Charlotte Balbier

forest of feelings. a glittering winter wedding at sandburn hall – jade & carl

March 15th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

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Today on the blog, we’re being swept away by a captivating woodland themed wedding on the outskirts of York.

Newlyweds Jade and Carl decided on a winter’s wedding at the beautiful Sandburn Hall. The surrounding forest provided the most romantic of backdrops to their fabulous wedding photography, complemented by the venue’s rustic interior.

With pops of berry tones, log centre pieces, faux fur to keep the bridal party cosy and a pair of wellies for the blushing bride – this wedding really showcases the best of the British outdoors! Jade talks us through their special day.

With images by Photography 34

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jade says: We got engaged on 3rd August 2013. We went for a picnic to Dalby Forest, a place we often go to. After our picnic, we went for a walk around the lake and Carl got down on one knee and proposed!

Our wedding date was set for 18th December 2015. We loved the idea of a winter wedding and Christmas seemed like the best time as there are many people are already celebrating. Plus, the thought of it being cold outside, with everyone warm and cosy inside, really appealed to us. It was also a guaranteed way not to be disappointed by the weather!

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We got married at a beautiful church in our village called St Laurence’s. My mum and dad were married here and my grandpa was buried there, so it has special meaning for me. My husband, Carl, had grown up in the village most of his life too, so it was an obvious choice.

Following on from this we had our reception at Sandburn Hall near York. We chose this venue as we loved all the exposed oak beams and the huge windows. It gave it an outdoorsy feel even though we were inside. Without any decoration, the room looked beautiful and overlooked a forest and golf course.

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We went with a woodland theme for our wedding based on our love of being outdoors.

We chose navy and berry colours as these felt wintery, especially the lovely berry colours which were incorporated into the flowers and men’s ties.

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I wore a Maggie Sottero gown from The Wedding Room in Scarborough. The straps were embellished with Swarovski crystals all the way round the low scoop open back and under the bust. The dress was loose fitted, with a train and a down to the floor veil which framed the dress beautifully.

The groom wore a navy wool suit from Next. As for the bridesmaids, they wore navy floor length Adrianna Papell gowns with embellishment on the chest area. The best men wore the same navy suits as Carl. Meanwhile, my dad and brothers wore kilts which were berry coloured, as they are Scottish.

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real wedding recap winter 2014: all things bright and beautiful for a colourful wedding in the city – katy & tony

December 23rd, 2014 | Rachel Parry

Merry Christmas! Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break for the festive season, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely.

Usual service will recommence on Monday 5th January 2015 (with some big news!) but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year.  Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks for 2014.

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This bright and beautiful, colourful wedding is guaranteed to inject a big boost of colour and happiness into your day.

Creative couple Tony and Katy tied the knot in the super city of Sheffield, starting off with their ceremony in the stunning Town Hall before moving onto the nearby Workstation for a fabulous afternoon tea and evening celebrations.

To really make the day their own they included lots of vibrant decorations, quirky homemade touches and beautiful blooms, all of which was captured perfectly by their talented photographer.

With images by Photography34

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katy says: We got engaged on New Year’s Day 2013. We had been to a friend’s New Year’s Eve party and Tony had taken the ring, but he couldn’t find the right moment when we were both alone.  The following morning we both woke up early and Tony asked me what I was doing for the rest of my life as he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me and then produced my beautiful ring! I cried a little and then called the world.

We set the date for Saturday May 24th 2014. We wanted to get married over a Bank Holiday as we had lots of guests who would be travelling a distance so we were keen to make sure they had plenty of time to party and recover.

I think we must have viewed almost every venue in Yorkshire, but we couldn’t find anything which would allow us to create the different look and feel we were hoping for within our budget. We are both from Sheffield and love to city so when we found the Workstation which is part of the Showroom Cinema and met Mark the sales manager, it ticked all the boxes. He was so accommodating and because the venue is an exhibition centre he allowed us to dress it exactly how we wanted. We originally wanted to get married at the same place as our reception but this was not possible at the Workstation so we started to look for somewhere close by. We had walked past Sheffield Town Hall hundreds of times but had never been inside. Once we did we were blown away by how beautiful the building was, especially the fabulous staircase.

