December 23rd, 2015 | Julia Braime
We wish you a Merry Christmas! We’re taking a short break to celebrate the season, but will be back bright and early on 4th January 2016. Until then, you can catch up on your favourite weddings of 2015 here, and we’ll leave you with this incredibly beautiful real wedding to whet your appetite for some super pretty inspiration coming your way in the New Year. Now, pass the prosecco would you..?
Not only is this wedding stunning to look at, but there’s real sentiment and thought behind the various elements of the day. In particular, the first dance that Rachel had with her dad pulls at the heart strings and hopefully encourages brides to plan details that will stay with them long beyond the big day itself.
So let’s get into the pretty (just look at that House of Mooshki gown!) and look forward to another fabulous year of real weddings to come in 2016. Cheers to that!
With images by Helen Russell Photography.
rachel says: We got engaged while in Paris in February 2014 – the trip was a surprise organised by Daniel. He got down on one knee as we were walking along the banks of the River Seine in the shadow of Notre-Dame. It was the perfect proposal!
Our wedding was on 12th August 2015, at Woodhill Hall in Northumberland. Exclusive use was very important to us. We also wanted to have an intimate gathering with close friends and family the night before the wedding and the self-catering facilities at Woodhill Hall made this possible. We also fell in love with the location, the distinctive décor and the flexibility that this venue provided.
Above all else I wanted the wedding to be elegant, timeless and pretty. We chose a colour scheme of muted pastel shades in blushes and mint, which suited our theme perfectly.
My dress was Poppy by House of Mooshki – a blush tea length, tulle and lace gown with illusion neckline and cap sleeves. It was love at first sight – the first dress I tried on! My shoes were Jimmy Choo.
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December 23rd, 2015 | Julia Braime
Not long until Santa comes to town now! But before he delivers presents from your nearest and dearest, we’re bringing you two delightful real weddings as our gift to you.
To kick things off this morning we’re heading to a farm in Sheffield for the stunning wedding of Charlotte and Adam.
We absolutely love the creativity that has been used by this couple to transform a bare shell of a barn into a romantic & unique wedding venue, complete botanical charm. Truly inspiring!
With images by Bethany Clarke Photography.
charlotte says: We got engaged in Verona, Italy, the home of Romeo and Juliet, about a year before the wedding. Adam proposed on the balcony before sunset, then we drank a hell of a lot of prosecco to celebrate!
Our wedding was on 1st August 2015. We planned it hoping for a sunny day. We got a bit of a mixed bag, but the sun came out for our photos.
We got married at Whirlow Hall Farm in Sheffield, near the peak district and were the first people to have our ceremony there as well as our reception. We chose the venue, as once we had rented the barn we were pretty much free to do whatever we wanted and we really wanted that kind of freedom.
We didn’t have a theme as such, but I really wanted to have as much greenery as possible. We were very lucky to have the help of a family friend who is an avid gardener and who helped us to create the leafy decoration, as well as, mine and my bridesmaids’ bouquets. This was great as it meant we didn’t have to fork out for florist flowers.
The colour scheme ended up being white and green. We covered as much as possible in leafy greenery and the bridesmaid dresses had a green, tropical print. I think it turned out quite pretty.
November 19th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Is there a grander setting for a wedding than a castle? We think not having feasted our eyes on the pics from today’s real wedding.
Having secured their dream venue, Tom and Stef let their surroundings do the talking, just adding a few simple touches in elegant vintage décor whilst working around their timeless blue colour scheme.
The floral arrangements are particularly stunning, and we love the maids’ vibrant cobalt dresses too!
With images by Kate Gosney Photography.
stef says: We got engaged in Las Vegas. It was the second day at the end of a night out. Tom got down on one knee and produced the most amazing ring!
We got married on 28th August, which was the Bank Holiday weekend, giving people more time to recover. Chiddingstone Castle was our chosen venue. My dad got married there and I had visited as a child so it felt special to me.
We didn’t have a theme as such, instead just choosing to let the beautiful venue do the talking and making choices that were sensitive to that. Our colour scheme was different tones of blues as it’s my favourite colour and I think it’s timeless too.
