Charlotte Balbier

perfect to a tea. a pretty pastel wedding at barnsdale hall hotel – sarah & chris

October 5th, 2016 | Julia Braime

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Now’s the time to stick the kettle on for that morning brew as we share the beautiful big day of Sarah and Chris, which had a subtle tea theme to it.

Though now living in Cheshire, today’s couple went back to their roots in Leicester for a pretty pastel church wedding followed by an elegant hotel reception.

We adore the colour scheme as well as the incredible blooms, particularly the spectacular flower arch and Sarah’s dreamy bouquet! And not forgetting those charming teapot touches too!

With images by Love Luella Photography, assisted by Alix Ferguson Photography.

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sarah says: Chris’s proposal came as a complete surprise to me. It happened following a mini break that I’d been on over the Christmas period with some girlfriends from work as we’d to work through Christmas.

On the flight home the girls were acting very strange giving me makeup to put on, I assumed it was because I looked rough! Once we had landed and arrived at passport control the security spent a while checking my passport and talking on the radio which made me panic (turns out they all knew about the proposal). As we eventually walked through the girls went ahead of me and I could hear music playing – it was mine and Chris’s song (Drops of Jupiter by Train, which became our first dance song). There was an iPad set up with my nickname “Embo” on it and a bunch of flowers, but the penny still hadn’t dropped. I picked up the iPad and there was a video of all my friends and family from home/work/ abroad saying “just say yes” to which I started crying. At the end it said to turn around and then Chris came through the crowd in a suit and proposed. It was quite sweet. When we got home we were surprised by all our family at our house to congratulate us, followed by a meal out.  For a guy who can’t plan his day without my help, he did good!

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Although we now live in Chester we are both originally from Leicester and so we chose to get married back home in my local church, Manton St Mary’s, and held the reception at the Barnsdale Hall Hotel, Oakam. The views from the Barnsdale Hall Hotel were the biggest selling point.

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We decided on a tea theme for the wedding because I’m well-known from my love for tea. I wanted the day to be quite a traditional English wedding and so this seemed to suit well.

We chose to have mixed pastels colour scheme because I couldn’t pick just one colour – the three I chose in the end went together well. I don’t like the uniformed look and thought this seemed more fun!

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I got my wedding dress from Dresses2ImpressU in Leicester. I fell in love with it straight away although it looked quite different when I purchased it because I added a longer train and lace bottom to make this personal. It was elegant and also comfortable.

In terms of accessories I wore shoes from Elegant Steps, which are designed to be comfortable for the whole day and can also be dyed to match the colour of your dress, which was an added perk. In the evening both Chris and I wore Converse! For my jewellery I wore my mum’s ‘something borrowed’ and kept it minimal, simple pearl drop earrings and a pearl bracelet. To complete my look I had a couple of white flowers in my hair.

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ruffles & roses. pretty pastels for a relaxed garden party wedding in liverpool – cecilia & philip

August 29th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

A Garden Party Wedding in Liverpool (c) Tim Simpson Photography  (18)

We’re getting Monday off to a very pretty start here on the blog by heading North West to relive the gorgeous wedding of Cecilia and Philip.

Deciding on a chilled-out garden party wedding theme to complement their chosen venue, Cecilia and Philip styled their day with lots of flourishing florals and paper pompoms in sugary pastel tones.

As well as the setting, we love Cecilia’s choice of voluminous ruffle wedding gown, topped off with a cute pink flower crown. B-e-a-u-tiful!

With images by Tim Simpson Photography.

A Garden Party Wedding in Liverpool (c) Tim Simpson Photography  (33)

cecilia says: We’ve been together for almost ten years so it was about time we got engaged. It happened whilst we were watching the sunset on a summer’s evening after dinner at Bon Ton overlooking over the lagoon on a holiday in Langkawi.

Once engaged we set the wedding date for 31st May 2015. We thought the end of spring/beginning of summer would be a lovely time of year to marry and it’s also a great time for lots of blossoming flowers.

A Garden Party Wedding in Liverpool (c) Tim Simpson Photography  (27)

When deciding where the wedding should take place Liverpool sprang to our minds as it was the city in which we first met. Grade II* listed Sefton Park Palm House was our venue of choice. We loved the crisp white architecture of the glass house and surrounding beauty of greenery. Also the aromas from the glass house flower as soon as you walk into the venue. We had both our ceremony and reception there.

