July 21st, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Though straying from tradition, we’ve often mentioned on the blog how short wedding dresses can be the perfect option for certain types of weddings, including those that take place in the city centre. A hitched-up hemline means it’s easier for brides tying the knot in an urban location to get around as they move between venues either on foot, or in this case by cab, without the need to manoeuvre an awkward meringue.
For her pretty Liverpool wedding, bride Rhia chose a stunning tea length dress from House of Mooshki, which also served as her ‘something blue’. Meanwhile to bring the rest of their big day together Rhia and Stew simply chose bits and pieces they liked while keeping in mind their purple and turquoise colour scheme.
The result is an incredibly well styled wedding, from the gorgeous attire to the fabulous blooms and that beautifully decorated cheese cake. Excellent work guys!
With images by Dan Hough Photography.
rhia says: We got engaged in 2013 on my birthday, 31st January. Stew proposed just before we were heading out for a special birthday meal, just the two of us. He gave me a card he had made himself – it said ‘marry me’ on the front, and my engagement ring was fastened inside with a ribbon.
Our wedding was on 15th February 2015. We wanted a winter wedding and liked the fact that the date would be easy to remember: 15.02.15.
We got married at St. George’s Hall in Liverpool as we wanted somewhere in the city centre. Once we had seen its beautiful Concert Room, we knew that was the venue for us. Our reception was held at Oh Me Oh My, also in the city centre.
There was no wedding theme as such, we just picked things we liked and wanted things to be colourful and fun. The colour scheme was easy to decide on – purple and turquoise – my favourite colours!
I chose a tea length dress in duck egg blue, with an ivory overlay. It was from House of Mooshki. When I got engaged I couldn’t picture myself in a traditional dress and didn’t want anything too over-the-top. I found my dress online, but didn’t think I would end up getting it. But once I had tried it on – I knew I had to have it.
My bridesmaid wore a purple dress and the best man wore a grey suit. The flower girls were kitted out in Monsoon dresses.
We decided we didn’t need special transport and instead took taxis around Liverpool. It was kind of cool arriving at my wedding in a black cab!
Dan Hough was our photographer and he was amazing. He was very friendly – lots of our guests commented on that. He made sure we got some fabulous shots but fitted in around us. He was very patient as we were caught up with everything going on and long photo sessions were not a priority, but somehow Dan still managed to really capture the whole day perfectly. We would definitely recommend him – he was fab!
My flowers were purple. They were created by Blossom and Dill. I left it quite late to sort out and being the day after Valentine’s lots of florists were charging hefty fees. Sophie from Blossom and Dill did an amazing job – my flowers were absolutely beautiful and loads of people complemented them.
Sophie also created jam jar arrangements of flowers to decorate our tables – perfect for the pretty and relaxed look we were going for. We had lots of candles and rainbow-coloured bunting to brighten everything up.
Stew made all our wedding stationary, which had a quirky look to it – almost like a child’s party invitation with googly eyes. I loved them!
We didn’t really have favours, though we did screen print origami paper with our names and the wedding date. Guests were given instructions to make paper cranes (quite tricky origami) we made a few examples to help people along.
We decided to have a cheese cake from Liverpool Cheese Company. We didn’t fancy more sweet stuff after dessert and the cheese went down a storm with our homemade chutneys.
For the wedding breakfast we decided on a relaxed sharing menu – one of Oh Me Oh My’s specialities. We had a mezze starter, and then sharing bowls of stew for the main, followed up by a trio of desserts.
To keep guests entertained, we hired a band recommended by Oh Me Oh My called New Power Soul Club. We had seen them setting up and doing sound checks at one of our meetings there. They were brilliant and had all our guests up dancing.
We decided to make a weekend of our celebration, inviting family and friends to join us for dinner and drinks the day before the wedding. We were really glad we did this as it was brilliant to catch up with everyone, and once we had left our house the day before, that was the end of feeling stressed and the start of having fun.
We would definitely recommend Oh Me Oh My to other wedding couples. It looked fantastic, and the staff looked after every last little thing all day, ensuring everything went smoothly. To top it off, we were able to go up on the roof and enjoy fab views, as well as sneaking in another photo opportunity.
I couldn’t pick a favourite part of the day – I loved all of it! In fact the whole weekend was amazing!
Following the wedding we had a few days in the Lake District and Scotland, staying in some lovely hotels. We are booked to go to Brazil on our main honeymoon this summer and can’t wait!
