fellow rose-gold lover and owner of Cheshire’s award-winning plus size bridal boutique, Edith & Winston Bridalwear, this shoot demonstrates beautifully how to incorporate this magical metal tone into various elements of your big day.

Offering ideas on everything from the dress to the details, we’ll hand over the blogging reins to Rebecca so that she can explain how she and her talented North West industry friends pulled the whole shoot together…

With images by Teresa C Photography. Model: Georgina Horne.

A Rose Gold Styled Shoot (c) Teresa C Photography (24)

rebecca says: The shoot was inspired by a new product created by Stacy from Love Lights The Way – a beautiful rose gold, light-up love heart called ‘Lola’. The unique, light-up prop quickly became a massive hit with brides and after seeing Lola for myself at a wedding fair, I also fell head over heels for her and so spoke to Stacy about collaborating on a special photoshoot.

Rose gold has become a very popular colour – it’s everywhere this spring; interiors, fashion and it’s a growing trend in weddings too. We therefore wanted to create a shoot together that would show our brides how to use this pretty colour for their big day.

Stacy decided that the shoot was the perfect opportunity to introduce some more unique, rose gold pieces to her collection and so we used the shoot to launch these products alongside our brand new bridal accessories by Richard Designs.

A Rose Gold Styled Shoot (c) Teresa C Photography (29)

I knew that Teresa, of Teresa C Photography, had to be our photographer. Having worked with her before, we knew she could capture the plus size model beautifully. Teresa is an amazing photographer and has worked at so many of the North West’s wedding venues. For this shoot she suggested Liverpool’s incredible The Venue at the Royal Liver Building, as our location. We trusted her instinct and she wasn’t wrong; the venue has clean lines, pure white walls and perfect lighting.

And so, on the windiest day of the year, our team of fabulous handpicked wedding suppliers, came together to pool their skills – even Storm Doris couldn’t get in the way of this photoshoot!

A Rose Gold Styled Shoot (c) Teresa C Photography (15)

Precious Things were simply given the colour scheme brief of rose gold and ivory, and then we let their imaginations run free. As event stylists, they teamed up with Stacy to create the most incredible setting for our shoot, which even included a metallic rose gold tropical flower tree!

A Rose Gold Styled Shoot (c) Teresa C Photography (33)

The aim was to create a look that was eye-catching and elegant as well as relaxed. They coupled rose gold sequinned table cloths with bespoke ivory frothed chair covers and handmade the copper-coloured paper flowers that were on each place setting.

For the bouquets, they used Tulips, Roses, Scabiosa Seed Pods, Broom ‘Genista’, Asparagus Fern, Berried Eucalyptus, Sweet Avalanche Roses and Success Hanoi Ranunculous.

The trees were made to be multifunctional: the smaller of the two was the perfect spring centrepiece for the decadent sequinned guest table. The larger was a fabulous backdrop. The bark of each tree was sprayed rose gold to glam up the loose yet pretty arrangement at the top. Additional flowers used in the trees were Snapdragons and Broom.

The backdrop structure was dressed with ivory voile and an abundance of foliage and flowers, which could either be used as an arch to say ‘I do’ or a photo backdrop to rival any photobooth.

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perfect posy. love, light and laughter for a timeless wedding at eaves hall – vicki & richard

May 15th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Rustic Wedding at Eaves Hall (c) Emilie May Photography (64)

Today on the blog we’re featuring the impossible elegance of Vicki and Richard’s wedding day at Eaves Hall in Clitheroe.

All of the details, from the fine surroundings of Eaves Hall to Vicki’s lace mermaid-cut gown, speak of classic sophistication. This super-stylish couple opted for a pop of cornflower blue in their otherwise neutral colour scheme and the most stunning bridal posy this side of the Pennines.

Their day was perfectly captured by their photographer, who certainly delivered on her promise of beautiful, relaxed and natural wedding photography.

Vicki tells us more…

With images by Emilie May Photography.

A Rustic Wedding at Eaves Hall (c) Emilie May Photography (5)

vicki says: We got engaged at Room restaurant in Manchester on New Year’s Eve 2013. Richard proposed at midnight; it came as a total surprise as, after almost six years together, I’d given up on him proposing!

Our wedding date was set for 12th August 2016. We wanted to get married in summer: because Richard is a teacher, we were restricted to certain times.

