April 6th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
Who says you have to play by the rules on your wedding day? Well, today’s couple are breaking with convention – and they’re doing it by the bucket-load! Favours, bridesmaids, best men, a wedding breakfast, top table…all nowhere to be seen. But Fi and Kev’s day is all the more special for it.
And, something we’re sure will turn a few heads – hubby Kev helped his bride-to-be shop for her wedding dress, and they even woke up together on the morning of their nuptials. Could this couple be any more unique, daring to be different and putting a big personal stamp on their big day?
Tying the knot in the stunning Lake District, the couple’s intimate wedding had so many wonderful touches – from their guests jingling a line of bells in unison following the ceremony, to their fabulous cheese cake and veggie spread, and the most eye-wateringly beautiful picture of the couple looking up at the twinkly night sky. We’re in love with this unconventional but truly inspiring wedding, and we think you’re going to be head over heels about it, too!
With images by Jo Greenfield Photography.
fi says: We got engaged on Christmas Day 2016. We have a couple of traditions, one being that we love to send each other cards or write little notes to each other and leave them in random places; the other is that we like to return to a particular park bench, where we first held hands, on the 25th of each month. On Christmas Day 2016 I was excited to give Kev a card, telling him how wonderful 2016 had been and how much love and happiness he had brought to my world. He had also written a card for me which had an extra little note inside saying ‘will you marry me?’. Kev had planned to give me his card at the park bench but because I was so excited to give him mine on Christmas morning, he gave me his while we were standing in the kitchen at home. That’s where he proposed, with his little note, standing in the very spot where he had asked me to move in with him. Perhaps not as romantic as being in the park sitting on our bench, but simple and just perfect.
We got married on 30th September 2017. We didn’t want a long engagement – why wait?! Neither of us particularly had any attachment to the Midlands, where we live, but we both love the Lake District so decided to tie the knot there. We hoped the September date might offer us better weather conditions and colours in the mountains at that time of the year.
We got married and held our reception at the Haweswater Hotel in the Lake District. Kev and I are both uncomplicated people and the thought of having a massive wedding just didn’t appeal – we do not like being centre of attention so keeping our wedding small and intimate was really important.
We found the Haweswater Hotel purely by chance. We had gone to visit a different location and had been recommended by the owner of this other venue that we could stay at the Haweswater Hotel on the night of our wedding. So, we thought we’d take a look. We parked up outside and were mesmerised by the location and how beautifully isolated it was. The reception staff offered to show us round and we left that afternoon knowing we wanted to get married there.
We didn’t have a theme. We just wanted a simple and uncomplicated day. No unnecessary extras, no over-the-top flamboyance, just simple, relaxed and informal, a gathering of our friends and family.
We knew what colours we liked and a scheme evolved from that. I knew I wanted to wear ivory and Kev knew he wanted a deep blue herringbone tweed suit. Kev had been on holiday to India just as we met and whilst he was there he met the Dalai Lama who had given him a knotted red string bracelet. We decided to use this red band as inspiration for a vibrant accent colour, with pops of deep red in our flowers and Kev’s button hole and tie. So, in the end, we had a mix of ivory, dark blue, pops of deep red, dusky pinks and creams.
Right from the first day we met, Kev and I have always shared everything, and I couldn’t comprehend dress shopping without him. We wanted all our wedding decisions to be made together, so Kev was involved in the dress process with me.
I’d hoped it would be really exciting to walk into wedding dress shops and pick up lots of beautiful dresses to try on; this was never the case. I did some internet browsing to find a shop that stocked some dresses I did like, and Kev came with me for my appointment. However, I was even more demoralised when everything I tried on was a size 8. Being a size 12/14 I never thought I was that big, but this experience soon made me feel self-conscious about my size, something that had never really worried me before.
All this really got me down and I thought I’d never find ‘the’ dress, but the one thing I was able to take from the experience was what did and didn’t suit me. I decided to have my dress made so that I could incorporate all the ideas that I had really liked from the dresses I had tried on. In the end a family friend made my dress. Kev and I designed it together and were involved in the whole process.