My top tips to other Brides Up North would be to prioritise the bits that are most important to you and just do what you want to – don’t feel tied down by other people’s expectations. We just wanted a big party with our friends and family and we loved everything about our day.
June 23rd, 2015 | Julia Braime
We just adore this small but perfectly formed wedding carefully put together by today’s bride and groom.
Rather than caving in to ‘the norm’, Hannah and Callum did things their own way, and on their own budget, to create the intimate wedding day that they desired with their very nearest and dearest.
The styling and setting are gorgeous and we love that the bride and groom went down their own independent routes when it came to their wedding attire; Callum in his traditional Scottish dress and Hannah in her short Tory Burch dress, complete with a fabulous Eugenia Kim hair bow! The girl’s got style!
With images by Firsthand Photography.
hannah says: We had been talking about getting married for a while, then one evening in October 2014 we said “let’s do it!”
We didn’t want a long engagement so we chose September 2015 to get married. We had a budget to stick to, so picking Tuesday 9th rather than a weekend allowed us to save on costs without compromising on our venue.
I wanted to get married at Langar Hall in Nottingham as I knew that it would be perfect for our intimate and informal wedding. Callum had never been before so we went for lunch one Saturday and at 5pm we had to tear ourselves away. That sealed it. We planned to marry there with 12 guests, and have a larger reception party elsewhere for family and friends the following Saturday. We married at 3pm in the Indian Room, with dinner in the Garden Room at 5pm and most of our guests stayed overnight.
We didn’t have a theme as such, but we wanted to incorporate certain visual elements – an eclectic mix of traditional and modern, such as neon script on our invites and our pop art cake topper, which seemed suited to Langar Hall. It was also important to reference our shared Scottish heritage.
We didn’t want a matchy-matchy colour scheme, but Callum’s tartan gave us a starting point and a palette emerged. Somehow everything coordinated with the strong, sherbet-y colours of my bouquet, offset by creams and greens.
I knew that a traditional dress wasn’t for me. My mum and I took a trip to London and I found my dress in Tory Burch at Selfridges. The short length was modern but the textural fabric made it special – I felt like a bride. A few weeks later I bought shoes and a clutch but the ultimate finishing touch was my hair bow from Eugenia Kim at Fenwick Bond Street.
I did my own make-up, but had a lesson with the girls at Bobbi Brown in John Lewis in Nottingham, who gave great advice. My regular hairdresser, Anna Jones at Solos Nottingham did my hair as she always gets it right.
There was never any doubt that Callum would wear traditional Scottish dress, including a custom-made kilt in McNab tartan (a gift from his brother) – plus Paul Smith brogues. Callum was supported by his brother Aly as best man, and father who both wore Scottish dress.
I was supported by my friend Mhairi who wore a Whistles dress in blue.
Jack from Firsthand Photography took our photos. A friend had noticed that whenever she saw nice wedding pictures on Facebook, Jack was responsible. Her reportage style and informal groups were just what we wanted – and she’s Scottish! She captured our day perfectly.
For my wedding flowers I worked with Vaas who created my mixed bouquet of heritage roses, dahlias, eryngium, berries and mint.
My mum made our cake and we added a topper from Miss Cake at Not on the High Street. It was a traditional fruitcake with marzipan and icing and there were a lot of prototypes and taste tests which, went down well in the office! The cake stand was by Jansen & Co.
Luckily as there were just 14 of us, we were able to choose from the menu at Langar Hall so everyone could have the food that they wanted. 4
Our parents prepared a couple of surprises for us on the day. We were given a photobook titled, ‘Callum & Hannah – The Early Years’, featuring corresponding photos from our childhood. We also received a letter from the McNab chief, welcoming me to the clan, and I was given a silver brooch featuring the crest by my new in-laws.
The Nottingham-based jeweller Loree Bologna designed and made all of our rings. It was fantastic to find someone locally who understood exactly what we wanted.
We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Langar Hall – a beautiful place, with fantastic food in a great setting. Everything is done properly, but with ease and a lack of stuffiness. Avishek guided us through the planning and tailored the day to our individual needs.
My favourite moment of the day was walking out of the Indian room, looking at Callum and saying “we did it!” There was a glass of champagne waiting for us and we stood and greeted all of our guests.