A Rustic Wedding at Eaves Hall (c) Emilie May Photography (31)

Our venue was Eaves Hall in West Bradford near Clitheroe. We had both the ceremony and the reception there. Richard’s parents had stayed at Eaves Hall several times when it was a guest house. They often talked about it and how lovely the house and grounds were. Richard suggested going to an open day at the end of January a little after we had gotten engaged. It was the first and only place we visited – we fell in love as we walked around the house. We went for lunch at the Waddington Arms to discuss it and then went straight back after to ask about dates. We didn’t regret a thing – there would be no point in seeing other places as we just knew that Eaves Hall was perfect for us.

A Rustic Wedding at Eaves Hall (c) Emilie May Photography (40)

We had a rustic theme with lace and burlap and little wooden hearts. It suited Eaves Hall and its decor perfectly. I handmade our invites – they were cream and natural card with burlap and lace around the top and with a wooden heart in the middle. This theme carried on with the menus, vases, table plan, place names and so on. We also scattered wooden hearts on each table. We wanted to keep the décor simple with lots of little touches, along with lovely flowers. Eaves Hall is such a lovely house with beautiful decoration; it speaks for itself and doesn’t need much adding to it.

Overall, the colour-scheme was lots of natural neutrals, but we also chose a strong blue for the bridesmaids. The men’s suits were navy blue – I personally think Richard looks very handsome in blue, and I’m not a fan of grey suits.

A Rustic Wedding at Eaves Hall (c) Emilie May Photography (42)

I chose a fitted lace mermaid-style dress with a low back and a jewelled waistband. I wanted to show off my curves – in the right places!

During the planning, I looked at lots of magazines including UNVEILED, attended a Brides Up North wedding fair and got inspiration from the blog to get plenty of wedding-related ideas, especially regarding my dress. I went to a few boutiques and salons and tried on lots of different shapes, which I would definitely recommend – you need to know that you’ve made the right choice! The dress I eventually chose was from Love & Cherish bridal shop in Ramsbottom. It’s around the corner from Richard’s parents and we often drive past it so I had to give it a try!

I also wore gold shoes with diamante jewels on the front which matched my belt and Swarovski jewellery.

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peachy keen. ivory & co for a rustic wedding at rivington hall barn – gill & chris

May 4th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

A Rustic Wedding at Rivington Hall Barn (c) Ally M Photography (25)

Today’s real wedding showcases a simple rustic theme paired with the dreamiest of neutral palettes.

Our bride and groom, Gill and Chris, hosted their big day at the exquisite Grade II listed Rivington Hall Barn in Bolton – think traditional Saxon beams, gorgeous fairy lighting and sprawling open grounds.

With friends and family travelling from far-flung destinations such as America and New Zealand, and others rallying round to provide help on the day itself (a special mention goes to the mother-of-the-bride) this wedding reminds us that when it comes to saying “I do” – it’s all about the people you share that special moment with.

With images by Ally M Photography

A Rustic Wedding at Rivington Hall Barn (c) Ally M Photography (12)

gill says: We got engaged in June 2015. We had been together for seven years and both wanted to seal our commitment and love for each other properly, in the eyes of god and all our families. We are both very fortunate to have our parents, who we very much wanted to be there with us on our special day.

We got married on Friday 19th August 2016. We chose this date as it was during the summer holidays. Both Chris and I have our birthdays on the 19th of the month too and have just moved into house number 19, so, it seems 19 is our lucky number!

A Rustic Wedding at Rivington Hall Barn (c) Ally M Photography (29)

Our ceremony took place at Horwich Parish Trinity Church, which is where I was baptised and confirmed. My mum tells me I went to the church at ten days old! It is also the nearest church to all our families and just two miles from our reception venue.

We then had our wedding breakfast and celebrations at Rivington Hall Barn, which is the best place to have a wedding. We both went to Rivington High School and have grown up in and around this area. Rivington Hall Barn is run by the loveliest family who were so kind, helpful and went above and beyond to make our day extra special.

A Rustic Wedding at Rivington Hall Barn (c) Ally M Photography (33)

We chose a rustic and natural theme, as the reception venue is a Grade II listed barn. Nothing too fancy or over the top, and sympathetic to the surroundings.

We opted for soft colours – peaches and creams – complemented by hessian to give a subtle but rustic touches.