November 16th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
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.
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!
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!
October 30th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Determined not to get bogged down or stressed out when planning their wedding in York, today’s bride and groom quickly adopted a no pressure approach to their big day, choosing to keep things simple with celebrations that were laidback but good fun.
Taking place at York’s Churchill Hotel, self-confessed foodies Hayley and Andy prioritised food, drink and entertainment to make sure all guests were well fed, watered (well beer’ed) and in the mood for a good time.
Sounds like a dream wedding to us!
With images by Rachel Joyce Photography.
hayley says: We were in Secrets Maroma, Mexico when we got engaged. After our meal and a few cocktails we were walking back to our room and Andy suggested we go and sit on the beach for a bit. We were lying across two loungers, looking up at the stars when Andy got down on one knee…The first thing I said was ‘be careful, those are your best jeans’!
We set the date for 6th June 2015. I wanted a sporting chance of having some nice weather and wanted to avoid school holidays, also living in York, I wanted to avoid horse racing weekends. The 6th of the 6th is a memorable date and it’s a nice time of year for us to celebrate our anniversary.
Our chosen venue was the Churchill Hotel in Bootham, York. We looked at about ten venues and this ticked the majority of our requirements. It is close to York city centre, so those travelling from far away could stay in the city and enjoy some time there. Decor wise the venue was ‘understated cool’. The room for the ceremony had a huge bay window and dramatic thundercloud wallpaper. We are both big foodies so it was important that we had delicious food on the day. The food in the restaurant is quality and the bar is well stocked with unusual beers. They even let our friends bring their own beer and serve it at the bar! The staff were relaxed, easy going and were on board with us not having a formal wedding.
We didn’t have a theme, unless you count our ‘no pressure’ approach as a theme! I wanted to keep things as simple and informal as possible and I just wanted every guest to feel comfortable and have fun. I was very keen to host the whole day in one place to keep things running smoothly with no boring bits for anyone.
In terms of colour I wanted lots of green. For a while I toyed with having a forest green wedding dress, but that didn’t fit in with the ‘no pressure’ theme! We had green drapes in the marque and primarily green in the flowers, apart from touches of white. We both love the outdoors and we wanted to bring a bit of a woodland to the colours if we could.
We asked our good friend and talented designer Beci, of Think Good Do Weddings, to come up with bespoke invites that fitted the theme and we loved them. She also designed the table settings and place cards.
After much searching in the dress shops in York, I actually went back to my home village in Lancashire to buy my dress. It was my mum who suggested I try Gypsophila Bridal Wear in Rossendale. I wasn’t hopeful and was a bit grumpy the day I went as I had found all the other shopping trips stressful! I went in there saying I wanted my shoulders covered, no sparkles and no train – I bought the opposite! My dress had a tight corseted waist which made it feel very secure and comfortable and it just made me feel good about myself. I had no idea what dress I was going in there to buy, but that one made me feel special.
On the day of the wedding my hair was done by Holly from Pure Hairdressing, Grape Lane, York, who I would definitely recommend – she also did my mum’s hair at very short notice that morning and joined in the fun with us! A makeup artist called Marci did my makeup and she was incredible. I don’t often wear much makeup and I was very late in arranging makeup for the day, but she got it just right.
We had three bridesmaids, who all wore matching dresses from BHS. I had no idea they sold bridesmaid dresses, but after it felt like we had exhausted all other options, we found these dresses that suited everyone and were really pretty.
I decided to stay over in the bridal suite the night before, on my own. Lots of guests were staying at the hotel the night before so I had a night cap with my close family and friends and then went up to bed. I slept solidly for eight hours and woke up to a cooked breakfast in my room!
Rachel from Rachel Joyce Photography captured our day. We have been close friends since we met at secondary school aged 11. A few years ago, Rachel decided to turn a hobby into a career and is now a full time wedding photographer. After looking at her work, I was so happy to have her as our photographer and it was an added bonus to have another close friend with me on the day.
Going along with our ‘no pressure’ theme I left the design and flower choices for the wedding up to my florist. I wanted something wild and natural so the bouquet contained lots of ivy and also herbs such as dill, rosemary and mint. The lovely florist at Just To Say in York, helped me with the flowers, at very short notice as well.