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Very early on in our wedding planning I discovered Pinterest, and began pinning ideas to a mood board. We knew the venue was going to need a lot of dressing so we decided to hire someone to help with this. Jennie from Hansley Beard came highly recommended by our venue and she did a fabulous job of keeping me calm, my ideas focused and she planned the design to the finest detail, we could not have done it without her.

We knew we wanted to do things differently and we wanted the whole feel of the day to be bright, colourful, fun and homemade. We both like colour – our house is full of it. We originally found some bright material which we liked at The Range store, we used this as the basis for our colour scheme, they had paper, buttons etc all in the same collection which was great. Bright coloured ribbons and buttons then became the main theme throughout the wedding. We didn’t want a traditional wedding so decided that lots of bright colours would really help create a different atmosphere. We are so happy that we went with these colours in the end as our wedding day turned out to be raining and gloomy but the colours helped keep everyone bright and cheery!

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I always knew that I wanted a fitted lace dress and I fell in love with Pippa, a Sassi Holford dress which was well over my budget.  I searched the internet and to my complete amazement I found Silk Bridal in Litchfield selling a sample of this dress in my size. I would highly recommend this bridal shop – they made my wedding dress experience so memorable. Helen, the seamstress, could not do enough to help with my alterations and every time we visited the shop I was made to feel just as special as the last. My friend Serena, very kindly lent me her beautiful Jenny Packham headband for my something borrowed. I’m actually selling my dress it is currently listed on eBay and preloved. Although I will be very sad to see this dress go, it would give me great pleasure for another bride to have a chance to wear a fabulous Sassi Holford dress.

Tony wore a bright blue tailored three-piece suit from Moss Bros in Meadowhall, homemade emerald green tie and shoes from Ted Baker.

I knew that I didn’t want traditional bridesmaid dresses or anything too formal; I wanted something that they would wear again so they wore emerald green maxi dresses from Mango which were accessorised with belts from H&M.  The best man wore a bright blue suit from Moss Bros and our page boy, my nephew, wore a little navy suit from Next, a homemade emerald green bow tie and some white Converse boots which he loved!

Tony’s mum’s friend made all the bouquets and button holes. I picked the flowers for these, along with the flowers for the venue, from the Parkway Flower Market in Sheffield. I had a hand-tied bouquet with bright flowers including Gerberas,Ranunculus, Gentian and Craspedia. My bridesmaids’ bouquets were similar, just a bit smaller. All the bouquets had ribbons hanging from the stems.

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We both share a love for VWs, especially retro split screen camper vans and we knew that we couldn’t arrive any other way. We hired the stunning ‘Johnny’ from Something old Something New. As our venues were close together we were able to use the same van for the whole wedding party.

We were let down by a friend who was originally planning on doing our photography, very close to the wedding day. Tony at Photography34 was recommended to us and to our delight he was available on our date. Choosing Tony was the best decision we made, after getting married of course! He had a very relaxed, natural style and went above and beyond. He made us, and our guests, feel relaxed all day. Our guests noted how hard he worked on the day. Most importantly he captured all the detail, fun and laughter of the day.

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When we started planning we decided that we wanted things to be as personal as possible and make as much ourselves as we could. Having ‘Brown Owl’ as my mother-in-law-to-be made this a lot easier. Jennie from Hansley Beard helped us to create our desired look with lots of help from our bridesmaids, best man and friends. We had homemade bunting, pom poms, table numbers, seating plan, card box, paper covered jars as centre pieces. We also used fairy lights to decorate the mezzanine. We had bright coloured ribbons hanging from the back of all the chairs and a ribbon drop which cascaded from the mezzanine to the dance floor. I went to the Parkway Flower Market with Jennie, other than Gerberas which are my favourite flowers I wasn’t that particular, it was mainly the colours I was looking for. We incorporated all the flowers from the bouquets as well as Golden Glory, lime green and yellow bloom Chrysanthemums. Jennie then arranged all the flowers for the venue and centre pieces, and made these look great, she truly was amazing!

Tony’s mum and I made homemade rhubarb jam for our favours. The rhubarb was home grown in Tony’s dad’s allotment.

I love baking so the wedding cake was very important. We had a four-tiered cake covered with bright coloured hearts. The actual cake was striped coloured Victoria sponge with butter cream and made by Gemma at Iced Gems. We had two wooden birds with matching hearts as cake toppers which we got from Etsy.