A Rustic Wedding at Rivington Hall Barn (c) Ally M Photography (39)

I wore a beautiful Ivory & Co silk dress with a stunning lace bodice and cream satin waistband. I chose it for its simplicity, elegance and how it instantly felt when I tried it on! I purchased it from Bridalwear by Emma Louise in Bolton. An amazing local dressmaker, Margaret at Something Special Bridal Shop in Horwich, altered it nearer to the time and it fitted perfectly. My very clever and talented mum also added over 100 satin buttons all the way down the back of the dress and train to give it that extra special finish. I had a hand finished matching lace bolero, which I chose to keep on as it complemented the dress immensely.

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the best intentions: amateur vs pro wedding photography

April 20th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Best Intentions (c) Jonny Draper (7)

Here at Brides Up North HQ, we’re huge advocates of choosing a wedding photographer that’s right for you and your big day. But in order to get perfect results, it’s not just about picking your favourite style of photography, but also someone who has the professional experience, skills and equipment to capture your day without fault. After all, you only get one shot.

As the cost of a wedding can easily stack up, we appreciate the temptation to take up a ‘mates rate’ offer from your relative or friend that has a flashy camera, but an ‘all the gear and no idea’ approach is a sure recipe for disappointment.

Best Intentions (c) Jonny Draper (1)

In a bid to demonstrate the difference between images taken by a professional versus a have-a-go snapper with a DSLR camera, our Sponsor and award-winning photographer Jonny Draper, teamed up with some of the team at Lancashire wedding venue Ashfield House, and a number of other North West suppliers, to showcase how the results of each vary.

Lighting, focus and composition are just a few of the issues to look out for, but it’s certainly easy to spot the difference between the pro and amateur pics.

Here to explain more about the concept and results of the comparison shoot is Ashfield House co-owner and wedding coordinator, Katie Street.

Best Intentions (c) Jonny Draper (11)

Best Intentions (c) Jonny Draper (30)

katie says: With the average UK wedding costing £26,989* it’s no surprise that couples are faced with tough cost-saving decisions when their budgets creep up and up. It’s heartbreaking however, to hear from couples who are disappointed with their photographs after the wedding because they chose the slash their photography budget. That friend with a decent DSLR camera may have the best of intentions but will the results be good enough?

With the help of our friend and award-winning wedding photographer Jonny Draper, we decided to conduct our own side-by-side, like-for-like wedding photography experiment.

Jonny, armed with his high-end equipment and years of experience was pitched against Karen, our assistant general manager, complete with her ‘decent’ DSLR camera, and our makeup artist Kerry Baker was on hand to snap away with her camera phone too.

Best Intentions (c) Jonny Draper (22)

Best Intentions (c) Jonny Draper (46)

Your friends and family, or the hobbyist, will have incredible intentions yet, if they haven’t got the equipment or the technical expertise and continued learning, then there really is no comparison. Most of the work in photographing a wedding is before and after, hours of painstaking editing, which our average enthusiast doesn’t have the ability to get right.

Years ago, taking the actual photographs was the easy part. The processing in the dark room and time spent with chemicals could go on for days. Photography was reserved for those elite professionals who had invested in their cameras, lenses, lights and film, plus the need for a dedicated dark room. It was big business! Every high street had a celebrated photography studio and you needed to book weeks in advance to arrange your sitting for family portraits, and months in advance to secure your wedding day photography.

Best Intentions (c) Jonny Draper (10)

Best Intentions (c) Jonny Draper (27)

This day and age, you can teach yourself the necessary skills from the comfort of your own laptop, and, if you have the money, invest in the world’s best kit. But – as these images show – that doesn’t replace the skill, expertise and experience of a dedicated wedding photographer.

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retro romantics. a glamorous vintage wedding at the belle epoque – zoe & chris

April 10th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Vintage Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Kate McCarthy Photography (30)

Today’s bride Zoe was aiming for ‘1940s film starlet’ for her vintage wedding day look. After seeing these photographs, we’re sure you’ll agree that she smashed it. With her tea-length dress, birdcage veil and amazing Ingrid Bergman-esque ‘do’, she looks every inch the glamourous bride.

Retro vibes permeate every aspect of this gorgeous wedding, from the live music to the rich colours of the bridesmaids’ dresses and the stunning floral arrangements. Full marks, guys!

