April 27th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
Thursday evening’s don’t come much better than this! It’s very nearly the beginning of a bank holiday weekend and to top that, we’ve got an uber-gorgeous styled shoot packed with wedding inspiration to share with you. Ladies, it’s time to let down your hair, fill up your glass (with bubbles, we hope) and feast your eyes on this bridal beauty.
Lead by award-winning Sheffield florist Tracey Campbell, of Campbell’s Flowers, this shoot is the work of a talented team of South Yorkshire suppliers who relished in the opulent ‘fine romance’ brief.
True to form, Tracey created some truly breath-taking designs, which were complemented by the stunning choice of bridal attire, hair, makeup and details.
The backdrop of the misty Peak District hills adds to the romantic tale, and we are thrilled to see a little cameo appearance from some rather gorgeous greyhounds.
With images by Shelley Richmond Photography. Models: Jessica Fletcher and Jessica Leatherday.
tracey says: The big idea behind the shoot was to really visually explore the growing trend of floral wedding designs moving away from the meadowy, just-picked look so dominant in recent years, and towards a very opulent, luxe look. It’s an incredibly romantic look, so we worked with the shoot title ‘A Fine Romance’.
To create that style, I used lots of textures when crafting the floral designs, and maximised contrasts, by juxtaposing more traditional blooms, like amaryllis with exotic flora, such as King Protea.
Much of the inspiration came from the wonderful Marilyn gown by Sassi Holford, particularly in terms of the colour palette, which featured silvery grey eucalyptus and pinks in a range of hues from soft, baby blushes through to some magnificently vivid magenta. The stunning gowns for the shoot, including Marilyn, were provided by Sheffield-based bridal boutique, The White Room.
When it came to the shoot location, we decided on Losehill House Hotel and Spa. We’ve long been fans of this superb venue, and as preferred suppliers we adore working with them. For us, its incredible location is hard to beat as the rolling hills of the beautiful Peak District will always hold a very special place in our hearts; constantly inspiring us and drawing us back.
Losehill also perfectly matched our theme, as the whole place is brimming with luxury details and feels very special. We also love to collaborate with other businesses who share our ethos, and Losehill really does, particularly when it comes to insisting on quality and supporting local artisans and suppliers, for example, the lounge and restaurant furniture was all hand crafted to their design by a nearby company.
To create our romantic, high-end look with our flowers for the shoot, we focused on a contemporary classic look that was all refined elegance with a muted, soft and incredibly feminine colour palette, which we then contrasted with vivid colour pops like cerise. We also incorporated rich colours that were reminiscent of oil paintings, such as a deep emerald green as seen in the simple ivy crowns.
December 7th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today we’re giving you a second helping of gorgeous real wedding inspiration in the form of Gemma and Richard’s big day at Upper House.
Taking inspiration from an expert in prettiness, Cath Kidston, Gemma got busy sourcing lots of sweet, vintage buys online to help set the scene before roping in groom Richard to assist with some handmade décor.
The result is a wedding day that’s beautiful, colourful & fun, just as the bride desired!
With images by Lissa Alexandra Photography.
gemma says: We got engaged on 22nd Dec 2013, whilst on a ski holiday in France. After a spectacular gondola ride across to the glacier in La Plagne, Rich suggested we ski away from the crowds to take some photos. We stopped and Rich took off his skis. After rummaging in his coat, he handed me a half bottle of champagne. He continued to rummage. Next appeared two small plastic pots, which transformed into champagne flutes. He got down on one knee and said “Gemma, will you marry me?” and I replied “I absolutely will!” Cue a random Frenchman that took our photo!
We set the date for 18th July 2015. We wanted a summer wedding and we needed to save up – so summer 2015 was an easy choice.
Our wedding took place at Upper House in Hayfield, Derbyshire. We knew from the start that we wanted a venue that was in the Peak District. Rich and I relocated from St. Albans a couple of years ago to live in the Peaks, so we really wanted to show our southern friends why we had moved north!
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February 16th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
The winter might still be dragging on but get ready as we’re about to inject your Monday with a fabulous dose of sunshine and happiness.
Olivia and Nathan’s rustic wedding sets the style bar sky high with stunning attire and décor to match.