For the wedding theme we agreed on a relaxed garden party vibe with lots of floral décor. The colour scheme meanwhile was light shades of pinks, with splashes of blue and lime green. I thought that these would be easy on the eye but also pop out well against the white linen tables whilst blending in well with the floral green house.

A Garden Party Wedding in Liverpool (c) Tim Simpson Photography  (44)

I had two wedding day outfits: my white wedding gown and then a little red dress for the tea ceremony. It is the Chinese tradition to wear red on the special day with the lucky meaning. My wedding gown was a princess bell shape with long train, which after trying various styles of gowns, is the shape that suited me most. The ‘dome’ was formed by multi layers of lightweight fabrics so even though the train was quite long, wasn’t that heavy to stop me from moving freely. I ordered by wedding dress from an online shop on Taobao (China’s equivalent of eBay), which was custom made to fit my size. The red dress I wore was from another shop on Taobao which turned out to be a bit of a headache – I later wished that I had ordered it from the same shop as where I got my wedding dress from. If brides do fancy getting a nice outfit from Taobao, my advice would be to make sure they find those with an excellent reputation, and ideally with high street store. Oh and allow plenty of time for ordering and delivery.

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just peachy. maggie sottero for a romantic wedding at matfen hall – lisa & paul

December 2nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Matfen Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography (50)

Where to start with today’s wedding? We love it all!

From the venue to the wedding party’s attire, everything about Lisa and Paul’s big day says elegance and class in an effective yet understated manner.

The pretty colour palette of peaches, pastels and nudes work effortlessly with the setting and with the gorgeous gold, sparkly decor that’s been added for the perfect touch of glamour.

Ladies, you might want to get pinning

With images by Helen Russell Photography.

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Matfen Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography (24)

lisa says: We got engaged in June 2013. I was on a hen weekend in Marbella and Paul decided to purchase the ring while I was away and proposed to me as soon as I returned home!

We set the date for 27th March 2015 as we wanted a spring wedding and plenty of time to plan! Matfen Hall was our chosen venue. It was the first place we looked at and following viewing numerous other venues, we always went back to Matfen. The east wing and basement, in particular, sold it to us!

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Matfen Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography (52)

We decided on a vintage/ art deco theme with a colour scheme of peaches, pastels and nudes. We worked around the colour of the bridesmaid dresses which were warm colours for the time of year that we were getting married.

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pastel perfection. augusta Jones for a shabby chic wedding at willington hall – laura & adam

November 17th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Shabby Chic Wedding in Cheshire (c) Stephen McGowan Photography (6)

We love the bravery of today’s groom who popped the question to his now wife during a flight to the Dominican Republic. You’d have to be sure of a ‘yes’ wouldn’t you? Otherwise you’d be in for a rather awkward flight and holiday!

Anyhoo, ring firmly on finger, Laura and Adam decided on a shabby chic wedding with pretty pastels and a cute afternoon tea.

Executed to perfection everything fits in perfectly with the theme and setting, from the beautiful bouquets to Laura’s gorgeous mermaid style dress.

With images by Brides Up North fave,  Stephen McGowan Wedding Photography.

A Shabby Chic Wedding in Cheshire (c) Stephen McGowan Photography (21)

laura says: We got engaged on 8th April 2014, when we were on a flight to Dominican Republic. Adam asked the pilot to call me to the front of the plane, Adam then got down on one knee and proposed. All flight he was acting rather nervous and taking advantage of the free drinks – now it all makes sense, he was trying to calm his nerves. When I said yes, the whole plane cheered! It was such an amazing proposal.

Our wedding date was 12th September 2015. We always knew we wanted August or September for a lovely summer wedding and so when we found our perfect venue, the dates worked out well as it was the only available Saturday left.

A Shabby Chic Wedding in Cheshire (c) Stephen McGowan Photography (18)

We were married in Willington Hall in Tarporley, Cheshire. To be honest, it was Adam who found this hidden gem, much to my dismay! It was exactly what we were after, beautiful location, perfect intimate size and amazing staff. The views around for the photographs were perfect and it simply is a beautiful venue. After looking at so many ‘corporate’ venues, it was nice to find a place that remembered us by name, rather than a wedding date!

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english country garden. a pretty pastel wedding with vintage touches in shropshire – hayley & ross

November 16th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Pretty Pastel Wedding in Shropshire (c) Knot Just Pics (56)

If you’re craving some pretty on this Monday morning then you’ve come to the right place, as today we’re sharing Hayley and Ross’ gorgeous celebration, complete with pastel wedding colours and handpicked style blooms.