For our honeymoon we took a mini tour of Scotland – first stop Killin, home of the McNab clan. Then we spent two nights in Stonefield castle in Argyll, where my grandparents come from, before finishing off in Blythswood Square Hotel, Glasgow.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to invest in a good photographer. It was important for us to stick to our budget, so we had a strong set of priorities. Although it can seem expensive, the right photographer is worth every penny. The images of our day will give us, our family and friends a great deal of pleasure for years to come.
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May 11th, 2015 | Julia Braime
I love it when the images from a wedding really reflect the way people were feeling on the big day. Today’s real wedding captured by Kyle, of Kyle Hassall Photography, provides a perfect example.
Here we see everyone from the bride and groom to the maids and guests shedding a tear of happiness as emotions run high. Thankfully the tears are broken up with lots of laughter & smiles, suggesting that all involved had a fabulous time.
I think the memories of this gorgeous day will last a lifetime, not only for Jordana and Jay, but also for their guests who were clearly moved by this wonderful occasion.
jordana says: We got engaged 18th August 2013. We went for a long walk in Helmsley, North Yorkshire, on a sunny day. Jay had his hand in his pocket holding the ring the whole time which I was completely unaware of as I was too busy chatting away. He finally managed to shut me up by getting down one knee and popping the question in the middle of a corn field with beautiful views of the Yorkshire countryside. There were no tears, just laughter. We then sat on a picnic blanket swigging warm champagne from the bottle which Jay had managed to sneak in the car boot (he forgot the glasses).
Our wedding date was June 4th 2014. There was no reason for that particular date. It was a Wednesday so the cost of the venue was a lot cheaper with it being mid-week and we hoped that the people we wanted there would understand and wouldn’t mind taking the time off work. Luckily it worked out.
We got married at Newton Hall in Northumberland. I saw a picture of the venue in a newspaper article and showed Jay, we thought we might as well check it out as it would be a nice day out at least (we live in Leeds). It was the first venue we went to, but as soon as we stepped through the front doors we loved it. We loved the décor, it had a relaxed feel to it and the staff made us feel completely welcome with their infamous northern charm. We really felt it was perfect, and after having a wander down to the beach nearby we were sold!
We were determined not to have a ‘theme’. We didn’t want to limit ourselves by having a particular colour or theme to have to consider constantly. However after the wedding, our close friend (who was determined we must have a theme) said it was ‘shabby chic boutique’ so I guess that’s the closest description we have.
Again, we didn’t have a particular colour in mind, we chose a lot of metallic and glass pieces for the tables and venue decoration but then used a lot of pastel colours in other areas, such as the pom poms, bridesmaid dresses and flowers.
I chose a princess style dress which was the complete opposite to what I thought I would go for. There’s a lot of pressure finding a wedding dress which is ‘the one’ – I never really got that feeling but I’m so indecisive that I’m not sure I ever would. I ended up purchasing my dress from Boutique Bridal in Leeds, the shop was the third shop I had looked in and was a lot more informal, which I like. I changed a couple of aspects to the dress and I loved wearing it on the day. My shoes were from Dune.
The bridesmaids wore Grecian style dresses from Debenhams and the groomsmen wore their own navy suits with shirts from TM Lewin. Jay changed all the buttons on his and the groomsmen’s shirts to black, to give the look of a dress shirt and to work alongside their black bow ties. They also wore matching socks.
I stayed in the bridal suite of Newton Hall so didn’t have far to walk. We hired a big house nearby and stayed with friends and family for the week of the wedding so Jay stayed there the night before the wedding and drove our car to the venue.
Our photographer was Kyle Hassall and we would definitely recommend him. Kyle was lovely to have around on the day and captured it perfectly. As part of the package Kyle offered, we had an engagement shoot which was great in helping us get to know him and feel a bit more at ease on the day. We didn’t want to spend a great deal of time away from the wedding party having pictures taken of just Jay and I – Kyle completely understood and managed to get a perfect range of pictures which reflected the feel of the day.
I carried a bouquet of various roses and peonies. We purchased the flowers from a wholesaler and after reading a few blogs and watching videos on YouTube, we made the flowers arrangements ourselves.
To decorate we used a range of roses, peonies, carnations and gypsophila for the venue which we purchased from the wholesaler. We did the flowers with help from family, friends and our lovely wedding planner Jayne from Newton Hall.
We made CDs as wedding favours with songs which are special to Jay and I from over the years and which would be played on our wedding day.
We chose a three tier cake from Marks & Spencer which was chocolate sponge with white chocolate cigarette coating. It was amazing and we were still eating it when we got back from our honeymoon.