I adore the pale grey and vibrant yellow colour palette which shines through in the mens’ get up, lovely blooms and the bridesmaids’ cute dresses, designed by the bride herself no less!
So let’s head down to the farm to relive this gorgeous couple’s big day.
With images by Maryanne Scott Photography.
olivia says: We got engaged early April 2013. Nath picked me up from work as a surprise on a Friday afternoon and took me to Chester for the weekend. On the Saturday we went for a picnic on a river bank which he had prepared, he remembered everything, the blanket, basket and champagne! After eating lunch he proposed. It was absolutely freezing but very romantic.
We chose to tie the knot on August 9th 2014. We knew we wanted a summer wedding and we were restricted to school holidays, if we wanted a honeymoon, as Nath is a teacher.
We got married at All Saints RC Church in Hassop, where we had a Catholic ceremony with full mass, followed by a reception at Brosterfield Farm in Foolow. Having grown up in Sheffield I was always being brought out to the Peak District at the weekend for walks. It is such a beautiful part of the world and I wanted a beautiful setting for the wedding.
I very much wanted a rustic, DIY wedding and knew I wanted a field and marquee. The marquee allowed us to have enough space for 120 day guests and around 185 in the evening. This is what Brosterfield provided, a long open space for the marquee with beautiful scenery, enough space for us and our immediate families to stay and an excellent service. It was perfect!
The theme was DIY/rustic/handmade, which is very much the theme at home, so it was easy for me to adapt this to the wedding. There wasn’t a colour scheme as such. I decided I wanted grey dresses for the bridesmaids – I wanted something neutral and knew I didn’t want the pale pink ‘pretty’ look. Nath wanted a grey suit so we went for grey for the lads too. Nath saw a yellow tie he really liked, he wanted a bit of colour to stand out and it really suited his colouring. So we decided to use the yellow in my bouquet and his button hole too to make us stand out and tie us together.
My dress was a Blue by Enzoani Dakota fish tailed lace dress. It was the perfect shape for my figure as I have a very small frame at the top but hips and a bum so it showed everything off. As it was a Catholic ceremony I wanted to have my shoulders covered. I had a small top made with ¾ sleeves in the same lace as the dress with matching buttons down the back. I then took this off for the evening reception. I also had a long veil with very small diamantes on it. I bought my dress from Emily Bridal Wear in Sheffield. Emily and her staff were superb throughout the process.
I bought a vintage belt before I bought my dress, which I spotted at a vintage fair. I wanted to change my outfit a little for the evening so it was the perfect addition for the reception. I also wore a handmade forehead band in the evening made by Debbie Carlisle. She was incredible and replaced all the diamantes with pearls to match my jewellery and shoes. My shoes were pearl coated five-inch heels which I bought from Etsy from a Yorkshire-based seller called Project Elegance.
Nath wore a three-piece grey suit from Reiss. He bought a white shirt from the Saville Row Company with a white collar bar and had this personalised with McG on the cuffs (our surname is McGuinness). The knitted tie was from Ted Baker and we managed to find a matching pocket hankie in Reiss and socks in Urban Outfitters. I bought Nath a pair of silver cufflinks with a pearl detail which I had designed at the jewellers and had given to him the morning of the wedding. These were engraved with McG on one and the wedding date on the other.
I had the bridesmaids dresses made as I had designed the dresses and there was nothing similar on the high street or online. They were a grey sweetheart neckline with mesh top, a tutu bottom and a big bow on the back. They had pearl buttons down the back. The girls wore Kurt Geiger silver/grey heels and pearly flowered headbands. The younger bridesmaid and flower girl had very similar style dresses but made in ivory. They had fresh flowers in their hair.
The ushers and best men had three-piece suits from Next and the dads had very similar ones from M&S. They had grey ties made by the lady who made the girls’ dresses. They all had a different pocket square made from vintage scarves which I collected from vintage fairs and shops in the grey theme too. We also had two page boys; Charlie wore a mini version of the groomsmen’s suit from Next with a bow tie and braces with converse. George wore shorts with braces from Etsy with a bow tie.
I went to the church in a vintage VW Beetle called Jenny and the bridesmaids in a vintage VW Campervan called Harry. They were hired from Vintage Volksweddings. Nath and I then had the Beetle to the farm and we had lots of lovely photos with it at the end of the drive whilst our guests arrived. Richard from the company was absolutely superb – I would recommend him to anyone.