As well as the setting being stunning, so too are the bride and groom with Ross opting for a slightly unusual bottle green suit and Hayley wearing a slim-line vintage style gown with exquisite detailing.

Above all we love that the day is beautifully styled but has a very chilled out vibe to it too – well until the reception that is when it appears some rather competitive moves went down on the dancefloor!

With images by Knot Just Pics.

A Pretty Pastel Wedding in Shropshire (c) Knot Just Pics (24)

hayley says: We had been together for eight years and were travelling around Australia and New Zealand visiting family and friends when we got engaged. Ross’ mum lives in New Zealand and she planned a big trip for Ross, myself, her and her husband around the South Island. We stayed in lots of small out of the way places, one of which was called ‘Barb’s Bach’ in the Marlborough Sounds (A bach is a holiday cottage). It was a fair drive from anywhere so really peaceful and remote. Ross and I were sleeping in a ‘sleep out’ which is essentially a spare bedroom down a walkway in the garden. Ross is not an early riser so I was getting suspicious of him getting up so early to make coffee in the mornings. Little did I know that these were failed attempts to get the ring from his mother’s handbag where it was safely hidden! Eventually he got down on one knee next to the bed and proposed. It was a total shock, having been together for so long, I just did not see it coming!

A Pretty Pastel Wedding in Shropshire (c) Knot Just Pics (21)

Our wedding date was slap bang in the middle of the school summer holidays as I am a primary school teacher. I needed both time to sort things out and then time to go on a honeymoon before school started again.

Ross is from South Africa, I’m from Shropshire and we live in London, so no matter where we got married, people would have to travel from somewhere! In the end, we decided on Shropshire as it was the most affordable option for people having to travel. It is also one of the most beautiful, unspoilt places in the UK (although I may be a little biased!). Our venue was somewhere that I had often been to with my family for special occasion dinners although it took us ages to think of it as a wedding venue. We had been looking for places with accommodation and had no luck. During a family Sunday lunch we had a quick look around The Mytton and Mermaid Hotel and it was pretty perfect! Coincidentally my grandfather had booked my parents a room there on their wedding night but there was a mix up with the booking and they didn’t stay. Thankfully my parents were able to get over it – 36 years later!

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pastels & roses. ronald joyce for astley bank wedding with a vintage twist – jodi & jack

October 7th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Classic Wedding with a Vintage Twist (c) Paul Swift (37)

When planning their big day, today’s couple initially decided on a 1940s theme inspired by their chosen transport – a vintage bus. However worried that she might get carried away with just one set theme, bride Jodi chose to keep the remainder of the wedding modern and simple with elegant pastel pops in the bridesmaids’ dresses, décor and flowers.

The result is a pretty and up-to-date big day with just a touch of vintage.

With images by Paul Swift Photography.

A Classic Wedding with a Vintage Twist (c) Paul Swift (4)

jodi says: We got engaged on the 2nd August 2013. We had gone for a few days away in Grasmere, Cumbria. After a fantastic day boating on Lake Coniston we went back to the guest house to get changed and go into Grasmere for something nice to eat and a few drinks. On the way back from the restaurant was a wishing well, which we stopped at for a while. Jack told me to throw a penny in and make a wish, I did. He did the same, he asked me what id wished for and I told him I wished we could be this happy forever. I asked him what he wished for, he said he wished for his dream to come true, and for me to be his wife, as he pulled a beautiful diamond engagement ring out of his pocket. I didn’t really quite understand what was going on until he actually asked me to marry him. It was the biggest shock of my life! I was so happy I cried for the rest of the holiday!

A Classic Wedding with a Vintage Twist (c) Paul Swift (11)

We decided to marry on the 1st August 2015 as we wanted two year’s planning and saving time, a summer wedding and the nearest date to our engagement date.

We got married at St Peter and St Paul’s Church in the village where we live. I have lived in Rishton all of my life, as have most of my family. My parents, grandparents and great grandparents married at the same church and ever since being a little girl I dreamed of walking down the aisle there.

We had the reception and evening celebrations at Astley Bank in Darwen, Lancashire. It’s absolutely beautiful and the food is amazing! A friend of mine had had her wedding there in 2008 and from that day I loved it. I’m from quite a big family and didn’t want a venue that a family wedding had been held at before, I also wanted somewhere not too close to home but a close enough distance for people to be able to travel to easily, so it was perfect. I took Jack to see it before we had even talked about it properly and on entering the grounds he pretty much made his mind up there and then that it was the place for us.