June 2nd, 2017 | Rachel Parry
A perfect combination of pretty and personal, today’s real wedding features a romantic colour palette combined with individual touches for a day that’s a true reflection of the bride and groom.
There are subtle references to Katie and Simon’s roots, interests and hobbies through their flower, cake and décor choices, showing others how to incorporate special touches into their special day.
The highlight of this wedding for us though has to be Katie’s beautiful high-neck wedding dress – she was ahead of Pippa Middleton on that trend!
With images by Katie Sidell Photography.
katie says: We got engaged on the 26th August 2014, in Rome at a beautiful square with a fountain called Piazza Novana. We had planned to go out for an evening meal and a few drinks that evening. After our meal we walked to Piazza Novana. When we arrived at the square Simon asked me to go and have a look for a nice place to drink. Unbeknown to me he was trying to ask someone to take a video of him proposing. Unfortunately they didn’t understand English so that plan failed. When I came back Simon got down on one knee (right in front of the big water fountain) and showed me the beautiful ring. He then asked me to marry him. I was so overwhelmed as I really wasn’t expecting it. I remember crying with happiness and of course said yes. It was so romantic.
We set the date for 25th June 2016. We definitely wanted a summer wedding so wanted the weather to be nice but not too hot. On record June tended to be the nicest month. We were fortunate to get the weather because it had rained in the morning as I was walking into the church but when we came out it was glorious.
Our ceremony was held at St Michael and All Angels Church in Bramhall. I have lived in Bramhall all my life and I’m very fond of this church. We chose Adlington Hall for the reception. The venue blew us both away. It is beautiful and we liked the fact it is an exclusive venue where we would be the only party there. The staff who worked there were so lovely and really made us feel special. We never looked back.
Our wedding had a rustic theme overall, which went particularly well with Adlington Hall and the beautiful high beams in its hunting lodge. There were a few subthemes too, which brought some personal elements to the day. As I was born in Scotland and Simon in England, so the men’s buttonholes included thistles and roses, and we also had thistles and roses within the bouquets. We had a park theme for the table plan. We chose ten parks throughout the world we had both been to, such as Central Park in New York and Villa Borghese Park in Rome. As we both represent our counties in tennis (Simon for Derbyshire and myself for Cheshire) we had Wimbledon themed cupcakes for our wedding cake. We also met each other through tennis and have known each other since we were about ten-year-old as we competed in the same tennis tournaments.
The colour scheme was lilac. This has always been my favourite colour and as a little girl I always dreamt of lilac flowers for my wedding. For our invitations, Michelle from Smileyhiley used rustic hearts and purple lace to help set the scene for the theming of the wedding.
I chose a Ronald Joyce wedding dress from Isaac Charles in Poynton. It was a drop waist design with a high neck because I felt these type of dresses were the most flattering for my figure. The wedding dress was made from very delicate lace, which I always wanted. It had pretty diamonds scattered throughout the dress and a shoulder/elbow length veil.
I actually thought I would go for something very simple with not much detail, when in fact the dress I chose was the complete opposite. When I put the dress on I knew it was the one straight away and never wanted to take it off. It was so beautiful and elegant and like nothing I had ever seen before.
On the day of the wedding, makeup artist Chloe Alexandra did my makeup and stylist Lisa Marshall did my hair.
June 30th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
There’s no doubt about it, this wedding is a true reflection of the bride and groom, featuring their passions, loves and memories.
After an unexpected proposal, Shelley and Andy searched Sheffield to find the perfect ceremony and reception venues for their relaxed and intimate big day.
We love their unconventional wedding approach which included Shelley buying her gorgeous wedding dress from eBay (for £40!) choosing an Eminem track for their service and heading to a local pub to carry on the celebrations after the reception. Because frankly, why the hell not!
The wedding day also included a very touching tribute to Shelley’s dad, who sadly died when she was just 14-years-old, demonstrating how couples can remember and celebrate those that have been loved and lost on their special day.
