January 1st, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
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 8th January 2018 (we’re hoping we’ll be over the hangover by then, right?) but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from last 6 months.
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.
Happy New Year! Today we’re recapping on a summer wedding filled to the brim with gorgeousness. It starts with the bride and that bespoke dress, which she twirled to full effect until the early hours. She didn’t stop there, though: her lucky #bridesquad girls were treated to matching morning gowns and the prettiest ASOS floral-print frocks you can imagine. And there’s still more – pastel paper lanterns, a glittering headpiece, an adorable flower girl or two, petals strewn along the aisle…the pretty knows no bounds!
The Glasshouse at Abbeywood Estate was the perfect backdrop to their relaxed celebration, with the windows bringing the outdoors in and the early summer flowers complementing the beauty of their big day.
With images by Mike Plunkett Photography.
laura says: We got engaged five years ago when Dean booked a meal at my favourite restaurant, San Carlo, in Manchester. As a surprise, he’d invited some friends and my parents to the meal. It wasn’t until he got up to thank everyone for coming that I realised what he was doing and he got down on one knee to propose! He had asked for my dad’s permission beforehand but my mum and sister had no idea and were totally shocked. Needless to say, there were a few tears!
We married on 3rd June 2016. In all honesty, we chose a Friday as it was slightly cheaper and we chose June because we hoped for some sun – and we weren’t disappointed!
Our venue was Abbeywood Estate in Delamere. A few years ago, when we first got engaged, we went to a wedding fair at Abbeywood and it was such a simple but beautiful family-run venue that it stayed in our minds. Although we looked at several venues, we kept coming back to Abbeywood. We decided that the Glasshouse would be the perfect place for our ceremony and the gardens would be a great place for our guests to enjoy the day.
The whole style of the wedding was centred around the bridesmaids’ dresses – pastel florals with a laidback feel. This worked really well with the venue and with the weather: it was the hottest day of 2016!
I’m not a huge fan of wedding dresses and, being quite small, I found that any that I liked just drowned me. So when one of my friends mentioned that her friend had decided to go freelance as a wedding dress designer/maker, I jumped at the opportunity. Nina was absolutely fantastic and understood what I wanted from day one. My brief was ‘simple but elegant with a floaty skirt’ and that’s exactly what she did for me. It was great having such a personalised service and bespoke dress and I’d recommend Nina to anyone thinking about having a dress made.
I wanted a headpiece as I knew that I wanted my hair down. I managed to source a bargain Halo & Co sample headpiece. My shoes were Charlotte Mills and so comfy. At first, I didn’t want to spend much on a pair of shoes I would wear for one day but the more I looked, the more I realised that only those shoes would do. I’m going to be wearing them again in August when I’m bridesmaid for my friend – expense justified!
November 29th, 2017 | Julia Braime
If you follow us over on our busy Instagram feed, you’ll know that we’ve been in Southern Iceland as guests of the superb Hotel Ranga for the past few days, chasing the sun and spotting the Northern Lights. Full blog service resumes this evening and we’re bringing you a real wedding that’s as pretty as it is personal (and more on our trip later!).
Opting for a traditional church ceremony and a reception at the stunning Delamere Manor in Cheshire, Steph and Darren chose to keep the focus firmly on them as a couple, deciding against a set wedding theme and instead including meaningful personal touches along the way. One of our favourite being the CD favours – who doesn’t love a good compilation?
We’re also totally in love with Steph’s b-e-a-utiful big day look, the picture of elegance in her lace detailed dress, pink Jimmy Choos and gorgeous natural bridal makeup. We also have to give kudos to Darren, who looks super dapper in his navy suit, demonstrating that’s it’s not just the bride who can bring style to a wedding. Darren is doing it for the grooms!
With images by Kate McCarthy Photography.
steph says: We got engaged in Seville. It was part of a trip to Spain for my 30th birthday. The day started extremely gloomy and wet so we decided to head for a long lunch. We had bellies full of paella and enjoyed our favourite white wine; Marques de Riscal. We went back to the hotel to check into our room to discover our cases had been misplaced. Little did I know the ring was inside the case! After a couple of frantic conversations Darren had with reception our luggage came up to the room and Darren hid the ring box in his back pocket. During a walk of the city, we approached “The Fountain of Love” and began posing for pictures, then Darren got down on one knee – I was speechless!
Our wedding was on Saturday 2nd September 2017. We didn’t have a specific date in mind but the more we thought about it, September was a month we both loved.
We got married at St Bartholomew’s Church in Wilmslow, followed by a reception at Delamere Manor, Cuddington. The church is in my hometown and so this was non-negotiable. For the reception, we wanted a venue none of our friends had got married at and somewhere that screamed Darren and Steph. When we viewed Delamere Manor we fell in love and knew it was the place for us.