The photographer was Maryanne Scott and she was brilliant. Maryanne did a trial shoot with us before we booked her – we were both a bit nervous about being in front of the camera but she put us at ease straight away. We also had an engagement shoot before the wedding. On the day we couldn’t have asked any more of her. Maryanne was at my Mom’s house where I was getting ready early on, she took some fab getting ready shots and then set off into the countryside to get photos of all the lads and then the guests arriving. She takes natural, beautiful photographs, capturing the details of the day and special moments without you even knowing she is there. What an amazing photographer and a lovely person, she really was a joy to have photograph our big day!
I knew I didn’t want the standard pretty flowers for our wedding day. We used a lady called Catherine at Petalis in Sheffield. From our first visit Cat understood my vision. We had vintage tins as centre pieces and dotted around the marquee which Cat filled with beautiful flowers with pops of colour as well as using milk churns and watering cans with bright, wacky summer flowers as displays. Cat decorated the church with beautiful, more subtle flowers. She also created stunning button holes and bouquets using natural textures and grey foliage to fit our theme. Cat managed to deliver very high quality flowers to fit the rustic vision and colours, delivering to multiple venues. I was so pleased with them all!
The men were given vintage football programmes as their favours. As a massive Sheffield Wednesday fan and Nathan being a massive Manchester United fan we decided to purchase a programme from the 60s-80s depending on the person’s age for either SWFC or MUFC versus the team that person supported. The women meanwhile were all given vintage brooches which I had collected from charity shops, antique shops and car boot sales before the wedding. The children were all given a personalised colouring pack and crayons which I ordered off eBay. I also made 80 jars of strawberry jam as extra favours with special labels. I’ve had so many people asking me to make more jam since!
We had a three-tier cake made by Lindy Lou Cakes with a Victoria sponge tier, fruit tier and lemon drizzle tier. It was decorated very simply with ivory icing and pearl details all over with an icing bow. I then made the cake toppers to add some more colour. We also had chocolate cupcakes to match.
We hired The Butlers Pantry in Mickleover to do the food and they were absolutely fantastic! First we had prosecco and canapés, including mini Yorkshire puddings with beef, and cheese and sundried tomato tartlets. We then had sharing platters as our starter so there was something for everyone. For main we had Chicken filled with brie and basil wrapped with Serrano ham in a mushroom and tarragon sauce and then Eton Mess for pudding. We had a pizza van for our evening catering by Fabio’s Wood Fired Pizza Oven. They arrived and set up without disturbing us in the slightest and created a variety of amazing pizzas to suit everyone’s tastes!
For entertainment we had a band called ‘up4thedownstroke’ who came up all the way from Birmingham. They were just incredible and everyone commented on how amazing they were – not a typical wedding band but a professional set up with soul, RnB and some more generic songs to please everyone. Our friend Cookie DJ’d between the band’s sets and afterwards. We also provided games both inside and outside the marquee for the few children who were at the wedding and they went down really well too.
The special touches on the day were just all the little things I made, from bunting on each chair to the crocheted doily table runners. I also made signs to go around the venue, did photo displays and a ‘rules of the dance floor’ sign too.
Other suppliers from our wedding that I would recommend include Julie at Stephen Bywater Hair, who did mine, the bridesmaids’ and my Mom’s hair. Posh Frocks and Wellies marquee company were also very good. They provided the marquee, the hardwood flooring, the tables and chairs, linen and the toilets. I’d also highly recommend Brosterfield Farm if you are looking for somewhere to make your wedding your own. It gave us the freedom to use all different suppliers and contacts and make the day perfect for us.
I genuinely enjoyed every single minute of our wedding. I thoroughly enjoyed our vows – it was really important to us both to have a catholic ceremony and it was really special. I also loved our first dance where we had a slide show of photographs of us in the background and followed this with a dance with my Dad. The speeches were also brilliant, though I think it was just really special to have all our friends and family together.
We went to Bali on our honeymoon which was wonderful. We spent the first ten nights in Nusa Dua – a more touristy resort and the last two in the most amazing boutique hotel in the jungle in Ubud.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be make it your day, don’t let anyone put you off any of your ideas. This is your day, the most special day of your life, and it has to be perfect for you both. Incorporate details of both of you into the day and make memories to last a lifetime!