Here at Brides Up North HQ, we’re also touched by Zoe’s advice to brides-to-be: look into your partner’s eyes and not the registrar’s (!), and get thee to a Brides Up North wedding fair. Who are we to disagree?!

With photography by Kate McCarthy Photography

A Vintage Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Kate McCarthy Photography (34)

zoe says: We got engaged in Venice at 5.30am on a bridge in Canaregio on 7th May 2016. We’d always wanted to have a two-week holiday in Italy with a week in Venice then a week in Tuscany. We arrived on the Friday and got a water taxi (a complete treat, but obviously Chris knew he was going to propose on holiday whereas I had no clue!)

We love seeing a city wake up, so got up early on the Monday to go and walk round the beautiful streets. We started to cross the bridge right by our apartment and Chris caught my hand, stopped me and said, “Do you love it here?” I replied “Yes, of course” and he then got down on one knee – at which point I started grinning madly! And then he said “Great – in that case, would you do me the great honour of becoming my wife?” and produced the most beautiful emerald cut diamond ring! At this point I wanted to shout “Weeeeeeeeeeeeee!” quite loudly but remembered no one else was awake. Instead, we skipped (literally) down the street grinning our heads off!

A Vintage Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Kate McCarthy Photography (21)

Our wedding was planned for 10th February 2017. We wanted to get married quickly but still have some time to plan. We were extremely flexible and so chose our location and then saw what they could offer us – they had this particular Friday free and so we booked it!

Our venue was The Belle Epoque in Knutsford. We had quite a tick list – we wanted somewhere unusual and quirky, with a dancefloor and room for a band but also somewhere with a separate room so that people could sit down and talk. Chris doesn’t dance and so wanted to be able to go around and speak to everyone. I visited it with my mum and, walking in, I was immediately excited; it has a lovely feel, is full of art deco art and pieces, it has a huge welcoming fireplace and the bar is straight in front as you walk in. I spied a room off this entrance with tables and chairs in, so immediately thought that was a tick. We then went upstairs to the dining area which was set up for a wedding – I actually gasped! They had twisted willow and flowers and fairy lights hanging from the ceiling and huge tall vases of flowers, vibrant, rich, opulent colours and gorgeous iris-patterned wallpaper. I was a little bit teary and knew this was the place.

A Vintage Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Kate McCarthy Photography (31)

Our theme was a bit vintage and Peaky Blinders, I suppose. I love vintage dresses and wanted to look like a 1940s film star. We didn’t have a colour-scheme as such, but we chose deep reds, purples and pinks for the bridesmaids and flowers. I wanted the bridesmaids to choose their own dress and style but with a vintage theme. I wanted them to be able to wear them again and really enjoy choosing their own dresses!

For my dress, I knew I wanted something in a vintage style from the 40s/50s and tea-length. I started to look on Pinterest and came across a dress that I loved, so went onto the designer’s website and found a local stockist. I went to Puure in Lymm and Angie, the owner, saw me. I tried the dress I’d seen on and liked it but she insisted I try on more – and I was happy to oblige! After another one, she bought a dress out that I looked at and my heart started to beat faster even though it was full-length and had no sleeves! She fastened me up and explained it could be made-to-measure, adjusted to tea length and have three-quarter sleeves fitted. I looked at myself and felt fantastic. My mum grinned and I had a little tear! That was it. It was ivory satin – so rich and so many sumptuous folds of gorgeous material! It had a little belt with a sparkly diamante square buckle, a fitted bodice with a sweetheart neckline and a net top with tiny sparkles on. I had so many lovely compliments. Angie and her team and Sonya, the seamstress were absolutely incredible and made me feel like a 1940s film star on my day!

A Vintage Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Kate McCarthy Photography (39)

I wanted my hair setting in a vintage style and so booked the amazing Ewa Baberska, hair and makeup artist, to finish the look. Suzie Taylor was my makeup artist and she was great. I wanted a very natural look as I don’t wear much and she did exactly that, yet made me look fab.

For my headpiece I also wanted something vintage and had met Kaye Hannabuss of Kaye Hannabus Textiles at a networking meeting. We got chatting and I asked her if she would be able to make me something. She made me a fabulous vintage-inspired headpiece with a birdcage veil, a smartie base and a bow. For the evening, she made me a gorgeous hair slide with beads and pearls and diamante. Kaye works with Harris Tweed and so Chris was interested in talking to her about his and Holly’s waistcoats.

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