We didn’t have a set theme for the wedding, we just wanted a day that would reflect us.
Our colour scheme was silver, and pastel colours such as pink, lavender and baby blue.
I wore a Justin Alexander dress from Puure Bridal in Lymm. I also had a cathedral-length veil (my mum’s request). Puure was the last shop we went to and the place I got my dress. Angie there was so helpful from start to finish. She put me in something I wouldn’t dream of picking, but after a couple of tweaks it really was the perfect dress for the day. My shoes were Lucy from Jimmy Choo, and something I have worn again since.
Georgina Wild did the bridal party’s hair and Maxine Smith did makeup. Georgina is a good friend, and unbelievable hairdresser. She kept me cool, calm and collected during the morning and was versatile with both short and long hair for me, my sister and mum. Maxine was also a fantastic addition to the morning of the wedding – and a great, natural make-up artist.
November 9th, 2017 | Aislinn Thompson
There’s something very romantic about the first glimpse of Yorkshire wedding venue Wood Hall Hotel, as you round the bend and dip down into the valley – tucked into a sweeping, gloriously green countryside vista, it’s no surprise Briony and Adam chose this spectacular setting for their big day.
After garnering lots of inspiration from our very own Brides Up North blog, Briony pulled together a very pretty, pastel-hued wedding day with plenty of sweet little details that brought a personal touch to the day. We love the fact that Briony incorporated her late grandmother’s lace into her bouquet and table decorations – a divine detail that meant she carried her nan with her all day.
From the matching bridesmaids’ dressing gowns in the morning, to the wishes jar for guests to share their personal messages, to the pretty little boxes containing mini eggs for each guest as a nod to the Easter weekend, Briony and Adam took time to get the details right. Briony made all the wedding signs herself by writing in white pen on the glass of white photo frames, and the couple chose laser-cut place name signs that each guest could take home with them. Right through to the pop of evening sunshine that facilitated some lovely photographs and gave the couple a few minutes to soak up the atmosphere together, Briony and Adam enjoyed a very pretty, personalised day.
With images by Arabella Smith.
briony says: We got engaged on 14th August 2014. I was making tea when Adam called me into the front room. Jack, our little boy, was sitting on the floor holding a ring box and then Adam got down on one knee. I was completely shocked! I had no idea he was planning to propose. Obviously, the tea ended up in the fridge and we went out to celebrate!
We wanted a spring wedding and Easter bank holiday seemed perfect, with having the Friday and Monday off work, so we chose 15th April 2017 – Easter Saturday. It meant we had more time to prepare and then celebrate afterwards!
Wood Hall Hotel and Spa was the first venue we went to look at: I fell in love with it as soon as we drove down the driveway. Nothing else compared: it was perfect. The coordinator, Rachel, was fantastic in the run up and Nathan and all of the team on the day were brilliant. It’s no wonder they’ve just won Best Large Venue of the Year (Yorkshire) in the North of England Wedding Awards.
I didn’t really choose a theme for our wedding; I just wanted everything to look pretty and romantic. A mixture of lace, white, pastel colours, candles and fairy lights just about sums it up. For something not so traditional, we used two VW campervans as our wedding cars, which we hired from The Yorkshire Wedding Car Company. They were a big hit with the guests. I wanted to try and have some personal touches for the day, so I hand-wrote all the calligraphy signs and the seating plan.
With it being a spring wedding, I wanted pastel colours. My wedding dress was by Mori Lee and had a slight blush colour to it. I bought it from The Abbey Wedding Warehouse, in Kirkstall, Leeds. I felt like a princess in it. It was actually the second dress I bought but I’m so glad I changed my mind, as I panic-bought my first dress. To follow the colour scheme, my six bridesmaids were in multiway dresses from Debenhams: two in pale pink, two in pale blue and two in pale grey. I had two flower girls in pale pink dresses, also from Debenhams. Adam wore a traditional grey morning suit and he and our two little boys wore an ivory waistcoat with an ivory rouche. We hired the suits from Slaters in Leeds. The groomsmen wore grey morning suits, ivory waistcoats and a pale pink rouche.
Lauren Rippin did my makeup and made a fantastic job. Lisa Jobson and Danae Miller from Gray’s Salon did all the hair in the morning. Lisa has done my hair for a very long time and is a close friend of mine. The only other person I would trust to do my bridesmaids’ hair is Danae. We have all been friends for a long time and I wouldn’t have had anyone else there with me on the morning. I knew they would make everyone look incredible – and they did!
October 6th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
If today’s real bride would have got things her way, she and beau Chris would have eloped to marry but we’re sure glad that Sharon was swayed by a larger-scale celebration in the Lake District – as we get to share all the pretty details of their big day with you today!
