May 23rd, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
Editor’s note: We were saddened to wake up this morning to the horrific news of the Manchester arena attack. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families on this dreadful day. We hope that our readers – no matter where you live – all draw your loved ones close for an extra kiss or hug this evening. Love always x
It’s always refreshing to see a bride and groom do things a little differently on their special day. And today’s couple, Alex and Pete, did exactly that.
Firstly, let’s talk about the dress. Forget your classic white, ivory, champagne or cream tones – instead, Alex plumped for a gorgeous bronze gown that perfectly complemented their navy and blush daytime colour scheme.
Gone too were the traditional favours and cake, instead our couple served up a scrumptious selection of desserts and a Mexican themed reception complete with a tasty buffet. But, as Alex reveals, there are a few nods to all things traditional, too – including a vintage convertible car which, we have to confess, has got us dreaming of driving off into the sunset with our veil blowing in the breeze…
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, ER Photography.
alex says: We got engaged in December 2014 in Edinburgh. We went to a cosy whisky bar to escape the rain when Pete surprised me with a beautiful ring!
We got married on 6th August. The 7th was the day we met and sits right between our birthdays so this had always been a special weekend for us.
We tied the knot at St Mary’s Church in Davyhulme, only a two-minute walk from our house. The church is beautiful and we wanted to keep the ceremony as close to home as we could.
We chose a traditional ceremony with a Mexican fiesta theme for our reception. We didn’t want a typical ‘out of the box’ wedding and the theme suited us perfectly – our aim was for everyone to have a great time and celebrate with us. We were imagining a Mexican cantina on a hot summer’s night!
We had our reception at The Grill at 27 in Urmston. Martin and the team were more than accommodating and enthusiastic about letting us decorate the venue whichever way we wanted. The food was fab and the drink was flowing! We can’t thank them enough!
We decided on navy, bronze and blush colours for the daytime part of the wedding, and then bright colours for the evening. We wanted a classic colour scheme that could translate to the evening. The metallic and navy sat great alongside our Mexican theme, too.
March 24th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
It is a truth universally acknowledged that only the most gorgeous weddings grace the pages of Brides Up North. What’s with the Jane Austen? Well, there’s something a little bit Regency-era about today’s real wedding. Perhaps it’s the understated elegance of the bride’s Phase Eight Hermione dress (that cape!), or maybe it’s Pendrell Hall’s stunning architecture and sculpted gardens.
Jennifer and her dashing Mr Darcy (aka David) left Pride and Prejudice behind, however, when they also opted for vibrant colours, confetti balloons, pom poms, giant Jenga and an industrial-sized bubble machine (yes, really) to ensure a fun-filled day for young and old alike.
Period venue, classic gown, children’s games and wacky photo booth? Trust us. It really works.
With photography by Juliet Lemon.
jennifer says: We got engaged during a trip away for my birthday in 2013 to Snowdonia, Wales. It was organised by David. We stayed in a beautiful B&B with views of sheep and mountains, and the day after my birthday we climbed Snowdon. The heavy snow and weather meant we could only get as far as Glas Lyn (the lake beneath the summit), where we stopped for a lunch break practically up to our knees in snow. He then surprised me by getting down on one knee with a totally perfect aquamarine and diamond ring. Of course, I said yes!
We got married on 15th May 2015. The date had a nice symmetry to it and meant we had a shot at a sunny wedding. Luckily, we got it!
Our venue was Pendrell Hall, Codsall Wood (near Wolverhampton). It is close to both our parents’ homes and lots of friends and family so we went along to view the venue not long after we got engaged. We fell in love with the grounds, and the beautiful interior (even though it was still being renovated and wasn’t finished!) We knew we could trust the team at Pendrell to finish the works to the high standard of the rest of the venue, so we booked. They also work with Jenkinsons Caterers.
The overall idea for a theme was ‘relaxed’ – we didn’t want anything too formal. We fancied some wild flowers dotted around and some loosely arranged floral arrangements, and then tea lights, fairy lights, confetti balloons and garden games were quickly decided on. We just really wanted people to have fun and get to know each other.
Our colours were mainly ivory and lilac, forget-me-not blue (bridesmaids’ dresses) and pale pink (e.g. pompoms) dotted around – the colours complemented the venue and are our favourites!
I chose a Phase Eight dress called Hermione, from a couple of seasons ago. I fell in love with the Phase Eight range last year when I was looking and the Hermione dress just felt wonderful to wear. It’s quite heavy (all the beading!) but almost slinky too, and I loved the cape (I’m quite conscious of my arms!) It wasn’t too expensive either, and spending less meant I could spend more on shoes and my hair! My hairband was from June Ellen, shoes from Rainbow, my hairdo was by Cute Hair (Wolverhampton), nails by my mother (a nail artist, handily) and I did my own makeup. My mini-birdcage veil was from LilyBella.