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February 3rd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
What’s not to love about today’s wedding?
Matt and Stephi’s celebration oozes opulence and style, from the bride’s stunning lace dress and regal faux fur wrap, to the classic Austin York car and those sensational blooms. However, this couple didn’t get caught up in the planning process enough to lose sight of the reason they were tying the knot – simply because of the love they have for one another.
So wrap up warm as we join the Matt and Stephi in reliving their romantic winter wedding.
With images by Ruth Atkinson
stephi says: We got engaged on 1st August 2014. I was in Keswick helping at the Keswick Convention and Matt came to pick me up at the end of the three weeks. It was a really rainy miserable day but he eventually persuaded me to go for a walk up to the hill where we first started going out three years previously. We got there and he got out a picnic blanket and then gave me a box of letters that he’d written over the last three years that he’d saved for when he proposed. I read through them all and then he got down on one knee and popped the question! Then after a little picnic, we made our way back down the hill to the car and Matt tripped and fell headfirst and slid on his front down the entire muddy hill. It was a very hilarious addition to the proposal story!
We set the date for 3rd January 2015. We knew that we didn’t want a long engagement and to drag it out. So we started at 12 months and moved forward until we got to a date that worked.
We got married at Christ Church in Fulwood, Sheffield. Matt and I are part of the church family there and so there wasn’t really any question about getting married anywhere else. We chose Firth Court as our reception venue. I’d been to a wedding there before and thought it was beautiful and we thought it was a massive bonus that it is on a main road, just in case the weather decided to turn nasty! We would definitely recommend this venue to other couples. The team there was professional in every way and delivered a great service, plus the building is stunning inside and out.
Matt and I very much wanted our faith in Jesus to be the centre of the day. Yes it is ‘our big day’, but we both believe that all good things come from our Father in Heaven so we wanted to reflect that in each part of the day – particularly the service. Everyone said how much of a joyful celebration the service was, of our love for each other and of God’s love for us all.
We wanted a very simple and elegant wedding in terms of style. I didn’t want the day to be about the theme or the décor etc but about the fact that we were getting married. I chose a pale blue for my bridesmaids and pretty much everything else was very neutral – lots of whites and ivory and pale blues.
When it came to my dress I tried on a lot of dresses! And my problem was that I liked them all. I ended up choosing a long sleeved, lace dress by Lusan Mandongus from Lulu-Mae Bridal in Sheffield. It wasn’t what I had thought I wanted but after I left the shop I couldn’t stop thinking about it so I went back and tried it on a second time and fell in love. I ended up having a seamstress disaster two weeks before the wedding (just before Christmas) but a brilliant lady, Penny Beal came to my rescue and was incredible. I also had a faux fur wrap from Monsoon, which was perfect to keep me warm out in the Peak District. Julia Smith did my makeup and she did incredible work on my stressed out skin – I felt amazing all day.
Matt wore a Classic tailcoat suit with traditional striped trousers, hired from Moss Bros. He had a patterned ivory waistcoat and plain ivory cravat.
My bridesmaids wore floor-length pale blue dresses that I got online. I loved the way the neckline and lace at the top matched my dress. They also had scarves to keep warm when we were outside – I got them from Primark! The groomsmen wore the same as Matt. They also all had scrabble letter cufflinks with their initials. We also had two flower girls, who wore beautiful dresses from Monsoon, and three page boys. As part of their outfits they wore red converse to match with the bridesmaids scarves.
We travelled in a 1937 Austin York. We hired it from Legends Wedding Services and loved having such a beautiful classic car in the photos – although it was freezing!
Ruth Atkinson was our photographer. She has done a lot of our friends’ weddings and it was the first thing we knew we wanted when we got engaged. She takes absolutely beautiful photos and we hardly noticed her at all on the day. We received our photos from her within a week of being back from honeymoon and couldn’t have asked for anything more from her.
I carried a natural looking bouquet of white roses, gypsophila, silver brunia, grey eucalyptus and muscari. It was absolutely beautiful and went brilliantly with my bridesmaids’ small posies of gypsophila. Katherine at Petalis in Sheffield was really helpful in giving her experience and ideas whilst still listening to what I wanted. Petalis also did our reception flowers. We had candelabras as centrepieces on each of the tables. Some of them were dressed with gypsophila and some were left plain. It looked like a fairytale! We also had lots of candles in jars dotted all over the place.