We didn’t want to have a formal three-course wedding meal so we decided to have afternoon tea with prosecco for our wedding breakfast.  In the evening we had pie and peas with plenty of Henderson’s relish!

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The entertainment was really important to us, we wanted a big party with all our friends and family, and I love to dance. For our ceremony we had a friend, Rebecca Guy sing and play her guitar. As a wedding present my parents got Paul Pashley, Sheffield’s answer to Michael Bublé, to sing at our evening reception. Not only does he have an amazing voice, he was a little bit of eye candy for the ladies. We then had a DJ who played us into the early hours.

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We did include quite a few special touches in our big day. Tony’s mum made a very cute ring cushion for Reuben, our page boy, in the same material as the bunting and sewed buttons all over it, he was very proud of his special job.

We hired some beautiful vintage crockery from Jameson’s Tearoom for the afternoon tea, and one of the highlights was their teacup glasses which we served the prosecco in.

We chose big illuminated ‘LOVE’ letters from Typical Type as a backdrop to our dance floor, and our homemade photo booth and they were the talk of all our guests. Once we had decided on the letters it helped us decide on our first dance – L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole sang by Paul Pashley.

We both share a love of sweets, so a sweet table was a must. We brought in our theme by laying the table with ribbons, we used the same paper we had used for the centre pieces for the sweet labels and homemade pin wheels, and then had bright coloured paper fans as the backdrop to the table.

I found a finger print poster tree from Etsy which was a wonderful alternative to a guest book. Our guests added their fingerprints as ‘leaves’ to the tree and wrote their names. We now have this framed and it acts as a daily reminder of our special day and the guests we shared it with.

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My favourite part of the wedding day came at the end of our first dance. Jennie, who had helped us to design our wedding day, had arranged with our guests to drop all the off cuts from the ribbons from the mezzanine above the dance floor. This was a total surprise and the only thing throughout the day which we had not planned for. This was an amazing moment which Tony, our photographer, captured perfectly and we have used one of these images for our thank you cards.

We went on honeymoon two days after or wedding; we spent two days is Dubai and eight in the Maldives. Dubai was very hot and we packed in a lot within the two days; tours of the city and a dessert safari. Then the Maldives, which was absolute paradise, was the total opposite to Dubai, quiet and relaxing, which was exactly what we needed after the wedding.

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My advice to other Brides Up North would be to do what makes you happy and have the day that you want, not what others expect of you. That is so important. You want to look back on your day and know that you had it exactly how you wanted it. It doesn’t matter if this doesn’t follow traditions or you think people won’t like your ideas, as long as you do, that’s all that matters. Tony’s advice would be at some point during the wedding breakfast, to go around each table and speak with your guests and thank them for coming, as it’s a very busy day and you don’t get chance to spend very much time with anyone. Our collective advice is to make sure you both take time together to have a few moments to take everything in as the day will go past so fast.

It rained for the most of our day, but like Louis Armstrong sang, we didn’t care what the weather man said, when the weatherman said it was raining as you didn’t hear us or anyone else complaining!

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radiant. a handsome wedding in North Lincolnshire – pete & jenn

December 11th, 2014 | Rachel Parry

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Today’s newlyweds Pete and Jenn not only share the names of one of my all-time favourite onscreen couples (Cold Feet fans will know what I’m talking about) but they also share my love for a vibrant wedding palette and wonderful wild blooms.

I absolutely adore Jenn’s wedding attire and styling, from her cute tea length dress and skyscraper something blue shoes, to her fabulous bouquet and gorgeous hair do. And the lads sure scrub up well too! Beautiful, just beautiful!

So forget the gales blowing outdoors and let yourself drift away into this incredibly classy, colourful celebration of love.

With images by Photography34

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pete says: We got engaged at home in February 2011. It was just a normal day at home but that’s what was important to us.

We set the date for August 2, 2014. It was a special date to us as it was the eighth anniversary of when we first met.

Bardney Hall in Barton on Humber, North Lincolnshire, was our chosen wedding venue. We picked it as it gave us a blank canvas to do with what we wanted and the setting was well suited to our theme. The home owner and staff were all very caring too, which made us very comfortable.

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Our colour scheme was blue and orange – Jenn’s choice of vibrant colours, which she then built the theme of the day around. Jenn also made all the decorations, with a little help from me and the wedding party.