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July 20th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
The bride from this morning’s real wedding has lots of words of wisdom for you ladies in the planning stages, so have a sit down with a comforting cuppa and prepare to take note.
Organising their big day in just six months, bride and groom Emma and Dan, decided on a relaxed occasion for their family and friends that would also be pretty and fun. Finding tuned-in suppliers to help their vision become reality, Emma described the rustic feel she wanted to create and left it to the experts, who well and truly delivered.
This left Emma and Dan time to concentrate on nailing the other key areas, such as catering and entertainment, plus their attire. Can you believe Emma’s stunningly detailed dress is from the high street?! Us neither!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor James Tracey Photography.
emma says: We got engaged in November2015 in New York. I had bought a trip to New York for Dan’s 30thBirthday in July. Dan had decided this was where he was going to propose and in the months leading up he had sourced and designed my engagement ring through a family friend – Barnard’s Jewellers. We had decided to spend the day exploring central park and thought it would be fun to hire a rowing boat on Central Park lake. Whilst out on the boat Dan proposed. It was very lovely and a total surprise! We celebrated with a bottle of Prosecco in the boat house.
Once we had got engaged we knew we wanted to get married the next year. We started to look at some venues in the north as Dan is from Yorkshire and I am from the North West. We were really flexible and although I had a rustic theme in my head we were open to what that looked like.
In the end we chose to marry at East Riddlesden Hall, West Yorkshire, which is a National Trust site. I had wanted a rustic feel to our wedding so we had looked at both barns and marquees but when we looked at East Riddlesden we loved the set up and the grounds, having some outdoor open space was important to us. The barn itself was also really pretty, I loved the lights and rustic feel. Although we went to view the venue on a cold wet day in December I could see that it was the perfect location. When we met the wedding team and East Riddlesden, not only were they lovely and full of enthusiasm but we couldn’t believe how much support we would have from them, not only the day, but the run up too.
Our wedding date was Friday 13thMay 2016. East Riddlesden said they had a cancellation and had availability for that date so we just decided to go for it. Some people may have been a bit suspicious of Friday 13th but it didn’t really bother us.
We didn’t have a specific wedding theme, but I’d say our style was rustic and relaxed. I didn’t want a wedding were I would feel uncomfortable, I just wanted it to be a fun day that was an extension of us. We knew we wanted everyone to have fun and that played a part in choosing aspects of our day. We didn’t want anything too formal for the wedding party and so the colours and style for suits and dresses happened quite organically as did the decoration and flowers. The venue really spoke for itself and so all we had to really do was enjoy it.
I really wanted to keep the wedding very soft and romantic, so we went for a neutral colour palette, picking soft blush pinks and creams.
I really didn’t have an idea of what dress I wanted and so was really open to the style. I wanted it to be in keeping with the venue so I knew it wouldn’t be too traditional. I had seen the Jenny Packham Esme and fell in love with the style but couldn’t really justify the price tag. I tried similar styles and found the Phase Eight Hope dress. When I tried the dress I knew this was the one. To make it feel a little more personal had the back altered, lowering the internal panel, the straps shortened and a bustle fitted.
To keep with the vintage feel of the dress I opted for a Juliet cap veil, which I felt suited the dress perfectly. I had the veil made and loved the fact that I could take it off later in the evening but still have the head band in place. I wore Jenny Packham No1 shoes and decided to go with a blush colour to match the bridesmaids.
My make up was done by Lauren Sally Make Up.
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April 15th, 2016 | Julia Braime
Every couple is different when it comes to planning their wedding and every bride is different when it comes to picking their dress. There is no rule book to follow on how much the overall budget for the wedding should be, or how it is to be split between the different elements of the day. And while for some, the venue and food will be top of the list, for others it’s the honeymoon, entertainment or attire that gets the majority of the cash.
In terms of the bride’s spend on her dress it may be the case that she’s been saving on the side of the main budget to buy her dream dress, or that this is something her parents have said that they would like to contribute to. Whatever the case, the dress ‘allowance’ generally comes down to the bride’s mind-set: ‘you only do it once – spend on an amazing designer gown’ or ‘it’s only one day – save with a high street dress’.
So today on the blog we’re debating if ladies should be booking appointments at bridal boutiques filled with fabulous designer gowns once that ring is firmly on her finger, or if it’s worth giving the high street options a go for a pretty gown at the fraction of the price?