We wanted a relaxed feel to our day so in terms of food we opted for canapés, which included a mini cottage pie in honour of my dad (it’s his signature dish), followed by a barbecue as the main meal, white chocolate cheesecake for dessert and fish and chips on the evening. All the food went down a treat with all of our guests. Drinks wise we provided prosecco and beer on arrival, red and white wine for the meal and tea and coffee refreshments after dinner.
Getting the music right was such an important aspect of our day for us. We asked all of our guests to rsvp and include song requests, and an old friend of ours who used to DJ agreed to pre-mix the music which worked perfectly. Every song had a memory to match it which felt so personal and the dance floor was never empty.
Along the way we added our own special touches to the day. We made our own wedding invitations together and included a folded ‘fortune teller’ which revealed the details of the day. For table numbers we dug out pictures of Jay and I when we were aged 1, 2, 3 etc. and we gathered pictures of all the guests which formed their place settings. Our friends and family helped us decorate the venue the day before, including making confetti cones with poems attached, our wedding arch and lace chair ties.
A last minute addition was the lighting of candles during our ceremony. Our mothers each lit a candle from which Jay and I lit a further candle to represent the coming together of two families to form a new one.
During the reception we had black and white romantic movies projected onto a big screen, we stole the idea from a lovely restaurant we dined in a few years back. We hired ‘J&J’ movie style lights to create a focus point to where you would usually find the DJ. We held a balloon release when the evening guests arrived; the guests released white balloons whereas we released two red hearts – of course Jay’s got stuck in the tree, which added a bit of extra entertainment.
We would defiantly recommend our wedding venue to others. We love Newton Hall as a venue, the stylish mix of old and new, the location, the luxury accommodation and the food was delicious, but the staff truly made our day what it was. The day ran like clockwork, all the while keeping it personal rather than regimented. We are aware of how popular the venue is, however, we were made to feel so special and that it really was ‘our day’. Any request was met by the endearing response ‘ne bother’ and they could not do enough for us. Our wedding planners on the day, in particular, Jayne and James, left us with extremely fond memories and we will always be thankful.
I’d say my favourite part of the day was sitting on the top table during dinner, looking at all of our loved ones together enjoying dinner and letting it sink in that we were now man and wife.
After the wedding we had a few more days with our friends and family exploring Northumberland, including a boat trip to the Farn Island, and then we spent a week in Hvar, Croatia for our honeymoon. The Croatians were welcoming and witty. We enjoyed incredible food everywhere we ate and the town was extremely romantic with lots of little bars and ice cream parlours down cobbled streets. The only drama we had was when we braved taking a small motor boat out for the day to a nearby island and Jay managed to step on a sea urchin. However, after a quick stop at the doctor’s we were on our way and ready to enjoy another cocktail.
We tried really hard not to get wrapped up in other people’s expectations and also to absorb and enjoy the whole process. So my top tip to other Brides Up North would be don’t spend all your time anticipating the big day and miss out on enjoying the preparation of it.
Another little tip we were given, and which we would also be keen to pass on, is consciously take a ‘time out’ together as bride and groom on the day. For us this was when all of our wedding guests were being seated for dinner. Otherwise the day can fly by so fast and you forget to take it all in.
Our only regret is not getting video footage of the day – pictures are a great documentation, but there are elements, such as the speeches, that we would have loved to relive more.
May 5th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s bride and groom knew that they couldn’t guarantee sunshine at their October wedding and so instead of relying on the weather to provide some rays, the clever couple created their own in the form of bright bridesmaid dresses, vibrant flowers and sunny decorations.
Their chosen venue was the Crab & Lobster in Thirsk, an incredibly quirky hotel and restaurant which Stacey and Andrew agree suited them perfectly. And so while they let the venue speak for itself, they brought their own style to the day with their fabulous attire – Stacey in her cute vintage style dress and Andrew in his handsome grey and navy get-up. Their leading lads and ladies didn’t scrub up half bad either!
And Stacey scored extra bride brownie points by getting Andrew a puppy as a wedding day gift – ladies, take note!
With images by Shutter Go..Click Photography.
stacey says: We got engaged in Paris in March 2013. Andrew surprised me with a trip to Paris and we stayed in the most gorgeous hotel ‘Secret de Paris’ where all the rooms are themed on different Paris landmarks. On the first night we ate at a great restaurant called Bones and then at midnight we visited the Louvre museum where Andrew proposed, after which a French couple cycled past and shouted congratulations! It was amazing apart from my ring being so big it wouldn’t even fit my thumb so I couldn’t wear it for the rest of the trip (or for another month after whilst it got remade).