Andy had a colourful buttonhole made of chilli peppers, again to represent our love of food! My bridesmaids carried smaller versions of my bouquet and the groom, fathers, best man, brother and grandfather wore button holes, which were made of a chilli and lemongrass.
The table flowers were from Busy Lizzie in Heworth, York, and the flower pots were from Waitrose.
Instead of giving out favours we put on 160 pints of free beer instead!
For our ‘wedding cake’ we had ten different layers of cheese, from Love Cheese, Gillygate, York. We had a two-hour tasting session with wine and picked the ones we liked best! So many people have told us since that they were so glad we did this! We served bacon butties late at night, so people appreciated putting a bit of brie in there.
For our wedding breakfast we had a starter choice of smoked duck terrine or twice baked blue cheese soufflé. Main was beef blade or mushroom and goats cheese pithivier for vegetarians, and pudding was raspberry Pavlova. To drink we chose Prosecco for toasting and for the first drink after the ceremony. During the meal we served pinot noir and sauvignon blanc. Basically, it’s what we like to drink! We asked for the hotel to be stocked with real ales and beer and our friends served four different kinds of their own ale.
The entertainment was the first thing we decided upon after getting engaged! We were out in Leeds one night, in a beer garden and all of a sudden a brass band walked in playing Happy by Pharrell Williams. After 20 minutes, they had people up on the tables! I asked them that night if they would play at our wedding. They are called the New York Brass Band and I couldn’t have been happier with them on the night. They kept everything informal and fun and got everyone up dancing.
Special touches on the wedding day included the centre pieces to the tables, which were made by my Dad from an oak tree, and we had a finger print tree instead of a comment book. People could press their finger print on to the picture of a leafless tree in either blue, green or yellow ink and then write their name over the top. This resulted in lots of people walking around with coloured finger tips!
We would without a doubt recommend Churchill Hotel to other brides and grooms. Our wedding was slightly unusual in that the hotel arranged for a temporary marque outside. We had 90 day guests which they accommodated easily.
It’s tough to say what my favourite part of the wedding was. Getting ready in the morning with some of my favourite people in the world was really special, and also getting to see Andy for the first time. Sitting down at the meal and seeing friends and family who have never met before laughing and having fun was great too – as was dancing until the lights came on!
Following the wedding we went on honeymoon to Italy. We started in Naples for three days, then Sorento for a week and then over to the east coast in Puglia for a week. It was fantastic. Beautiful food and scenery. Plenty to do in Naples and Sorrento and then a week of complete luxury and relaxation in the Hotel Don Ferrante in Monopoli, Puglia.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be not to worry about getting around to speak to everyone on the day. There were lots of people I only managed to smile at! Everybody understands what it’s like; nobody is expecting you to allocate time to them.
Also, if you find that you are getting anxious or stressed by any part of the wedding planning, just ask if it’s really necessary. We kept things simple wherever we could because I wanted to enjoy the run up to the wedding, not be stressed by it
October 27th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
While we adore all the little details of a wedding that make it beautifully individual we also love to see the expressions of the bride, groom and their guests captured on camera, to get a real feel for the day.
Looking at the images of Sam and Kelly’s big day it’s clear to see that this was an emotional and upbeat wedding that was brimming with love and laugher, plus the odd tear of joy.
So not only is the setting of this wedding beautifully natural, but so too are the expressions of those involved!
kelly says: In September 2014 while we were both living in Dubai, Sam surprised me with a proposal at sunset on our boat and had booked us into a suite at the Yas Viceroy hotel. We made our way into the marina to be greeted by a huge banner saying ‘I can’t wait to make you Mrs. North’. I cried, a lot.
Sam had already checked into the suite and packed everything that I owned. He said we should keep the news private for a night so we could enjoy the evening without checking our phones and went for an incredible dinner at Cipriani.
The next day he had planned lunch. As we walked into the restaurant I’m sure my heart stopped. All of my friends were there and had known for two months about the engagement. After lots of tears and champagne we all went back to the suite for a good old party.