(All gowns pictured in post body by ASOS. This is not a sponsored post, we just think they are pretty!)
rachel says: high street happy
Once upon a time I would never have suggested a bride look to the high street to find her wedding gown but now I would say it’s certainly worth considering.
We’ve seen the likes of BHS, Monsoon and Phase Eight releasing wedding dress collections (and making a good job of it too) and now more stores are jumping on the bridal bandwagon by launching their own big day collections – most recently fashion giants ASOS and H&M.
This means there is now more choice than ever for brides-to-be when it comes to selecting a gown at the lower end of the price scale, with high street designs starting from as little as £100 – leaving lots more in the spending pot for the shoes and accessories!
And just like the designers, the high street are taking notice of brides’ desire for individuality and so you won’t just find a one-style-suits-all approach within the collections. Instead there are options for the boho bride, the fashionista, the style statement maker and fans of vintage. Just this week Self-Portrait has launched its first bridal collection within selected Selfridge’s stores (and it includes some real beauties – some of which are shown in our Gallery below). With modern and rock n roll influences, the brand has created “a contemporary capsule of affordable, timeless wedding dresses for the ‘untraditional bride’”. Sounds good to me!
I’m also bowled over by Needle & Thread’s swoon-worthy bridal collection with dreamy designs varying from slinky floor-length gowns, to modern separates and mini dresses, not to mention ridiculously pretty tulle, almost ballerina, style creations.
One of the main reservations of buying bridal from the high street can be the thought of missing out on the boutique experience – and while having specialist on hand to help you pick a dream dress is a hugely valuable service – there’s nothing to stop you creating your own special shopping experience at home or on the high street. Either make a day out of it with your leading ladies, factoring in time for a lush lunch and a champagne stop (or two) on the agenda. Or, order online and invite your nearest and dearest to help you pick over an evening of fizz, canapes and cupcakes (surely that’s an ideal job to delegate to your bridesmaids). Who knows, you might even be able to afford to keep more than just the one dress!
julia says: undoubtedly designer
We’ve featured all sorts of amazing frocks on these pretty pages, from vintage finds to high street bargains to couture masterpieces and the one thing that they had in common was that the bride felt like a million dollars in them and they all looked bloody beautiful.
I also think it’s wonderful that there is now a range of fashion forward options at varying price points for today’s bride and would never judge a friend for choosing a more affordable option, but would I pick up my wedding dress during a high street haul? Not a chance!
I’ve been lucky enough to sit on the front row of some of the world’s most prestigious bridal events and work alongside some of the most talented designers in the business. What makes these labels successful is the unbelievable attention to detail that they pay to every gown, every sequin and every client.
What makes these dresses worth saving for and spending on is the whole ‘dream dress’ experience. It’s in the exciting trips to the boutique or atelier with your loved ones; the anticipation (and pop of Champagne) at every fitting; the rustle of tulle in a big, starched box; the million hand sewn pearl buttons; the bespoke accessories and additions and the perfectly steamed silk chiffon.
Not only that, it’s the exquisite fabrics, perfect cuts and delicate boning that nip, tuck, lift and skim in all the right places. These gowns really will make you look the best you ever have, and I think that’s worth paying for.
On your wedding day you want to feel special, beautiful, unique and individual, not just one of thousands of off the rail identikit Saturday shoppers. Your wedding day fashion can be flash, but it should never be fast!
I love some of the most recent designs hitting the high street and featured here today, but I still wouldn’t give up the couture experience over bagging a stylish bargain.
To be honest, I’ve never seen a clearer cut need for a two dress wedding day… some of these numbers would look amazing on the dance floor! Pass the credit card.
what you said on social…
Elizabeth says: “I’ve dreamt of getting married since being a little girl and so have saved up for my dream dress. Going to the boutiques was an amazing and unforgettable experience so for me it would have to be designer every time!”
Jemma says: “We’re doing our wedding on a £4,000 budget (excluding the honeymoon) and so I’ve decided to buy from the high street. I’ve fallen in love with a lace Monsoon gown with scallop detail which is just under £300. I think it could be ‘the one’.”
Fay says: “I’ve already picked a designer gown and enjoyed every minute of the shopping experience. However it’s quite a voluminous dress and after recently seeing a real wedding on a blog where a bride chose a slim-line high street gown to change into for the evening do, I’m tempted to do the same.”
November 16th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
If you’re craving some pretty on this Monday morning then you’ve come to the right place, as today we’re sharing Hayley and Ross’ gorgeous celebration, complete with pastel wedding colours and handpicked style blooms.