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Jenn designed the bridesmaids’ dresses that were then specially made for the big day by Bonita of Chanterlands in Hull.

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Jenn’s dress was from Elite Bridal in Hull. It was a simple backless tea length dress with a boat neck and diamante brooch on the waist in ivory satin. She knew she wanted a shorter dress as she’s only wee and she also wanted to wear statement shoes as her something blue.

I wore a blue suit from Slaters Menswear in Hull, along with a white shirt, burnt orange accessories and tan shoes and belt. The groomsmen wore the same.

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Holyhocks in Hull put together our wedding flowers which were a selection of vibrant blue and orange flowers, including Scottish thistle to honour Jenn’s family and home.

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Our photographer was Tony Wilson of Photography34. We would highly recommend him. He provides a really excellent service and his stunning pictures speak for themselves.

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Extra decorations on the day included bunting handmade by Jenn and her mum. Jenn also made our table decorations, wedding stationery and table plan, incorporating the bunting theme. I made hanging orange and blue decorations and we had more flowers provided by the venue.

For favours we gave our guests vinyl records with a message on a label from me and Jenn. These also doubled up as place settings on the tables.

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For our wedding day meal we had barbecue food served straight from the grill in the gardens with wine and deserts. It was provided by 2chefs Catering of Beverley, East Yorkshire, who provided a really amazing service. We would highly recommend them!

We chose this style of food as we love to host at home by having friends over for barbecues. We also had cocktails served as welcome drinks and kept them coming throughout the day.

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We designed the cake following theme of wedding. It was a blue, white and orange, three-tier creation made by Kalou’s Cups and Cakes in Barton on Humber.

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To entertain our guests we had vintage garden games, which were enjoyed by both the children and adults. Later in the evening we had a disco in the marquee.

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For us the whole day was amazing – we couldn’t possibly pick a favourite part.

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We followed up our wedding with a honeymoon in Dalyan, Turkey. We stayed at Villa Saadet which was kindly offered to us as a wedding gift from the best man and his family who own the villa. It’s a really beautiful place and we highly recommend it to anyone wanting to visit Turkey. It was a very relaxing week – one which we will remember forever!

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Our top tip to other Brides (and grooms) Up North would be to prepare everything in advance and always have a back-up plan! We got caught out 24 hours before the wedding as a supplier went bust. We wouldn’t want anyone else to go through that. Fortunately we have some contacts that helped us out – life savers!

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the great british wed off. a colourful wedding at Scarborough’s seaside – fiona & sam

November 27th, 2014 | Rachel Parry

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Today’s real wedding kicks-off with an incredibly romantic and festive engagement which is perfect as we’re soon to begin the big Christmas countdown with the help of our advent calendars (some things you are never too old for).

Sam and Fiona agreed on a laid back seaside wedding set around a cute afternoon tea during the day and a rocking party in the evening.

I love that Fiona was brave enough to shun tradition and work a blush pink dress on the aisle, which she looked fabulous in. Not to be left out, the guys also projected some colour with their daring but dashing sky blue bow ties.

So grab your bucket and spade as we journey to the maritime town of Scarborough for Sam and Fiona’s big day.

With images by Photography34

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fiona says: I was eight months pregnant with our first child when we got engaged. It was our first Christmas in our first ‘family home’. We set about putting the Christmas tree up on a snowy Saturday afternoon, when Sam announced that he had a special bauble to put the tree. He presented me with a gold gift box tied with red ribbon, and I opened it to find a glass bauble inside. I took it out of the box and realised there was a message engraved on it so I looked closer, and in the meantime Sam got down on one knee. The message on the bauble said “You are the love of my life. Will you marry me?” Of course, I said yes, and the glass bauble has pride of place on our Christmas tree every year.

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We chose 26th July 2014 for our wedding day – firstly as it wasn’t during the World Cup, but mainly as it was the anniversary of my beloved Nana’s death in 2009. She was my everything, and after a lot of thought we chose this day so as we could turn a sad day in to a happy day for the family.

We married at St Mark’s Church, Scarborough. My parents literally live over the road from the church and it held a lot of happy childhood memories, including me attending dancing lessons in the church hall every Saturday. Both our daughters were christened there also, so it seemed only right that we be married there too.

