May 3rd, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
You have been warned: today’s real wedding is all about the emotion. Talented bridal designer and seamstress Suzi lost her beloved mum to cancer a few months before her planned September wedding. The world shifted on its axis; everything was cancelled.
The following year, with the help of husband-to-be Sam and a close alliance of family and friends, Suzi found a way to plan a vintage wedding that was both a fun and poignant celebration of their love, with plenty of fitting tributes to her mum.
The end result, we think you’ll agree, is a wonderfully joyous, vintage-inspired big day with lots of laidback homespun vibes. Get ready for the goosebumps: this is wedding inspo at its glorious best.
With images by Luke Whiteley and Dean Hammonds.
suzi says: Sam proposed in December 2014 under our first Christmas tree in our own home, with his grandmother’s beautiful sapphire and diamond ring which he‘d concealed in a bauble! A few weeks later, having been such a presence throughout Sam’s life, she passed away. I feel so honoured to have been given her beautiful engagement ring and so happy that she knew he‘d asked me to marry him.
We got married on 30th August 2016. It was actually second time lucky! We had originally booked and planned our wedding for September 21st 2015 – however, due to my mum passing away in May of that year, we decided to postpone it. My sister was really eager to get married (following two previous attempts!) so we put our wedding on the back burner and helped concentrate on giving Jo the brilliant day that she truly deserved despite our mum not being able to be with us all. We chose 30th August as it was the Tuesday after the bank holiday so it allowed our guests to have an extra-long bank holiday weekend.
We had our wedding ceremony in our local Methodist church in Matlock, Derbyshire. Our close friend Rachel did the address which was so personal and lovely and was definitely one of my favourite parts of the day. We asked some close friends to do readings – Polly read one of my mum’s favourite bible readings and Rosie read ‘He’s Not Perfect’ by Bob Marley.
We chose one of our favourite local pubs, The White Hart, to host our reception. They have a beautiful glass orangery and outside terrace and field. This worked perfectly as it was the most beautiful day! They were really flexible with all our requests, and as I was doing so much myself, I was happy to put my trust in our wedding coordinator, Emily, who accommodated all our requirements brilliantly.
While trying to plan the wedding, I lost one of the most important people in my life. My wonderful mum was diagnosed with a rare form of bowel cancer four years ago. We were adamant she was going to fight it and stood by her as she battled numerous operations, countless stints in hospital, different drugs and chemotherapy, trying to keep smiling and praying that it would soon all be a distant nightmare. However, it wasn’t to be, and in the winter of 2014 we were told that they were going to stop chemotherapy. We planned our wedding for the following September (2015) but sadly mum died in the May of that year. I was 26 and couldn’t believe that she was gone, that she wouldn’t be around for the rest of my life or to watch me marry Sam. It took me a while to get back to thinking about our wedding as I couldn’t imagine a day where Mum wouldn’t be there – it just didn’t feel right. Who was I going to call to discuss dresses and fabrics and all the little details that seem so important at the time? However, after a little time, we felt ready to start thinking about it; we decided to make it a day of fun and laidback celebration, including all of our amazing friends and family who had supported us on our difficult journey.
We didn’t really have any specific ‘theme’ as such; instead, we went for a summery, fresh and contemporary feel. We just wanted to stay true to ourselves and let the day represent us. Mine and Sam’s favourite colour is blue, so we had a loose blue colour theme for the day incorporating lots of white, touches of pink, grey and highlights of silver, too.
After finding the gorgeous fabric for my bridesmaids’ dresses – a blue floral with touches of pink, purples and grey – it became the main inspiration for our colours. I wanted to keep most things white and fresh so the bridesmaid fabric would make a real impact.
February 13th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Rebecca & David’s relaxed wedding at the Priory Cottages was a family-friendly affair complete with bouncy castle, sharing dishes and stacks of sugary sweeties.
This laidback bride left some of her big decisions to the last minute and to fate – well, to trusted friends and suppliers. The result? Simply stunning.
The gorgeous Rebecca also has an eye for style – check out that dreamy Caroline Castigliano dress and jaw-dropping engagement ring. What can we say? Girl’s got style!
With images by Arabella Smith.
rebecca says: David proposed in 2008 when I was heavily pregnant with our first child, we went for a ‘baby moon’ at Hotel du Vin in Harrogate. He presented me with a box full of Love Heart sweeties (my favourites!) and which all said ‘Marry Me’! Cheesy, cheesy, cheesy – but the engagement ring made up for it! David had a ring made that was just like one we’d seen in Cartier that was way out of budget! I loved it, I still love it – in fact, I still find myself staring at it sometimes!