As well as the setting being stunning, so too are the bride and groom with Ross opting for a slightly unusual bottle green suit and Hayley wearing a slim-line vintage style gown with exquisite detailing.
Above all we love that the day is beautifully styled but has a very chilled out vibe to it too – well until the reception that is when it appears some rather competitive moves went down on the dancefloor!
With images by Knot Just Pics.
hayley says: We had been together for eight years and were travelling around Australia and New Zealand visiting family and friends when we got engaged. Ross’ mum lives in New Zealand and she planned a big trip for Ross, myself, her and her husband around the South Island. We stayed in lots of small out of the way places, one of which was called ‘Barb’s Bach’ in the Marlborough Sounds (A bach is a holiday cottage). It was a fair drive from anywhere so really peaceful and remote. Ross and I were sleeping in a ‘sleep out’ which is essentially a spare bedroom down a walkway in the garden. Ross is not an early riser so I was getting suspicious of him getting up so early to make coffee in the mornings. Little did I know that these were failed attempts to get the ring from his mother’s handbag where it was safely hidden! Eventually he got down on one knee next to the bed and proposed. It was a total shock, having been together for so long, I just did not see it coming!
Our wedding date was slap bang in the middle of the school summer holidays as I am a primary school teacher. I needed both time to sort things out and then time to go on a honeymoon before school started again.
Ross is from South Africa, I’m from Shropshire and we live in London, so no matter where we got married, people would have to travel from somewhere! In the end, we decided on Shropshire as it was the most affordable option for people having to travel. It is also one of the most beautiful, unspoilt places in the UK (although I may be a little biased!). Our venue was somewhere that I had often been to with my family for special occasion dinners although it took us ages to think of it as a wedding venue. We had been looking for places with accommodation and had no luck. During a family Sunday lunch we had a quick look around The Mytton and Mermaid Hotel and it was pretty perfect! Coincidentally my grandfather had booked my parents a room there on their wedding night but there was a mix up with the booking and they didn’t stay. Thankfully my parents were able to get over it – 36 years later!
October 14th, 2015 | Julia Braime
The rustic wedding inspiration continues on the blog this afternoon with Laura and Sean’s well styled big day.
Choosing The Ashes country barn as setting for their celebrations, Laura came up with a sweet & sugary pastel colour palette to complement the chosen country vintage wedding theme. This worked a treat as all elements of the wedding came together perfectly, from the main party’s stunning attire to the elegant décor and beautiful blooms!
With images by Kate Scott Photography.
laura says: We got engaged during a three week trip to Thailand in December 2013. Sean managed to get the ring through customs, a 13 hour flight, and a tuk tuk ride around the city, without me seeing it in his bag! The evening we arrived, Sean dropped down onto one knee (after romantically kicking a table out of the way!) and proposed on our balcony overlooking the river while a band was playing Christmas songs below! It was perfect – and I cried!
We got married on 15th May 2015. We chose this date as we preferred the thought of a fresh spring wedding, and were also willing to wait 18 months for our perfect venue.
While we were still in Thailand we decided that we wanted a relaxed wedding in a rustic setting. The Ashes country barn, in Endon popped up several times in our search and looked stunning. We fell in love with it instantly and although we looked around a few other venues in the area, they didn’t come close to The Ashes.
The Catholic church we chose for the ceremony was St John the Baptist Church in Alton, in a stunning setting overlooking Alton Forest and Alton Castle.
Our chosen ‘theme’ was mostly rustic, vintage with pastel colours. This just seemed to suit our personalities and it all came together that way, rather than being a planned theme. From the start of the planning we were certain that we wanted a relaxed atmosphere, which also sits well with a rustic setting.
For the colour scheme I had imagined pale pinks but knew that Sean wouldn’t wear pink in his tie or suit! I also loved the idea of having four different coloured bridesmaid dresses so I ended up choosing a pastel palette of blue, green, yellow and pink.
After many trips to various dress shops with my patient mum and bridesmaids, I went for a mix of a classic but princess style dress. It was covered in fine lace and was fitted satin on top but with a massive skirt and train! I loved so many dresses that I had tried on, and almost bought three different styles before I found ‘the one’! The Wedding Dress Shop in Wimbledon was amazing and the team there tailored my dress to exactly what I wanted – I added straps, with a keyhole back, for the church, which I then removed for the rest of the day. I also added a lace up back rather than buttons, as well as a sparkly belt and headband for a bit of glamour! I almost didn’t wear a veil but on my last fitting I tried one on and it really finished the look and made me feel like a bride. On the day my hair was done by Caro Millington and Fiona Brunt did my makeup.
Sean wore a blue with fine white pin stripe traditional morning suit. The groomsmen all wore the same as him.