We got married on 19th October 2014 which was 11 years since our first date. Our wedding was at the Crab & Lobster in Thirsk, Yorkshire – we loved the venue and the food is amazing. We didn’t fancy a traditional white wedding and I think the decor and atmosphere was just perfect for us.
There wasn’t a specific theme we just wanted to be relaxed, not too formal and good fun. We wanted things we liked too, not just things you should have at a wedding.
In terms of colour we had a really colourful wedding. The main colour which ran through everything, from the stationary to the bridesmaids and flowers was yellow. I really love yellow and have a yellow diamond in my engagement ring so wanted to emphasise this. Also with the wedding being in October the chances of sun was slim so I knew that I would always have sunshine with my lovely bridesmaids.
I love navy blue too so the boys went with that and then we had a bit of everything in the flowers. Crab Manor is full of colourful pieces of decor so it suited it really nicely.
I had a tea length dress that I got from Bride & Co in my home town of Hull, the girls there we’re lovely and the whole experience at Bride & Co was fab. I knew I wanted a short dress, I don’t know why but I always did. I tried other styles but this was the one. It had a little jacket, which I wore through the day then I whipped it off for the evening and it was party time!
Andrew wore a mix and match grey and navy outfit with trousers and jacket from Reiss, a waistcoat from Ted Baker and shoes from Paul Smith. The bridesmaids wore amazing yellow shift dresses we bought from ASOS, it was good fun doing bridesmaid shopping – we did one day out and one massive online order all from the high street. They picked their own shoes and went for blue pointy courts. They all looked great and got loads of compliments.
The men matched Andrew apart from the waistcoat, he bought them both shoes as their thank you gifts so they were different too.
We stayed at Crab Manor the evening before the wedding so it made it much easier, no transport required! It also gave us a chance to start the celebrations earlier with a lunch with guests and get final preparations done, whilst having a few glasses of bubbly and enjoying the hot tub too!
Our photographer was Ryan at Shutter Go..Click Photography. I found it really hard to find a photographer but absolutely loved Ryan’s style as soon as I saw some of his work. He was really friendly and good fun from the start and just got our style. I’d definitely recommend Ryan and have already passed on his details to others.
My bridesmaids and I carried mixed hand tied bouquets that were made for us by my friend and her mum who used to be florists. The most unusual thing in the bouquet was artichokes, some open flowers and some closed, they were really striking. The button holes were made by Stacey and Barbara too, I can remember getting to the ceremony and seeing Andrew’s button hole for the first time, it was lovely and it made one of my favourite photos too.
The venue is already jam packed with all sorts of vintage finds from a diver to old fashioned beer pumps so we didn’t need to go mad with table designs.I opted to do the table décor myself including flowers which was fun – many hours spent on Pinterest!
My mum and mother-in-law made it their mission to collect old bottles and vases and I ended up with such an eclectic mix, I then went for single or double stems dotted along the tables and central points, cake table, post box etc. I chose my flowers by picking some key pieces from my bouquet including Miss Piggy roses, yellow craspedia and Scottish thistles and I got them from Dave in Leeds market. It was great I popped in two weeks before, ordered what I wanted and collected them the morning before the wedding, we even picked more on the day just in case!
Whilst the boys were in the hot tub my room was a hive of activity the evening before the wedding cutting stems, adding water to vases and grouping items together for tables, making sure everything was just right. I couldn’t have done it without my bridesmaids; Amy, Ellie and Rose and my lovely friends Kate and Steph. We also decorated the aisle with massive crepe paper flowers that we had made in advance, they went a bit floppy but still added a lovely pop of colour.
For favours we went for a little box with two chocolates each – I never even ate mine! We got our mums lovely bouquets, our dads got tie clips that they could wear on the day and our niece and nephew got some glow stick wands to help them bust moves on the dance floor. My bridesmaids got little goody bags which included some gorgeous personalised bracelets which were hand made by my lovely mother-in-law Liz. Since then she’s set up an Etsy shop as everyone loved them.
Cake was an interactive part of our wedding, we invited our guests to join in ‘The Great Wedding Bake Off’ and ended up with about 15 cakes. It looked amazing! Me and my friends found old plate sets and pink glasses in a charity shop and the cake stands were superglued together the night the before and luckily made it through the day.