We joke it was the world’s shortest engagement as the next day my fingers swelled so much I couldn’t wear the ring again until after I’d given birth.
We picked 22nd October 2016 as our wedding date. Three children later, we decided we were ready to commit to organising a wedding. The date wasn’t significant; we were restricted on dates but we were really pleased with the idea of an autumn wedding. We didn’t want a summer wedding with any unrealistic expectations of nice weather and this was the week before schools broke up so we were all set to jet straight off on honeymoon.
Our ceremony was at All Saints Church, Wighill and our reception at Priory Cottages. We knew we wanted something relaxed and informal with lots of kids attending. I didn’t want to have to tell them to be quiet all the time and stop running around. I loved the idea of a barn, so we shortlisted a few within driving distance. The priory was the first David and I visited and, honestly, we knew when we pulled onto the gravel courtyard that this was the place for us. Needless to say, we didn’t even look at any other venues: the place is stunning. The staff are fantastic – I’m not the most organised of brides and they were really relaxed with me and so helpful when I needed it.
We both knew we wanted to get married in a church so the priory put us in contact with All Saints Church in Wighill. What a lovely bunch of people! We were treated like one of the congregation instantly and we definitely feel like we have a church we can call our own from now on.
Theme-wise, we didn’t really have one – other than ‘family friendly’ and ‘fun’. With colours, we opted for navy and blush pinks – and then the groom threw a wild card in the week before the wedding when he turned up with a burgundy tie from Paul Smith. I had to ring the florist to tell her but she was thrilled: dark reds are her favourite coloured flowers!
I bought my dress from Abbey Bridal Warehouse. I left it too late to go chose a dress from a luxury bridal shop and a few people had recommended Abbey Bridal. I picked about 15 and tried them all on but I knew there was only one contender for me. My criteria was ‘plain and simple’. No lace, no beads, no sequins and definitely no glitter. Actually, quite a difficult brief for a wedding dress. I saved the best till last: a Caroline Castigliano dress called Charm School. It had a sweetheart neckline and was floaty with a long train. So simple but it just felt amazing as soon as I put it on. I also wore a back necklace from Liberty in Love.
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September 19th, 2016 | Julia Braime
We’re starting this week in the same place we left off last week, the wonderful North East, as we relive the beautiful big day of Lailla and Harry.
Centring their celebrations around a theme of timeless elegance, simplicity in the details and décor were key for a flawless finish that wouldn’t date.
Highlights for us include Lailla’s stunning gown, the fabulous floral creations and those delicious looking cakes!
With images by Scott Spock Photography.
lailla says: We got engaged on 9th June 2014, while at Portals Beach in Majorca. We had been together for 12 years and just bought our first home together. Whilst on holiday Harry took me out for a beautiful meal to celebrate our 12 years. Afterwards he insisted we went for a walk on the beach, to which I resisted as I didn’t want to walk on the sand in the dark! After lots of persuading I gave. There was a full moon over the sea, Harry walked me to the tide where he got down on one knee and presented me with my amazing Hearts On Fire engagement ring! He followed by picking me up, spinning me round while our feet were in the sea and nobody was to be seen – just the light from the moon over the water! Afterwards we celebrated with champagne in a small bar overlooking the sea.
We set the date for 27th April 2016. I chose this date as I believe a Wednesday is my lucky day – I was born on a Wednesday and Harry proposed to me on a Wednesday, so I felt like it was right. I wanted a spring wedding as it’s my favourite season and April is by favourite month.
Newton Hall in Northumberland, was our chosen venue. I have always loved Alice in Wonderland and from the moment I walked in to Newton Hall I felt like I was in a wonderland! I loved how different it felt in comparison to other venues – it was both quirky and beautiful, and I loved the building from the outside too! I also liked that it was quite compact as I knew our wedding was going to be quite intimate. The staff at Newton Hall had a huge impact on my decision as they were all so kind and professional!
I chose a theme of timeless elegance for the wedding as I like to keep things quite plain and I didn’t want a look that would date. In keeping with this, the colour scheme was platinum white and a hint of silver.
In the beginning I had my heart set on having a long sleeved lace wedding dress. I visited numerous shops trying on this style of dress but found that they didn’t suit me. I was so disheartened as I had a strong image in my head of what I wanted. I ended up finding my dress by chance at Elizabeth George Bridal. I had an image on my phone from Pinterest of a dress that I liked but had no idea who it was designed by or where I could find it! When the girls in the shop held up a dress and suggested I tried it on I said I didn’t like the style of it, but my mum and sisters made me try it on, and I then realised it was that dress on my saved images! I did try some more on afterwards but we felt it was meant to be after the coincidence of that being the one I had found online! I teamed my dress with a very plain, long veil as my dress was quite detailed and anything else would have been too much. I also wore Jimmy Choo heels.