The bridesmaids’ dresses were from In One Clothing. They were multiway dresses so my gorgeous bridesmaids could choose how to wear them. We also went for four different colours. I kept this a surprise from all the guests and Sean (which was so tricky but worth it) so it was a real ‘wow’ on the day.
We chose classic vintage cars for our transport; a Beauford for myself and my dad on the way to the church, and Sean and I after the ceremony, and a seven-seater Imperial Laudette for the bridesmaids and my mum. These we hired from A Perfect Day Wedding Cars.
As we live in London we wanted to bring a touch of the city to our country wedding and organised a London Routemaster bus to take all our guests from the hotel to the church and then from the church to the venue. Although it struggled up the hills and down the windy roads it looked great outside the barn venue!
Kate Scott was our photographer. We found her through The Ashes website recommendations. We met her when we were booking her parents guesthouse for Sean’s family and got on instantly. Kate’s style of natural, romantic photography was exactly what we were looking for and we weren’t disappointed! She didn’t spend hours making us stand or pose for photos which is what we’d been warned of by friends, so it never felt like we were missing out on our wedding.
We also hired a videographer pair from Adorable Moments. We haven’t watched this back yet as we are waiting for our first anniversary, however the highlights are stunning, and are such a great way to remember the day.
Blossoms florist in Leek did our flowers for the day. I wasn’t sure what I wanted and showed Lucy the florist, a million pictures and somehow she and my mum (with her amazing knowledge of flowers) came up with exactly what we wanted and they fitted in with the rest of the wedding perfectly! I loved the bouquets for myself and the bridesmaids, filled with subtle ivory peonies, ivory freesia, pale pink sweet avalanche roses, pink lisianthus, tanacetum daisies, eucalyptus greenery handtied in a natural, country garden style. She also added a few sparkly brooches in mine to make it stand out.
Lucy filled birdcages we’d sourced with flowers matching the bouquets, for the table centrepieces and decorated the church with delicate pew ends and bay trees with trailing ivory ribbon bows, displayed outside the entrance of the church.
Further décor included painted reused crates to display the order of the day, and wine bottles to show the table plan and table names. We had rustic bunting inside and outside the barn, rustic jugs for the bouquets, and jars wrapped with lace.
We also had an alternative guestbook – we always forget to sign the guest book at weddings, or write the same old thing. So we had a wooden frame made and the bridesmaids took little wooden hearts around to each table for the guests to sign or write a little note on, which were then put into the frame for us to remember!
Instead of favours we made madlib cards for the wedding guests to fill out. We weren’t sure how these would go down and if people would forget about them, but they were a great hit and we laughed a lot reading the stories and ‘advice’ the next day!
My family has a massive sweet tooth, so a showstopper cake was must! Francesca at The Cheshire Cat Cake Company didn’t disappoint with a stunning cake; four tier high, draped with lace and flowers in the colours of the bridesmaid dresses.
For the wedding breakfast we started with fun canapés including Staffordshire oatcakes, finger sausages and sweet scones, which all disappeared pretty quickly. We then served prosecco and beer during the drinks reception – the option of having beer was a bit hit with the men!
For the main wedding breakfast we had a ‘host a roast’ where we chose a carver for each table by handing out funny aprons and chef hats. This was great fun and really included our guests in the day. We would definitely recommend this to anyone getting married.
To provide the entertainment we had a band called One Eye On The Wedding Cake, booked through Warble Entertainment. We loved them instantly and watched their videos on YouTube. They learnt our first dance song and kept the dance floor full all night! They played a mix of music which suited all our guests.
We would definitely recommend The Ashes to other couples following our wedding. Paula was our wedding coordinator and kept everything on track, however all the staff were amazing and were so quick to respond to my many questions by email!
My favourite part of the wedding was dancing all night! All the important stuff was done, all our hard work had paid off, and there was nothing left to do but dance with my friends and family…and my husband, of course! Sean’s favourite part was finishing his speech and enjoying a whiskey with his best man!
Following the wedding we spent two nights in a little cottage near to The Ashes (Middle Cottage). This was perfect and allowed us time to relax and enjoy reminiscing about the wedding before jetting off! Our honeymoon was a road trip up the west coast on America, starting in Las Vegas. We then hired a convertible Mustang to drive to Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, Big Sur National Park, and San Francisco. We then finished our honeymoon off with a few nights in Miami.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to think about how to include your guests in the day – the madlib cards and funny aprons worked well for us! We tried not to get too worried about tradition and changed things where they suited us, for example we had a round top table as we wanted a fun atmosphere and for everyone to be talking together.
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