For the big cake cutting event we doubled up cake with evening food by having a three tiered cake of cheese and a giant Wilson’s pork pie. It went down a treat and there wasn’t even a crumb left.
Our ceremony was at 12 noon and wedding breakfast was at 4pm so we needed nibbles, rather than canapés. We organised a leg of parma ham and some n’duja, a spreadable spicy salami – by the time we were back from wedding duties there was nothing left!
For our wedding breakfast we had some absolutely gorgeous food, one of the reasons we picked Crab and Lobster. Starters were smoked roast salmon or a goat’s cheese tart, which came with mustard ice cream – we’d tried this before in the restaurant and knew we had to have it. For main it was lamb shank or halibut with a crab and coriander crust and a gorgeous saffron and lobster bisque – mmm! Desert was a simple fruit crumble and everyone had to leave room for cake!
We had Prosecco throughout the day for toasts, I much prefer it to champagne. In the evening Andrew and I had our own special bottles of fizz behind the bar called Nyetimber which is an English wine and will be our special occasion wine forever.
For entertainment we thought more about the day than the evening as we had a good few hours in between the ceremony and wedding breakfast. We hired a magician called Chris Kendal who was magic! Chris kept our guests entertained and blew my mind, that was Andrew’s decision and it was a great part of the day. We also made use of the grounds and had a mini golf competition, I even had a go in my dress. It kept everyone busy and apart from one small injury everyone enjoyed themselves.
In the evening we opted for a juke box rather than a DJ it added another element of interaction for our guests and it just looked really cool.
Crab Manor has a secret beer tap that we had found the day before our wedding so we let our guests know where they can grab a sneaky beer. We also had a photo booth in the evening and got our wedding guests to write messages alongside their pictures. I love looking back at it, it’s funny because you can tell the booze was flowing on some of them. We had a bubbles and sparklers instead of confetti to make more interesting photos.
We would most definitely recommend the Crab and Lobster to other wedding couples. Brilliant location, lovely staff, the perfect backdrop to a wedding.
Andrew’s favourite part of the day (on top of getting married) was when during a jukebox disc change our friend Aaron walked into a silent dancefloor and belted out the first line of We’ve Lost That Loving Feeling from Top Gun. It was perfect timing and had everyone in hysterics. Our joint worst part of the day was our first dance, it was so cringe worthy! We chose Ray LaMontagne – You Are the Best Thing. However a few hours later was our second first dance and that was one of my favourite parts, everyone singing along to Take That, Never Forget.
We went to Gaya Island in Borneo for two weeks for our honeymoon. It was an idyllic island where you could do as much or as little as you wanted. I think our grand plans of activities melted away when the warm sun hit our bodies though and we just enjoyed the relaxation of it all. We did a bit of kayaking and a few jungle hikes, we saw orangutans and ate loads of amazing food. It was the perfect place for a honeymoon and if we ever travelled to Borneo again we would have to go back.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be – enjoy it all, don’t sweat the small stuff, no one will notice and if you get stuck just ask, ask anyone, everyone loves a wedding and will feel happy to be able to get involved.
I got Andrew a puppy for his wedding gift and it was a complete surprise so that was an exciting part of the day too. We collected Ralph the day we got back from honeymoon and he has been a brilliant addition to married life!
April 13th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Here at Brides Up North we’re lucky to receive so many incredibly styled weddings and today’s is one that would come close to the top of the pile.
Art teacher Sophie clearly has an eye for detail as she combined a cool blue colour palette with Scottish touches and her favourite fabrics to produce one heck of a gorgeous wedding.
Gals, you can pick up plenty of inspiration here for the wedding party’s attire, venue styling and special touches.
Paper and pens at the ready!
With images by Spencer Photography.
sophie says: We got engaged on the 4th September 2013 at Lytham Windmill. It was the last day of the summer holidays (I’m an art teacher) and we decided we’d go out for a meal, so Andrew booked an Indian we like in Lytham. A lovely meal and lots of hand holding we decided we would walk off the meal a little. It was a beautifully clear night with stars everywhere and we wandered along the front and walked right up to the front of the windmill for the best view of the estuary over to the twinkling lights of Southport in the distance. I turned to go down the stairs saying we should probably get home when Andrew just said “wait Soph” and I turned to see him on one knee with an open ring box “will you marry me?” I had always thought I would be so confident in my answer but I could only whisper the quietest “yes” behind the biggest smile.