We gave out charity favours for three of our favourite charities – NSPCC, Cancer Research UK and Alzheimer’s Society. I wrote a little poem explaining why we had done it and attached the pin badges to the card.
As I’m gluten intolerant cake isn’t a very easy thing to get right, and Matt and I both have an unhealthy love affair with cheese so we decided to have a cheese cake. It was absolutely incredible and we still have cheese left now! It also killed two birds with one stone as we just had accompaniments and served it up as the evening buffet.
The catering at Firth Court was out of this world. Several people said it was best wedding food they’d ever had – the gravy was so good I could’ve drank it. We had Wensleydale cheese and leek tart with grain mustard dressing for starter, then for main we had roast loin of Moss Valley pork with a dry rub of sage, garlic and thyme, spiced apple compote, cider gravy, seasonal vegetables and potatoes. For dessert we had dark chocolate fondant with white chocolate ice cream and raspberry coulis.
Matt and I are both musicians so we knew we wanted a really good live band for our evening reception. Our first choice was always Function Fever and they didn’t let us down! They had everyone on the dance floor and everyone said how great the band was.
A couple of special touches included us sending out ‘mad lib’ RSVP cards. These were a lot of fun and we loved reading through everyone’s replies. A friend of ours also organised a special guestbook for us. She drew a tree and guests did their fingerprint leaves on it, and we also had little guest cards for people to fill in and leave little messages.
My favourite part was definitely the service. Just after we got married, turning around and seeing everyone there was a really special moment. But most of all hearing everyone singing their hearts out in worship was so beautiful.
For our honeymoon we went to H10 Hotel Rubicon in Lanzarote. It was lush. We had such a relaxed week, enjoying the sun and some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. The spa was great place to go on the cloudy days and it was the perfect place to relax after all the madness leading up to the wedding.
In the run up to the wedding, regularly remind yourself why you are doing this. It’s not about the favours or the place cards but about two people wanting to spend the rest of their lives together. My motto (especially when I couldn’t get in my dress two weeks before my wedding) was: ‘As long as we get married, the day is a success. Everything else is just a good story’.
November 24th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
There are those people that think they know how to throw a party and then there are those people that know how to absolutely nail a party. Today’s real wedding couple falls into the latter, no questions asked.
Self confessed laid-back couple Tom and Chloe wanted a chilled-out celebration but one that would be incredibly good fun – and that’s exactly what they delivered.
Musician Tom and his talented mates kept the marquee wedding rocking late into the night with incredible live music. One performer in particular may well look familiar as a certain Arctic Monkey attended the do.
Ready, set, rock!
With images by PH Weddings.
chloe says: Our engagement story isn’t the most romantic but because we’ve been going out for 12 years now, we just both knew what we wanted. It was April 2013 when it happened. We were out down Kelham Island in Sheffield having a few drinks and we just decided there and then to get engaged. We are a very laid back couple and were both not into the whole attention knee thing, so it was perfect for us both, just between us two.
We set the date for September 20th 2014.
We got married at my local church, Sacred Heart Church in Hillsborough. I was christened and baptised there and I used to be an altar girl there when I was little, plus I went to school next door, so me and Tom agreed that would be the best place for us to get married. We had the reception at Foxholes Farm, Bradfield. We chose that venue because we love the area it’s in and we wanted a marquee in a field – it was the perfect location for it.
As a very laid back and relaxed couple don’t particularly like the traditional wedding side of things, we wanted a party for everyone to enjoy and celebrate with us – and that’s exactly what it was!
We both like the colour navy so we both decided that would be a good start and would work well with the time of year.
My dress was from Lulu Mae in Oughtibridge, Sheffield. I knew I wanted straps and my back showing and this dress offered both and had a romantic vintage look to it, I love it!
Tom and his best man both wore navy suits from Reiss, they both looked very dapper. The bridesmaids wore a navy one-strap dress from Debenhams, they both looked gorgeous. I had my niece as my flower girl and she wore a dress from Accessorize in a dusky pink, as she loves anything pink and I had my two nephews as pageboys and they both wore navy trousers with a white granddad shirt with piano printed braces, they looked very grownup and handsome.