A Classic Wedding with a Vintage Twist (c) Paul Swift (13)

I thought I wanted a modern wedding until Jack came home from work saying someone he knew had hired a wedding bus. I’ll be honest, I thought it sounded awful! However, I had a look online and saw a bus that we had seen before during a charity walk, I loved it so much! It was a navy and cream 1947 Leyland double decker. I loved the idea that it could take everyone from the church to the venue. I then started to plan a theme around the bus, especially as I love the style of the 40s, but as I did more research I decided I didn’t want to be stuck to one particular style/era. I’m a little OCD with fine detail, if we had gone for a 40s theme literally everything would have had to have been 40s! So we decided that we would go for a modern wedding with a slight vintage twist, which is a good job as the bus I’d based my planning on was involved in an accident two days before the wedding!

We chose a colour scheme of pastel green with peach/coral and ivory. I wanted light, bright, fresh colours that I hadn’t seen at other weddings. I had seven bridesmaids and two flower girls. Choosing the bridesmaids colour was the hardest decision of them all and I wanted to be clear about that before planning anything else. My maids couldn’t be any different from each other with skin tone, hair colour etc. and although I knew I wanted a summery colour I needed something that suited all of them, it was a tough decision! And I’m not convinced they all loved it, but they looked incredible!

A Classic Wedding with a Vintage Twist (c) Paul Swift (16)

On the wedding day I wore the third wedding dress I had bought! The first was from eBay and was an absolute disaster! I hated it so much I cried when I unpacked it. The photos were beautiful but the real thing was such a disappointment!. The second I think I panic bought! The neckline was same as the bridesmaids’ dresses so I think that’s what made me get it. I loved it but then the more I looked at myself in it the more I realised that it really wasn’t me! By this time Lindsey at Anne Whittakers Bridal Wear in Accrington had got to know me a little and agreed it wasn’t right for me. I tried on what felt like a million other dresses but had kept looking at the gorgeous one on the model in the middle of the shop. I tried that on last. I loved it! So much so I nearly cried! It was a beautiful lace Ronald Joyce dress with a low button up back and gorgeous lace train. I’m not a girly girl at all! I don’t do bling or sparkle but it had just the right amount of detail around the middle to make it a beautiful dress without being too much. Lindsey swapped the dress no problem, I really can’t thank her enough! She and the seamstress Shareen were both amazing! My wedding makeup was done by Rebecca Brown and my hair stylist was Gemma Brown.

A Classic Wedding with a Vintage Twist (c) Paul Swift (21)

Jack wore a three piece grey suit from Amelia’s menswear in Clitheroe. By the time it came to choosing the suits I’d become a wedding geek! I’d noticed that most of the suits I had looked at hadn’t changed much over the last 20 years and I wanted something more traditional looking yet with a modern cut. Amelia’s was definitely the best choice, I had seen a photo on their website and knew straight away that it was perfect. The ties were a lovely floral print silk and they had them in the exact green I had chosen for the bridesmaids for the ushers and groomsmen, a peach for my dad that matched the flowers, and ivory to match my dress for the groom. Jack chose to wear a tailcoat as he wanted to be a little different from the rest of the men. The staff at Amelia’s need medals! They put up with the husbands fussing and flapping and his entourage of 11!

The bridesmaids wore pastel green dresses with frilled alter necks that flowed from under the bust to the floor. I chose dresses that would flatter all the different figure types they have, which was a good job as two became pregnant during the planning! I ordered the dresses to be made to measure from a company abroad. The groomsmen wore three piece suits from Amelia’s with standard length jackets and ties in green to match the bridesmaids. Jack’s twin boys wore the same but without the jackets, and their sleeves rolled up a little with Converse shoes to give a more casual look but still in keeping with the older men.

A Classic Wedding with a Vintage Twist (c) Paul Swift (32)

For the wedding transport we ended up having to have an alternative bus as the one I’d set my heart on had been damaged in an accident. Classic Buses sent us a vintage red double decker London bus after working hard to juggle their already full schedule. The driver was a lovely lady who made it even more special. We arrived at church on the bus and after the ceremony it brought our entire wedding party back to Astley Bank. Nobody had to worry about driving or parking or not being able to drink, it was definitely a great idea and everyone loved it!