We booked our wedding for the 18th October, we both love autumn and had originally thought we’d go for the first weekend of the school holiday, however everywhere we liked was either booked or closed! Then the venue that we chose in the end – Charnock Farm – had the weekend before free and after a quick discussion – could we cope going straight back to work on the Monday? We decided to go for it!
We were married at St. Michael’s Church in Kirkham, my church since I was a toddler. Not only is it a special place for me as it holds many happy memories but for a local parish church it is just utterly stunning. A grand entrance and long, dramatic aisle. What more could a girl need?
There were a few little themes running through our day, the main I guess ‘buttons, bobbins and Liberty fabrics’, from the moment we set our date I started collecting and buying up hundreds of wooden bobbins. As well as being an art teacher I’m a textile designer and have a little obsession with buttons. From being pretty young I have adored Liberty and everything it stands for and love working with their fabrics. Lodden is one of my all-time favourites, this print was at the centre of many fabric elements at our wedding.
Our colour scheme was blues – every single one of them! Weddings are so often all about the bride, but blue is Andrew’s favourite colour and is a nod to the traditional rhyme ‘something old, something new….’
I knew I wanted a vintage inspired dress, a nod to the 50s and Grace Kelly. With a pile of bridal magazines and Pinterest I quickly knew that Charlotte Balbier was the designer for me – and more importantly that Constance was almost definitely the dress, but I really wanted lace sleeves! I saw an advert for The White Closet in one of the magazines and they had a meet the designer night quickly after our engagement so I booked myself and one of my bridesmaids in. The White Closet is just gorgeous, I was in love. When asked if I had a particular dress in mind by Eve she made sure that the next changes included Constance, the buttons from the top to bottom of the train were beautiful, I just knew and I hadn’t even tried it on. It was as if Charlotte had been in my head when she designed the dress. I was able to chat with Charlotte on the night and discuss my ideas for extra sleeves, luckily I didn’t offend her. I booked myself in a few weeks later with my mum. I only tried on Constance.
At my first fitting with the help of The White Closet ladies I was also able to design a lace jacket to wear with my dress so I had sleeves, it dipped into a V at the back just as Charlotte’s own wedding dress had. I felt so beautiful in my dress; I didn’t want to take it off!
I also wore a simple ivory cathedral length veil and Rachel Simpson Cora ivory suede kitten heels. My youngest sister Izi made me a garter with fabric and buttons that all had little meanings, it was so very thoughtful.
Andrew knew he wanted a grey three piece suit but no tails. However when the boys went to have a look and try on he changed his mind. This was meant to be a secret but his brother and best man Scott told me by accident! So the suits were hired from Greenwoods but he wore a handmade Lodden tana lawn tie and matching pocket square, teamed on the day with blue spotty Paul Smith socks and dark brown brogue style shoes.
The bridesmaids wore floor length navy In One Clothing dresses their own way, with Izi and Laura wearing Agnes and Norman navy suede heels and Hannah in Rachel Simpson ivory satin sling-backs. Hannah, my middle sister, is wearing them for her own wedding in February.
The groomsmen all wore the same suit as Andrew but their ties and pocket squares were in Betsy print tana lawn.
Andrew and I have a mutual love of VWs so it had to be a camper van for our transport. We used Posh Pampa Campas and I travelled from home to church in Coco, a silver grey split screen, then we travelled from church to on reception via Lytham.
We found photography one of the more difficult things to pick, but through suggestions from different people and a few meetings we met Joanne Spencer of Spencer Photography for a quick drink and we could have talked for hours. Just totally on the same creative wavelength as us and her photos are just stunning. There is something in the colour that just captivates me. We had great fun on a very, windy and cold day on Morecombe front for our engagement shoot and we both felt totally at ease in Jo’s company. On the day Jo and her husband Scott were amazing, there when we needed them but not pushy as we had witnessed at other weddings. Their style suited ours as we didn’t want lots of posed shots, a natural documenting of our day and all the little details we had worked hard to include.
I carried a hand-tied bouquet of white roses, thistles, myrtle and rosemary mixed in with other bits of greenery. I wanted elegant and timeless and that is exactly what we got from Margaret Mason in Preston. Half of my family are Scottish so not only are some thistles blue (to fit the colour scheme) but they’re also the national flower of Scotland, another of our subtle mini themes.