PH Weddings were our photographers. The people behind the business are Helen and her husband Paul, they were fantastic, exactly what we wanted and I would definitely recommend them. They just did exactly what we asked and the photos look great and in a good way we hardly knew they were there because that’s what kind of photos we wanted – a more natural, unposed look and they captured the day perfectly, everyone just looks so happy!
I travelled with my bridesmaids and my dad in a VW camper van, which was lent to us by some friends, and my dad drove us to the church, which was funny. The rest of the party went in an old fashioned double-decker bus, which we hired from the Sheffield Transport Museum.
When it came to flowers I didn’t have a clue. I left it to my friend Catherine, who owns a florist called Petalis, to choose the flowers. I trusted her and she did exactly that and more – the flowers were amazing, they looked beautiful and perfect. She did all the flowers for the venue, including a display outside which looked perfect in the surroundings. The tables looked beautiful also; they had a main centre piece of flowers and then lots of little vases dotted around the tables and on the head table, Catherine had just left a vase for me to put my bouquet in, so that I could enjoy looking at it for the whole day.
I had some wooden confetti hearts made with our name and wedding date on, and some music paper shaped hearts confetti scattered around the tables which matched perfectly with the flowers. My niece and nephews made the table names and table plan, because I thought it was nice for them to get involved with the day and it was a nice homely touch. Our favours were a bag of mixed sweets that I that I had chosen. I think they went down well as most of them were eaten before the meal.
We had PJ Taste do our catering, they were fantastic, and the food was gorgeous. We had nibbles for when we got back from the church, like mini Yorkshire puddings with beef and then pie and mash for our main meal and then a hog roast for later on. Everyone said the food was fantastic and that the pies were the best they had ever had.
My mum made our wedding cake, she is a great baker so there was no doubt that she would make it! It was a two-tier very chocolaty cake, it was immense! She also made a few other cakes, as did my sister, aunty and mother-in-law, there was no shortage of cake that was for sure!
Tom is a musician and most of our friends are so as always when one of us gets married they get together and play. They had chosen what to play, they kept it a secret from me, but they were great. It was so good and such a laugh, they had chosen songs that Tom and I loved and everyone just had a good old dance and sing-along. We also hired a bouncy castle to keep the little ones entertained.
Our favourite part of the day was seeing everyone enjoying it and looking happy, it was exactly what we wanted, just a great party with all our friends and family there.
We’ve not had a honeymoon as yet. We had a mini-moon to Castleton in Derbyshire for a few nights the weekend after because we love it there, but we’re hoping to go to America next year.
Our tip for other Brides Up North would be to enjoy the day and take it all in. Try not to worry about other people enjoying it, you two just enjoy it and relax.
October 23rd, 2014 | Julia Braime
Sian and Stu’s outdoor wedding is full of individuality, meaningful touches, casually cool couture and fun. A bride who carries a textbook bouquet and plans a laboratory style bar for her guests is absolutely my kind of geek.
With images by Chelsea Shoesmith.
Sian says: We got engaged just before Christmas 2012 back where I grew up in Anglesey, and we were married on 23rd August 2014. We were lucky enough to be able to choose the summer bank holiday, with the intention of our families, who would be travelling, to be able to enjoy the long weekend.
We had the wedding ceremony at Heaton House Farm, and the reception in a nearby field owned by Fairborough’s Farm. We love the beautiful scenery in the Peak District and the Staffordshire Dales. We were very keen on having the Tipis for the reception, and centered our search on finding venues with outdoor spaces with great views, which we found in spades in Rushton Spencer. The Tipis were provided by Peak Tipis.
I was keen on keeping the decor and styling quite rustic and natural in order to keep in line with the look and feel of the Tipis. We also wanted to feature a bit of science and chemistry, as both of our careers are chemistry based. It was a fun little juxtaposition with all of the natural elements.
I picked the colour scheme – neutrals with blue accents – to inject a bit more colour into the decor of the Tipi without looking at odds with the the colour of the canvas.