We chose Paul Swift as our photographer, which was the easiest and quickest decision we made! I’ve known Paul and his wife Sarah since school days and have followed his photography blogs since he started out. Since the day we asked him he helped us to plan our big day and gave us so much advice and knowledge. Neither me nor jack are comfortable in front of the camera so he suggested a pre wedding shoot. This made such a massive difference to us! Paul made us very comfortable and we had such good fun and a real laugh. On the big day his presence was very calming, we both felt like we were in the best hands and he did so much more for us than just take photographs. Jack said he was really nervous when he arrived at church until Paul turned up and started organising everyone, we honestly can’t recommend him highly enough. A true professional! He was very calm and patient and the 800+ photos he took are all beautiful and the perfect reminder of our wedding day.

A Classic Wedding with a Vintage Twist (c) Paul Swift (31)

Rachel at Garlands Florist made my hand tied bouquet using coral miss piggy roses, white hydrangea schneeball, thistles, veronica and rosemary, tied with ivory lace ribbon. Rachel incorporated a bangle into my bouquet which belonged to my mum who passed away in 2008 aged just 49. I wanted to carry something of hers with me on my big day, this also became my something old. She also made the most adorable little gypsophila head dresses for the flower girls, too cute!

Rachel then used glassware I had collected as top table decorations with fresh flowers in keeping with those of my bouquet. I’ve worked in science since 1999 so I wanted to use some scientific glassware to incorporate my love of chemistry into our day. Wedding Creations of Oswaldtwistle dressed the venue with seat covers with peach and lace sashes, huge candelabras with hanging pearls and diamantes. There were also little vintage bottles, pots with flowers and hessian and scatterings of pearls, peach roses petals and diamantes on the tables. Our table names were the dates of our parents and grandparents weddings and each had a photograph from their wedding day. The guests loved this personal touch! The top table had our wedding date and a photo from our pre wedding shoot. I made these myself along with the place name cards and seating plan in the same style as I’d made the invitations and orders of service.

A Classic Wedding with a Vintage Twist (c) Paul Swift (28)

Our favours were bath salts for the ladies and heart shaped mints for the men in corked test tubes tied with brown twine for a ‘sciencey’ vintage feel.

Our cake was made by my sister-in-law Charlotte as a wedding present – it looked and tasted amazing. We has three tiers of ivory iced chocolate and vanilla sponge and a clever clear Perspex tier filled with vintage buttons and pearls to match our theme. It was decorated with a row of threaded buttons and topped with the flowers I had used to make the bridesmaids bouquets. So simple and so beautiful.

The wedding breakfast was absolutely fantastic! We chose from the set menu and tried to pick food that would suit everyone. Everything was cooked to perfection and all the guests complimented it.

A Classic Wedding with a Vintage Twist (c) Paul Swift (33)

To provide entertainment, we had the DJ who was hired by the hotel as part of our wedding package and we also hired a photo booth from Style My Event. This went down a treat with all of the guests!

As a special touch at the reception we had a beautiful handmade guest book made for us by one of my roller derby team mates Johannes. He made a hinged drop top guest book with ‘branch slices’ cut from recycled wood for guests to write their messages on. The design of it means that it can stand freely like a book displaying our messages or hang on the wall like a picture. We currently have it standing on the sideboard but plan to hang it on the wall in the future.

A Classic Wedding with a Vintage Twist (c) Paul Swift (34)

Following our wedding we would certainly recommend Astley Bank to others. The venue is beautiful, the staff are brilliant (so warm and caring), the food was outstanding and the grounds are incredible. I can’t fault a single thing, absolutely perfect!

Our favourite part of the day would have to be the church and ceremony, though we all loved it! The vicar Michael Woods and the vergers, especially Mrs Schaefer, were so caring and welcoming. The service was beautiful, flowers were gorgeous and everything went exactly to plan. My daughter Elisse did a reading by Dr Seuss, we had the church bells rung by a team of incredible bell ringers one of whom is a friend, another friend sings in the choir so she came along to provide some much needed tone! The street outside was lined with well-wishers. It was perfect, a real fairy tale wedding.

A Classic Wedding with a Vintage Twist (c) Paul Swift (38)

After the wedding we went on a Mediterranean cruise for our honeymoon. We started in Mallorca and visited places such as the south of France, Monaco, Italy, Corsica, Spain before returning to Mallorca. The highlight for us was travelling to Barcelona, such a beautiful city with so much culture, we will definitely be going back.

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to plan, plan and plan some more! Research everything and be sure you know what you want! This is your big day!

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