For the wedding reception, we decided on Betton Farm, East Ayton. Initially attracted by the love of their afternoon tea, I fell in love with the venue’s scenery and the relaxed vibe. We weren’t restricted to just one area, and that was a huge selling point for me. We had the marquee, the main building and the terraces so people could sit in the thick of it or sit where it was a little more quiet and idyllic.

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There was no theme in particular, we wanted a relaxed wedding. We know how hard it is with two small children to sit down for a three-course meal, so we took the whole element of that away and provided our guests with a traditional afternoon tea so as to keep the whole event laid back.

The most important thing was that the people we loved the most could share our happiness with us.

When it came to styling, I was inspired by The Great British Bake Off, which featured an array of colours set in a marquee in the country. I wanted pastel colours, which could be mismatched to create a beautiful pallet.

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In my head I wanted a simple, lace style wedding dress. After visiting a number of bridal shops, I made an appointment at Wedding Belles of Scarborough. I picked out a few dresses and after a discussion with the owner, Jackie, she asked if I would consider wearing a pink dress. I said yes, purely to keep my options open and mainly not wanting to appear rude. After trying on half a dozen dresses, the pink dress was next. I nearly said no, but once I stepped in to the gown I knew it was the one for me.

It was a one off Phil Collins bridal gown, which I wore off the peg. I loved the tone, the way it shone gold in the sun. I had never seen anything like it in my life, and despite it being everything that I said I didn’t want, it was the one for me – like a fairytale moment. I complemented the dress with an antique gold toned veil and a burnished gold tiara. I wore Paradox of London peep-toe shoes, but I had these dyed the same blush colour to match the dress. On the day I also wore my grandmother’s topaz ring.

I carried a bouquet of cream astilbe and my bridesmaids carried a similar bouquet of pink astilbe. I wanted the flowers to look handpicked and not too structure. I used Forget Me Not Florists in Scarborough, and after listening to the image of what I wanted, they created the most amazing bouquets.

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Sam wore a charcoal grey suit from Greenwoods, shirt from ASOS and shoes from Kurt Geiger. He wore the same bow tie and braces as the groomsmen, which I found on eBay.

I also found my mint green adult bridesmaids dresses on eBay for a bargain price of £10 each from a boutique seller. They wore pastel pink heeled shoes from New Look and finished the look off with a cream floral garland and a cream corsage, both of which were purchased from Boyes Department Store’s bridal range in Scarborough.

The flower girls (five in total) wore dresses made by my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law. The fabrics and pattern were purchases from The Sewing Centre in Scarborough, and were adorned with the same flowers which were added to the bridesmaid dresses. Each dress was a different colour, so we had pale pink, coral, buttercup yellow, country green and a deep pink. Together the little ones looked so colourful.

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On the day, I walked to the church from my parents as it was over the road. Stopping traffic was fun! To get from the church to Betton Farm, we hired an open-top bus from Shoreline Suncruisers to take us via Scarborough’s North and South Bay. It was such fun, we were all singing and laughing in the sunshine, with tourists on Scarborough beach cheering and applauding us and cars beeping their horns.

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Our stunning wedding photographs were done by Photography34. Tony listened to exactly what I wanted and that was relaxed images. I didn’t want any traditional bride’s family and groom’s family pictures; I just wanted pictures capturing the magic of the day, which he did perfectly. I can see the happiness and emotion in the pictures, and that to me is priceless. I cannot thank Tony enough for the amazing memories he has given us of our day – such a talented photographer.

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My favourite part of the day was defiantly the bus ride, as it was light hearted and fun. Spurred on by the glorious sunshine and the emotional high of the wedding, we were singing Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside and it was one of the groomsmen’s birthdays so we sang a rendition of happy birthday. It was quite literally a fun bus!

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Decorations on the day included bunting in the marquee, which was provided by Betton Farm, who also arranged some vintage-style bits and pieces that I had collected over time. Forget Me Not dressed the tables using wine bottles and jam jars that I up-cycled at home beforehand using twine and antique lace. These were dotted around the tables with wild looking flowers and tea lights. I also hired birdcages from the florist and had these filled with gypsophila, burlap and wild flowers.

We hired a vintage style bike to use as an alternative to a central flower arrangement and the florist moved this up to the farm for the wedding reception.

I also used Celebrate Balloon Box in Scarborough for several selections of brightly coloured balloons to decorate the tables. They matched the theme perfectly and the colours really stood out in the marquee. Andrea Willis Designs, from Scarborough, was a huge help in making various signs which I used in and around the wedding venue. She also helped to make presents for the bridesmaids.