I fell in love with infinity dresses while looking for a bridesmaid dress that would suit all three of my very different bridesmaids. I found Coralie Beatrix on Etsy who also makes bridal infinity dresses and loved the idea of being able to wear the dress in different ways as the day went on, and being able to choose complementing shades for my bridesmaids. My own dress was actually custom made for me by my mum, Linda, which is amazing to have something so personal.
For the boys, we chose Edinburgh Woollen Mill waistcoats, BHS trousers, Burton shirts and stag head lapel pins from River Island. We wanted something more relaxed and casual than the traditional suits, whist still looking put together.
My bouquet was made out of pages of an old chemistry textbook, glued together rather messily by me and my mum in the dead of night a few days before the wedding. I loved being able to make as much as I could for the wedding, but I did superglue my fingers together on several occasions on this particular project!
We met with a few photographers and found Chelsea Shoesmith who has worked at the venue may times before, which gave us a lot of confidence. Of the photographers we met, she had the perfect balance of professionalism and friendliness, and throughout the planning process and the wedding day put us at ease and got the best out of us. She was totally on board and enthusiastic about doing a ‘First Look’ photo shoot too. This allowed Stu and I to see each other just before the ceremony and calm our (his) nerves and get some portrait shots in, leaving us with more time after the ceremony to get the group shots done and get back to the day. I’d recommend this to any couple who aren’t fussed about only seeing each other coming down the aisle for the first time; we aren’t traditional in that sense. I’d recommend Chelsea to anyone, and already have!
Glass jars were collected for me by various people and we decorated them ourselves using various techniques, including authentic Trearddur Bay sand collected by my niece in the summer. I found so many amazing ideas on Pinterest but had to reign myself in and only use a few to keep things looking cohesive! The bunting and cutlery sleeves were made by Stu’s mum Lynn and were some of people’s favourite features (a lot went missing)! We have kept some bunting and plan on putting it up in our first nursery as a little reminder of the day.
The first concrete decision I made about the wedding was that instead of giving our guests favours, I wanted to make a donation to Cancer Research UK. Like all families, we have lost and won battles with cancer and I know that all of our guests would appreciate the gesture.
My sister Rachel’s chocolate orange cake has long been one of my favourites, and asking her to bake our wedding cake was a total no-brainer. We had four layers: chocolate orange, carrot cake, lemon drizzle and vanilla sponge. We also have an amazing log cake board cut and engraved by my uncle. I’m going to have to start baking in order to use it again!
We had a barbecue consisting of lamb, ribs and sausages, salads and breads supplied by Vanilla in All Seasons. I think the best testimony we can give was that one of my friends had to be sent back to the table as he was up for second helpings within minutes before everyone had even been fed! In the end I think there were some people going back for thirds… fourths… fifths…
We supplied the drinks ourselves, with a master plan of having a chemistry lab/bar set up. In the end it wasn’t as grand as we first set out, as it turns out some of the lab glassware was extremely fragile! We also had mini-kegs of beer from Stewart’s donated from our friends Charlotte and Jamie after being a big hit at their own Tipi wedding.
For the ceremony music we had string and instrumental versions of a couple of our favourite songs by Incubus and The Cure. I think there were only a few people who noticed!
We also asked our friends’ band to play, and they ended up doing an acoustic set with a few of their own songs and a few covers that they knew we’d like, then played a carefully selected playlist in the evening. It was tough to put together as there were people with very different music tastes, but I think we managed to pull it off pretty well. We actually shared the wedding playlist with our friends afterwards, too.
During the day we had a few outdoor toys, bubble machines etc for the kids (and big kids) to play with, which they loved.
I would recommend this venue to any couple, especially those who just doesn’t get excited by the ‘standard’ weddings they see, and want to shape their own day.
I realised the time half an hour before I knew we were supposed to finish and pack up, and I was desperate for it not to end; for it to carry on with us all singing and dancing. There were little details that hadn’t gone exactly to plan or that I hadn’t thought of, and I knew that none of them mattered at all because I’d just had so much fun all day with all the people that I love most around me, and I could see how much fun everyone else was having, too.
With the money generously gifted to us by our guests, we went on a last minute all-inclusive holiday to Cyprus, where we both got to put our feet up and plan absolutely nothing after the stress on planning the wedding!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be that I’ve been assured that it’s normal to feel like you haven’t spent enough time with each guest – although I certainly tried!
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