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June 27th, 2016 | Julia Braime
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 4th July 2016 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year.
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.
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.
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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May 6th, 2016 | Julia Braime
Happy Fri-yay to one and all! To get your weekend off to a truly stunning start, we’re sharing the beautifully elegant wedding day of Yorkshire girl Diana and her beau Andy.
After falling in love with the grandeur and charm of Broughton Hall in North Yorkshire, today’s bride and groom planned their relaxed and timeless wedding in just five-and-a-half months (impressive, right?).
Leaving the venue to do the talking, Diana concentrated on selecting simple floral decorations with memorable scents, including romantic rosemary and lavender. And to make herself stand out – a bespoke lace gown and Chanel shoes. Girl, we salute you!
With images by Bethany Clarke Wedding Photography.
diana says: We got engaged on 31st October 2014. Andy surprised me with a trip to Tuscany, Italy for a long weekend. We drove south to Grosetto, an area we had been to and loved before. Andy planned to go to our favourite beach for a picnic lunch before checking into our hotel.
It was quiet, with a few Italians sunbathing in their speedos! Andy got tomato juice over his hands so walked the few paces to the sea to wash his hands. Looking up, I found him flailing his arms around holding a now wet iPhone looking for something. I went to him and was told to help him look for something, something he had just dropped out of his top pocket. I immediately started sifting through sand in the shallows, asking him what exactly I was looking for. “A ring, he said. A special ring!” We looked for a long time not saying much, until I realised it was fruitless and we were both in soaking wet clothes. We went back to our patch of beach and I guess I was in shock as I had my hands over my eyes. Not knowing whether to laugh or cry, not knowing if that was a proposal or not. Until I turned to find Andy down on one knee asking me to be his wife, holding a box with a diamond in it. I didn’t hesitate with my answer. It was magical. Thinking he had made the whole previous couple of hours up and wondering how I never knew he was such a good actor. It turned out he had bought a proposal ring by one of my favourite designers, Poppy Dandiya, which he had dropped in the sea, which we continued to look for and never found. But thankfully he didn’t lose the diamond and we designed my ring together back in London after spending the most wonderful few days in Tuscany.
We set the date for 13th August 2015. We wanted to get married straight away and once we had decided on our venue, it was the only date left that year, so we went with it!
Our wedding ceremony was at All Saints Church Broughton with Elslack, which was followed by a wedding breakfast at Broughton Hall, Skipton, North Yorkshire. The evening reception was then held at Utopia on The Broughton Hall Estate.
It was the first venue we looked at and we fell in love with it. At first it wasn’t possible as there were no dates available. We returned to look at venues in Italy, but as a Yorkshire girl I really wanted to get married at Broughton Hall. Luckily a date came available and we were very happy it did. It was our perfect venue. We were able to be on the estate for five days and the owners and staff made it feel like it was our home for the week.
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March 9th, 2016 | Julia Braime
For this morning’s real wedding we’re heading to the beautiful North East coastline to relive the big day of Katie and Marcus.
A surprise pregnancy meant that bride Katie organised the wedding in just seven weeks (no mean feat) but looking at the photos she did an incredible job.
Splitting their celebrations into two parts, Katie and Marcus enjoyed an intimate wedding in the romantic seaside town of Whitby before celebrating back home with all their family and friends during a special wedding garden party under a canvas marquee.
With images by Emily and Katy Photography.
katie says: We got engaged in Whitby on 15th November 2014. It was freezing cold and Marcus begged me to go on this road trip to Whitby, I wanted to have a chilled day at home together with our new born baby but he insisted we went! We walked all around the town; down all these random little cobbled streets, down every cute alley way and all the way to the end of the pier. He finally asked me at the end of Whitby pier – totally unexpected and out of the blue! He was obviously hunting for the perfect place.
We originally set the date for 1st July 2016 but I then found out that I was expecting baby number two in July 2015, meaning I was due in March 2016. With the new recruit on the way (and having always dreamt of being a pregnant bride) we decided to cancel all the original plans and move the wedding forward. So on 4th December 2015 I gave myself just seven weeks to plan a perfect wedding.
We always wanted a small wedding and picked to tie the knot in Whitby, with it being such a special place to us. We got married in the registry office and the rest of the celebrations took place at The White Horse & Griffin, a gorgeous little quirky restaurant and bar with ten bedrooms which we booked out for all our wedding party.
I wasn’t the usual organised ‘bridezilla’ type bride, I just wanted a really informal relaxed wedding that both me and Marcus and our family could enjoy. We had a subtle rustic theme and the table décor was hand designed by myself and my cousin Cassie.
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