We chose the 17th and 18th July as the dates for our wedding weekend as it was the Eid break, which is a public holiday in the UAE, allowing all of our friends to travel to the UK for the wedding.
We have family and friends from around the world and so we needed a venue that could accommodate around 100 people in the same place. The hunt began in Cheshire and Yorkshire as that’s where we’re both originally from. We quickly realised that we wanted an outdoor space and would pray for sunshine on the day. Sam discovered Natural Retreats and the decision was made instantly – 5 star accommodation in a woodland retreat was exactly what we wanted.
Given the beautiful natural surroundings we wanted to keep everything very simple and elegant, so the general theme was rural elegance. We also chose to keep everything in neutral in terms of the colour scheme to let the countryside speak for itself. We had lots of white flowers and greenery, with the bridal party in neutral tones.
When it came to my wedding dress I tried on a few dresses to see what style suited me and quickly fell in love with the form fitting Galia Lahav and Inbal Dror pieces. I found a designer, Anne Rashid, in Dubai who helped create the perfect dress for me. Hand beaded pearls for the strapless corset top, a tight fitting skirt with a long train for the daytime, and a second skirt which flared and was easy to dance in for the evening.
The bridesmaids were given a neutral colour palette to choose their dresses from. Some of the girls chose to have them tailored by my wedding dress designer and others got theirs from Needle and Lace.
Our photographer was Paul Liddement, who we discovered after looking through quite a few online portfolios and felt instantly drawn to his style which is romantic and natural – exactly what we wanted. Looking through his photos made us feel like we were witnesses to special moments in time, rather than looking at posed shots.
Paul was fantastic on the day. He blended in with our guests, he provided direction, managed the shots, and was quick and efficient. Initially we were concerned the photos would look too staged or posed and would take up too much time from the day but Paul made us feel relaxed and the entire bridal party had fun. Paul was excellent overall and we’d recommend him to anyone getting married. He was creative and really listened to what we wanted to achieve.
Our ceremony and reception were all in the same location so we didn’t need transport, however we did drive off in Sam’s TVR T350 sports car.
Our amazing florist, Alice, from Forage & Blossom, took our brief of white flowers and created beautiful bouquets, table settings and an archway from delphinium, larkspur, sweet peas, ammi, astrantia, norma jean rose, vendela spray rose and Annabel hydrangea, to name a few.
All of our stationery was done by my lovely friend Maria Gedeon, who designed everything with a logo for our initials and calligraphy for everything else.
We like to work hard and party harder so we wanted our wedding to have a little bit of fun injected into the evening and so our favours were bottles of Jägermeister.
Our beautiful cake was made by Sam’s mother, Fiona, who created a delicious masterpiece. The cake was decorated by our florist.
Sam found our entertainment, a band called The Hoops, and booked them before we’d even found our venue! They were fantastic and played a mixture of hits and old time classics. The dance floor was full all night.
We added a few special touches to the wedding to make it all the more memorable which included making a welcome book featuring photos of all of the guests so people could get to know each other. Our table plan was a giant hedge with Polaroid pictures hung on string which was a great talking point as we had sourced the funniest pictures of each person.
We rented a golf buggy for guests to get around on and decorated it with ribbon and flowers. We also made our flower chandeliers by painting some wagon wheels white and hanging white wisteria from them. For the evening we added some glow sticks, blow up musical instruments and confetti canons to the dancefloor.
Natural Retreats is beautiful and we would recommend it to other couples. The view from the ceremony deck was spectacular and the lodges housed all of the guests and were luxurious yet homely.
Looking back at the wedding there were so many fantastic moments; from my mum holding my hand as we came over the hill and could see all of the guests on the ceremony deck, to seeing Sam at the end of the aisle. Sam seeing me walk down the aisle to an acoustic version of Here Comes the Sun was very special and partying all night with our friends is something we’ll always remember.
For our honeymoon we jetted off to the Lux Resort in the Maldives for some much needed R&R!
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to remember that teamwork is key to planning a wedding. We tried to split responsibilities and included each other in any decisions. Set up a joint email account and don’t leave everything until the last minute. Sam should have practiced tying his bow tie before the big day!
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