With images by Shutter Go…Click Photography.
shelley says: We got engaged just after we’d bought our first home together. I was busy unpacking boxes in the kitchen, chatting away on the phone to my best friend, Siobhan, while Andy was out. I heard him come back in but took no real notice. About two minutes later I turned around, still on the phone to my mate, to see him bent down on one knee with the ring in one hand and a takeaway Costa in the other (he knew the way to my heart). I said to my friend “I’m going to have to call you back, because I think sh*t is about to get real!”
We set the date for 20th December 2014, there was no real reason behind the date apart from that we both wanted a winter wedding.
We got married at the Rutland Hotel and had the reception at the Chimney House in Sheffield. We wanted a small intimate ceremony and reception and both venues were perfect for this. The Chimney House was absolutely amazing and was far better than we could have ever hoped for. We chose the Chimney House as it suited our style perfectly; graffiti on the walls, exposed brick work, skull candle – we’d move in there if we could!
We didn’t have a theme, instead we just went with us and what we liked. We did have a colour scheme though; grey with silver. We chose it because we thought it fitted in with that winter vibe.
I’m not a dress kind of girl and I’m much more comfortable in some jeans, flat shoes and a leather jacket! However I did buy a really beautiful lace mermaid style gown with a sweeping train from a website without trying any other dresses on! I did really like it but it just wasn’t me. So I ended up going on eBay a few weeks before the big day and getting a lace long sleeved vintage style dress instead – I think it cost about £40 quid!
I also wore a faux fur jacket, second hand from eBay, with Vivienne Westwood shoes. I wore my mum’s veil which she wore on her wedding day and my grandma’s 1950’s veil headpiece, which she wore on her wedding day too. I loved the whole outfit, it was much more me.
Andy wore a navy blue three piece suit with white shirt and silver tie.
My mum, Anne, made all six bridesmaid dresses. They were vintage Vogue patterns. I was finding it difficult to decide on a dress that both the bridesmaids and I loved and then I found the pattern and my mum offered to make them for me. All the bridesmaids loved them. She did an amazing job, and the girls looked stunning.
Ryan from Shutter Go Click was our photographer. We would both absolutely recommend Ryan to other couples. I was quite nervous about the whole photography thing (I don’t like having photos and just tend to instantly go awkward as soon as someone points a camera at me). This didn’t happen with Ryan, he made us both feel completely relaxed and at ease. All the wedding guests said how great he was and we loved having him part of our day. The photographs are absolutely amazing and are better than we could have ever imagined. We even joked the other day about renewing our vows, just so we could have Ryan photograph it.
I chose to have a brooch bouquet which I bought from a seller on Etsy. I then added a few brooches which belonged to my nan and one which Andy’s grandma, Jean gave me. The bridesmaids also had smaller brooch bouquets made by my sister, Sarah.
The flowers and decorations we provided by the Chimney House. They asked if we’d like any particular flowers or theme but we just said to do what they wanted. I’m glad we did, it looked absolutely amazing!
Place names and cards were made also by my sister, Sarah (which also doubled up as favours). They were small toy dinosaurs spray painted silver with a little name card tied round their neck (both mine and Andy’s favourite film is Jurassic Park!) We also put chocolate dinosaurs in a little bag.
My cousin Stephen did the honour of walking me down the aisle (to Stan by Eminem) as my dad died when I was 14. My sister, Sarah did the ‘father of the bride’ speech, so to speak, and what a speech it was! The event manager of the Chimney House said it was one of the best she’d ever heard. She’s even had a few offers since from our friends’ partners asking if they help write their own best man/groom speeches!
It was really important to me that I did something in memory of my dad so to honour him, I did a video tribute editing clips to the track When the Going Get’s Tough by Billy Ocean, from my childhood with him and the rest of my family and friends right up to the present day. There was some pretty embarrassing stuff on there (me at 15 rapping into the camera, thinking I was the next Eminem and running round the garden naked at five-years-old to name a few) but if he was there to make that speech it was have been 100 times more embarrassing!