Surrounded by their family and friends, Sharon and Chris combined a pretty pastel colour scheme with a fun theme that gave nods to both of their passions (films and cats, need we say more!)
We love the relaxed vibes as guests have fun in the sun, entertained by garden games and live music. Other standouts for us include the super-cool choice of wedding transport and Sharon’s beautiful Nottingham lace dress and flower-crown combo for boho bride perfection!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Bethany Clarke.
sharon says: We got engaged on our fifth anniversary, on August bank holiday weekend in Dolgellau, Snowdonia.
We had spent the day wandering around Portmeirion, which is a little fantasy village perched on a cliff, filled dreamy Italianate architecture and with lovely views over the bay. It’s a beautiful but surreal place, which is why it was chosen as the setting for the 1960s TV show The Prisoner. Later that night we went out for dinner and Chris insisted on driving. He is a keen photographer and so he decided we would drive out somewhere after dinner so he could take photos of the stars.
I had been trying to talk him out of it all night as it was actually very cloudy and there was not a star in the sky, but he was insistent. We drove out for about half an hour, trying to get the best vantage point at the top of the hill, and eventually Chris pulled over into a layby and got his tripod out. I was in the car, playing on my phone and wondering how long he was going to be as I really needed to pee, when he came back to the car and asked me to take a look at his photos. I looked at the screen on his camera and he had taken a beautiful photo… of the clouds. “Aw hon… it’s a bit cloudy, isn’t it?” I said. “Yeah,” he sighed, disheartened. Then suddenly he pulled out a box. “Anyway, I have a present for you… I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind marrying me?”
It turned out he had been hoping to get a shot of the stars on the night we got engaged. I think I had previously said that my worst nightmare would be to get engaged in a public place with loads of people around. He’d decided to find the most isolated and private place he could find; under the moon, with just the stars over us and no one else around.
In the box was a ring with an amethyst stone (my birthstone). He had been trying for about two years to figure out my ring size, but as I don’t normally wear rings he’d failed at every turn. He had tried getting friends to ask if I knew my ring size (I don’t) and had tried measuring my finger with a piece of string as I slept – all with no luck. Rather than guess, he decided to let me pick out the kind of ring wanted and get his friend, a jewellery designer in Birmingham, to make it just for me.
We got married on 17th June, 2017. I really wanted to get married in the summer as I desperately wanted some sunshine on the day and we didn’t want to wait until 2018. Unfortunately, this left us with less than ten months to plan a wedding in the Lake District in peak season, so the date was very much down to whether we could get the venue and the registrar. We also renovated and moved into our house this year, so it was a busy time for us.
I spent about two months trying to convince Chris to elope to Iceland or Vegas. I hate being the centre of attention and the stress and expense of a big wedding felt like a terrible way to start married life. Somehow Chris talked me round – he said we deserved to have a day with all our friends and family making fuss of us.
Having been convinced to go the whole hog, we agreed to get married to in the Lake District, where I grew up. We got married at Belmount Hall, between Ambleside and Hawkshead. The building is part of Beatrix Potter’s estate, but the main reason we chose it was for the incredible setting with views of Esthwaite Water and Gummers How in the distance. As soon as we stepped out of the car we were blown away by the surroundings. Belmount was the blank canvas we were looking for; small enough that we could have the whole site to ourselves but with vast and beautiful grounds in which to enjoy the sunshine (I was adamant that there would be sunshine).
Once we had the venue, we knew it was going to be a ‘Pinterest wedding’; rustic and a bit bohemian with lots of little touches that would make people say, “That is so Chris and Sharon”. We’re both big film fans and cat lovers (Chris is a film and TV lecturer and I’m a bit of a crazy cat lady), so our tables were named after feline film puns. The Big Meowski, The Great Catsby, Furris Bueller’s Day Off, etc. An extremely talented young artist called Amy Lewis took our silly ideas and transformed them into some adorable cartoons for each table and I designed the table plan myself.
I don’t like matchy matchy colour schemes so I went for a pastel rainbow of dusty pink, light blue, dove grey and soft peach.
As a big girl with big boobs, wedding dress shopping was a nightmare experience and I hated every minute. I had been dreaming of a 1920s-style beaded dress, in the style of Jenny Packham or Eliza Jane Howell, but whenever I managed to track one down the samples were all size 10 or 12.
I had almost given up hope when I walked past Kula Tsurdiu’s studio in Nottingham. Kula is a Greek designer, but her base is in the historic lace market of Nottingham, where she sources a lot of her materials. I made an appointment with Kula’s manager Laura Summerson and she was one of the few people to really listen to what I wanted. She didn’t try to force me into a stiff, ruffled, strapless A-line monstrosity, like almost every other store I tried. The dress I eventually settled on was all-over Nottingham lace with a natural waist, long sleeves with tiny sparkly sequins sewn into the fabric. Knowing that the dress would be made to my exact measurements was a relief and Laura managed to make the whole process as stress-free as it could be.