At church we had our own little flower festival, and the church flower ladies led by Christine Lever took my breath away with their work and attention to detail. All of the ladies have practically known me my whole life so it was very special that they were able to do this for our wedding day. Stunning arrangements and an archway in ivories and foliage.
We had a combination of flowers and decorations we made ourselves at the venue. On the top table a traditional long and low arrangement with white roses, thistles, rosemary, pussy willow, gypsophila and other beautiful blue flowers. Then on the guest tables Andrew and I, with the help of a friend, had made our own bobbins on top of which posies of the same floral combinations sat and then tall slim vases filled with vintage bobbins also with a posy on top. Spare bobbins and buttons were dotted around the tables too. We had made loads of blue candles and decorated them with ribbons and ceramic buttons.
Our wedding venue was a barn with stunning exposed beams, from these Andrew and his groomsmen had hung blue and white paper pom-poms and white Chinese lanterns lit up with little LEDs. They did an amazing job on the morning of the wedding and they got it looking just as I had envisaged. We also hired carnival lights from The Word is Love, a huge S&A to light up the dance floor, our guests loved these and they really added something to the already gorgeous barn venue.
We did but didn’t give out favours but instead after the church service guests were invited for shortbread and fizz and a donation to WaterAid was made so that others benefited from our happiness. We only had a handful of children at the wedding but I made them each a personalised drawstring bag – using different blue fabrics and Liberty tana lawns, filled with books, games, bubbles, Lego, personalised pencils and colouring in books. The babies were given tana lawn bibs too – they went down a storm!
We changed our minds a little bit on the type of cake but in the end went for a four tiered fruit cake which my mum made for us and a sponge cake. A friend Caroline decorated our cake for us with ivory flat icing and a cascade of different blue icing buttons. It was exquisite and topped with a tiny floral topper.
Andrew and I both love music and we are quite eclectic in our tastes. But we both agreed that live music was important so we were lucky enough to be able to book The Flip Band, a three-piece on bongos, violin and bass guitar. We have seen them a few times at different venues and they didn’t let us down. They learnt Calvin Harris’ Feel so Close for our first dance, incredible! We also had DJ Gary Mills who had worked with my sister quite a lot and came highly recommended. He too was great fun and very entertaining with his costume changes! Gary gave us a CD of musical highlights from our wedding which was a lovely touch.
As a special touch our tables were named after different activity badges you can gain as a scout (they also happen to be blue), as Andrew and I met through our involvement in Scouts. We also had a homemade photo booth in the form of a giant Polaroid frame with a trunk full of different props for people to enjoy.
Our venue has a lovely outdoor seating area and because it was possibly the warmest October day ever lots of people were able to mingle outside but it did get a little cooler in the evening so I had a basket full of blankets ready for this and also a basket full of slippers for those that just had to kick off their shoes.
We would definitely recommend our venue to others – it’s warm, cosy without being small, spacious without being too big and neutral back drop which would suit many individual styles.
Other suppliers involved in our big day that we would recommend are RA Designs at The Manchester Craft & Design Centre who make bespoke engagement and wedding rings, Chloe Sinclair and Cedar Nail and Beauty in Kirkham, who did the bridal party’s make-up and Barbara Kay and Talking Heads in Wesham, who did the bridal party’s hair.
The whole day was a whirlwind but a particularly memorable moment was when we started to exchange our vows the sun started to shine and it just burst through the church windows down onto us. Perfect. I did also love our photo shoot up at Lytham Windmill, it was time just together on our own (of a fashion) and we couldn’t stop smiling and laughing, especially when my cheek was prickled by the thistle in Andrew’s button hole!
We went back to work the following Monday but the next week we headed off to The Lakes for our minimoon of walking, spa days, afternoon tea and just time together. We are heading to California in August for our proper honeymoon where we are going to drive from San Francisco to San Diego down the coast. We cannot wait!
My top tip to other Brides Up North is – be yourselves. Do not be swayed by what other people think, it’s your day. And make sure you have clear communication with all your suppliers so that they fully understand your vision.
agnes and norman, blue wedding, cedar nail and beauty, charnock farm, dj gary mills, greenwoods, in one clothing, liberty, margaret mason, north west wedding, paul smith, posh pampa campas, ra designs, rachel simpson, real wedding, something blue, spencer photography, the flip banh, the white closet, the word is love, uk wedding blog
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