People were laughing and crying at the same time! At the end of the video, I ended it with just a clip of me and my dad, walking hand in hand away from the camera which faded to blackness and the words ‘In Loving Memory of Stephen Bingham, Father of the Bride’ came on the screen. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house!
I know for some people they might find it upsetting to do a tribute like this for a close family member on their wedding day, but I’m so glad it, because even if for only five minutes, it felt like his was there with us in the room.
For the wedding breakfast we went for the menu option which was titled, ‘The House Feast’ – and it was exactly that! All the guests loved the food. The menu included shin of local beef braised with Kelham Island ale served with horseradish dumplings and herbed chicken breast and boned chicken thighs with confit garlic poached with peas, spinach and baby carrots.
We left the wine choice up to my mum (both myself and Andy aren’t big wine drinkers) and we also ordered kegs of real ale and larger from the Kelham Island Brewery.
The Chimney House isn’t the kind of venue to have a disco/wedding band so instead we opted to just play our favourite music while we ate.
After the Chimney House some of the wedding party went to The Hop pub in Sheffield where one of my friends, Lauren, had organised a special cornered off area with a private bar. There was a live band on and it was great just to sit and relax after a long day. Lots of our friends who couldn’t make it to the wedding (because of the small numbers) came and others kept popping in on their way to the next bar!
To add a special touch to the day we asked all our family for photos of them on their wedding day and for some of their favourite family photos. We then had a slide show of them playing at the Chimney House on their projector. It really got everyone talking and laughing about old memories.
We also did a ‘first look’ photo on the garden before the ceremony. Andy stood with his best man, Shane, with his back to me while I walked onto the garden followed by my bridesmaids. I’d seen the idea on the internet and thought we’d give it a try. The thought of walking into a room (even with only 40 people) gave me nightmares, so we thought if Andy and I saw each other first, it might calm my nerves a bit. I’m not sure how these things are really meant to go, but as soon as we saw each other, we just burst out laughing!
We would certainly recommend the Chimney House to another couple like us who want an intimate and relaxed reception. From the first enquiry, they were so helpful and did everything they could to make our day perfect.
We both have so many amazing memories from that day. I can’t really remember any of the ceremony apart from trying really, really hard not to faint! I’d been so calm all day and as soon as I heard Dido start the verse of Stan…I lost it. I pretty much ran down the aisle clung on to my cousin’s arm. I can just remember trying really hard to stop my legs from shaking while trying equally as hard to concentrate on what the registrar was saying! If I’d have been asked what the best part of the wedding the following day I’d have said getting through the ceremony in one piece! But now after a few months, it’s a tough one. Different parts were so special in different ways. My sister’s speech, the video, but I think the best part was walking back down the aisle hand in hand with Andy and looking at him to see my husband.
We were planning on a trip to the Maldives for the honeymoon but then Eminem (my childhood hero) announced a US tour four months before the wedding. Without even asking, Andy said, I guess we’re blowing the honeymoon budget on a trip to Detroit then to see Eminem. So we did! We also spent a couple of days over New Year in our favourite place, Berlin.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to go with what you want and don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise. We did our thing and stuck by it (even though we did get a few rolled eyes/weird looks along the way). During the day just take a step back and watch everything that’s going on around you and enjoy it!
Also, don’t leave making your ceremony music playlist until an hour before the ceremony (Andy’s fault!).
June 25th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Having found their perfect wedding venue in Crab Manor, North Yorkshire, today’s couple decided against a set theme and instead added bits and pieces that they liked to the manor’s unusual décor or an individual big day.
Individuality continued throughout the wedding in the bride’s vintage-esque attire, the groom’s tweed getup and the beautiful floral bridesmaid dresses.
There are many elements of this big day that we absolutely love, though one in particular has to be Gemma’s wild bouquet – just stunning!
We think you will all agree, this one is a real beauty!
With images by Brides Up North featured supplier, Helen Russell Photography.
gemma says: We got engaged on 2nd December 2013. Darren took me for lunch at Browns in Newcastle. After our starters Darren started to fidget in his pocket then he pulled the ring out and proposed, I said yes immediately. I can remember thinking though I wished he had waited until after our meal as I couldn’t eat anything else as I was so excited to get back home and tell everyone!