July 18th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
Today on Brides Up North, we’re reminiscing with newlyweds Kate and Danny, who tied the knot earlier this spring at the stunning Colshaw Hall in Cheshire – a private 300-acre estate.
With a penchant for all things Easter, the couple treated their guests to an egg-stra (sorry, had to be done!) spectacular day filled with chocolate eggs, cute bunnies and beautiful daffodils. Their dog Maddie even had a special role to play.
With not just two, three or even four but six bridesmaids and a flower girl – all coordinated in rainbow-bright pastel shades – and the bride herself dressed in an elegant vintage style gown, get ready for a cute springtime wedding.
With images by Ragdoll Photography
kate says: We got engaged on 13th December 2015, at the top of the big hill on Barlaston Downs Banks when taking our little dog Maddie on a Sunday walk. It was also our seven-year anniversary!
Our wedding took place on 12th April 2017 – we picked this date because we wanted a springtime, Easter wedding. We got married at Colshaw Hall in Knutsford, Cheshire – we fell in love with the venue from day one. It has amazing grounds and both the ceremony room and reception room were beautiful boasting natural colours. The accommodation was amazing too – 36 guests from our close family and the bridal party stayed there the night before as well as on the big day itself.
We picked our theme based on my love for Easter. As a little girl, it was always an exciting time in my house, with all the bunnies, chicks and beautiful colours. My family would always get together at this time too.
We chose a pastel palette for our colour scheme, consisting of mint, purple, lemon and lilac – all of my favourite colours! They worked perfectly with our Easter theme.
I brought my dress from Bridal Couture By Josephine in Cheadle. After trying on about 50 dresses, I decided A-line was my kind of dress and the most flattering style. I love lace, so really wanted this fabric, as well as sleeves to cover my arms. When I tried the dress on, it was just perfect!
Danny wore a navy blue slim-fit suit, with a grey and blue check waistcoat with brown shoes, purchased from Maria Modes in Macclesfield. The groomsmen wore matching navy suits with ties made from the same material as the bridesmaid dresses.
Speaking of which – I had seven bridesmaids and one flower girl – two wore lilac, with two in lemon, two in mint and another in pink. The dresses were bought from DIY Dress which is such an amazing website. A special mention should also go to dressmaker Victoria Anthony who altered my bridesmaids’ dresses and made all the ties.
January 31st, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
Today’s newlyweds, Beci and Paul, tied the knot in summer 2016, exchanging their vows in the magnificent Keele University Chapel.
Their celebrations took place in the nearby Mill Hotel in Stone, a former working mill that dates back to 1795 and offers heritage and charm in abundance.
We love the fact that the couple opted for simplicity throughout their special day, with a beautiful pastel wedding colour scheme; a yellow, red and white bouquet for the bride; and – a personal highlight – cupcakes for a cake!
With images by Ragdoll Photography
beci says: We got engaged in Stone, by St Michael’s Church, on 12th July 2015. I had been nagging Paul for months to propose! That morning, I knew he had been ring shopping with my mum and quizzed him about it when he returned home. He said that he and my mum had disagreed about what ring I would like and therefore they didn’t get one. It turns out they had bought a ring after all and he proposed a few hours later!
We got married on 23rd July. Paul is a teacher and my mum is too, so the 23rd July was a week after his term finished and the day after my mum’s, so it meant we had the whole holiday break as newlyweds before getting back to ‘real life’.
We tied the knot at the Keele University Chapel. This is where I currently study and both my sister and mum studied there, too. I will also be doing my Masters there next year, so it’s a place that’s central to our lives. Plus, we love the look of the building and how majestic it is!
We wanted to keep things simple, as we are a very laid-back couple, so we didn’t really have a theme as such, but would describe our wedding style as a touch of vintage.
We chose pastel colours, mainly blue, as our colour scheme. We settled on blue in the end because that was the colour that best suited my maid of honour and so having bought her dress, it made sense to have the colour scheme to match.
When it came to finding my dress, I felt like I had tried on every dress in every shop for miles! However, I soon found a style that fitted my shape best. I eventually decided on the first dress I tried on from Elle Louise Bridal in Newcastle-Under-Lyme.
Paul’s mum bought his suit in the Netherlands, as this is where he lived before getting married.
We had my maid of honour’s dress made to fit from Fairytales by Sherry, which is in Newcastle-Under-Lyme. The rest of the bridesmaids and groomsmen all wore their own suits and dresses to match our colour, as we wanted them to feel fully comfortable in what they were wearing.
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