We set the date for 13th February 2015. We decided on that date as the 13th February is the anniversary of when we officially started dating.
Our chosen venue was Crab Manor in Thirsk, we fell in love with how cool and quirky the place was and also the uniqueness of the venue. We always knew a big stately house/hotel wasn’t for us and wanted somewhere everyone would feel comfortable on the big day.
We didn’t wanted to have a theme as such but I have a love for vintage clothing/items so that did play a part in the day, but ultimately we chose to buy whatever we liked. Similarly, we chose not to have a colour scheme as we didn’t want to be limited in what we could buy, we wanted free rein and hoped everything would come together in the end.
My dress was from Amore Brides in Sunderland. I always knew what kind of dress I didn’t want more than what I did want. I met June the owner and pulled out three dresses to try on, as soon as I put the first dress on I knew it was the one. It was the most beautiful lace backless Maggie Sottero dress and it was just me. I felt 100% comfortable so I bought it there and then. I still look at it now and I’m still in love with it.
Darren bought his suit from Leaf in Newcastle. He wanted a tweed suit and fell in love with the first one he saw. His tweed tie was bought online from a shop in Scotland to go with his Dolce and Gabbana shirt. His Jeffrey West shoes were a gift from me for his birthday the year before. Unfortunately Darren’s gran passed away before our wedding. With some of the money he was left he bought a gold pocket watch, so in a sense his gran could be with us on our special day.
Our bridesmaids wore dresses from ASOS. They were for me the perfect dresses and I really liked them straight away. Isabelle my flower girl (niece) wore a beautiful dress from Monsoon with some glitter pumps from John Lewis.
Helen Russell was our photographer on the day. Helen has photographed a few friends’ weddings and I totally love her style and how she captures the perfect moments. I’m not a great fan of posed photos and I knew Helen’s images were mostly natural shots and this was ideal for us.
My flowers were a bit of a gamble as I didn’t really know what I was getting until the morning of the big day. My maid of honour, who flew back from Australia for the wedding, is good friends with Kirsty who co owns Darling and Green, we met up once last summer and I saw some of her work and knew she was the one who I wanted to do my flowers. I was quite laid back about what I wanted and Kirsty totally got my style and I knew she would deliver on the day.
We had a selection of different shaped and sized glass bottles filled with wild flowers for our table decorations from Darling and Green, along with glass bottles I filled with pearls, which we used for our table numbers. I bought a flowery storage box and some mini ‘Mr & Mrs’ bunting and made a box for our cards. The venue is full of bits and bobs so we didn’t need a lot of decorations.
Our wedding favours were retro mix ups in personalized brown paper bags, we put in all of our favourite sweets from our childhood. The children got goody bags full with activities such as colouring in books, puzzles, pens and also disposable cameras, which went down a treat.
We weren’t really fussed on having a wedding cake so we decided on cupcakes made by Lynn, a family friend. They were a huge success and tasted amazing!
We choose a menu that would please everyone; leek and potato soup, beef and vegetables then sticky toffee pudding followed by coffee and the famous Crab Manor chocolate truffles.
For entertainment, we hired a juke box from Crab Manor. As we only had a small wedding of 30 people we didn’t need anything else. Everyone loved dancing away to their favourite tunes. For decoration we also hired a love heart from Coco Luminaire with our names and date of the big day on.
If you are after something different to your normal wedding then choose Crab Manor as the venue is without doubt one of the best places we have stayed in. It offers something different and the staff are amazing, especially John, one of the wedding co-ordinators. The venue is cool and quirky and just has an amazing overall feel. We highly recommend!
My favourite part of the day was the ceremony; being with everyone who we love and care for and being able to share our special day with them.
For our honeymoon we went to Jamaica. We literally went to chill after a busy few months arranging the wedding. The surprises kept on coming though as on our second week we found out I was expecting our first child, due in October!
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be – try to relax and enjoy the experience, as it’s very easy to turn into a bridezilla!
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