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As we live by the seaside, and as I thought the colours would look amazing, I gave favours of Scarborough rock to my guests purchased from John Bull on the foreshore in Scarborough. I attached a manila luggage tag to each stick of rock which had different messages such as “All You Need Is Love” and “To Have And To Hold”. I tied the seaside theme in by hiring a ‘kiss me quick’ style vintage photo board, which was situated at the entrance of the reception venue. It created fun photo opportunities for everyone and kept the mood light.

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My cake was from Bimbles Cake Emporium, Scarborough. I had a three-tier cake, with individual chocolate orange, strawberry sponge and chocolate cream tiers, which was decorated in country green icing. It featured an antique gold ribbon and lace and was topped with the same cream corsage which the bridesmaids wore.

Our afternoon tea was provided by Betton Farm, which is renowned in the local area for its amazing cakes and scones. We toasted the speeches with champagne for all the guests, which was provided as a gift from my father. In the evening, we had a hog roast from Glaves Butchers with all the trimmings.

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We wanted a party, a pure and simple party, so we used Spectrum Discos, who was amazing and kept the dance floor full right up until the end of the night. I couldn’t have asked for a better night. He played songs from my playlist and seemed to time the mood right to get the guests up and dancing. Everyone had an amazing time.

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Instead of a traditional wedding guest book being passed around all night, I used a battered leather suitcase which had a banner saying “love notes” across it and asked guests to write us a letter on paper and place it in the case. It was amazing to read these messages as they included poems, pictures and words of love. I have made a scrapbook of these and treasure it dearly.

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Betton Farm is a beautiful, idyllic and unique setting for a wedding and I’m so happy we chose the venue, especially combined with the weather – it proved to be a spectacular setting. I would recommend the venue to other wedding couples.

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We took a mini-moon to Rudding Park Hotel and Spa in Harrogate. We stayed in a Follifoot Suite and the hotel couldn’t have done more for us. We were treated to champagne on arrival and were given the best experience. The hotel is stunning, the food exquisite and the treatments were out of this world. We are planning on taking a honeymoon with our two daughters early in 2015.

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My advice to other Brides Up North would simply be to be relaxed. Don’t stress and don’t be afraid to break from tradition. We tailored our day to fit exactly what we wanted and everything was perfect. Enjoy every moment, drink in every emotion, and most of all, have fun as it is the happiest day of your life. When I think if our wedding day, I still grin like a Cheshire cat.

All I wanted was to have fun on my wedding day, and boy, we certainly had that! It was so relaxed and laid back – I couldn’t have dreamt of more.

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shore thing. justin alexander for a simple yet stylish seaside wedding – nicola & eamonn

September 11th, 2014 | Rachel Parry

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There’s something about being by the seaside that causes a welcome state of relaxation.

Nicola and Eamonn chose the pretty seaside town of Scarborough for their laid-back big day which they were proud to show-off to their guests via an open-top bus ride and fabulous sea-front reception venue.

What I love about this wedding is that the bride and groom didn’t get swept up in wedding planning mania, but instead really thought about what they wanted and then executed it to perfection.

This fab real wedding oozes style and sophistication and is topped-off with a good glug of fun.

With photos by Photography34.

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Nicola says: We got engaged on Christmas Day 2012 after being together for 11 years.  Eamonn surprised me by dropping to one knee in front of our two little girls. It was very romantic as he had written a poem which incorporated all of the favourite places we have travelled to together.

We got married on Saturday 27th July 2013. We chose the 27th as it was Eamonn’s mother Helen’s birthday – she sadly passed in 2010.

Our wedding ceremony was at St Peters RC Church in Scarborough, our girls were baptised here so it was a natural choice. It’s a very beautiful building.  I chose for my brother to walk me down the aisle. We celebrated afterwards at the Ambassador Hotel and Spa, which we chose because it’s such a lovely boutique hotel with fab views of Scarborough. The venue was perfect for our requirements. We would have no hesitation in recommending it to future brides and grooms. Kieran there listened to our every request and suggestion and together we made it all work to create our perfect day.

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The one thing Eamonn and I discussed at length though at the start of the planning process was how we wanted the day to play out.  We wanted everyone who shared the day with us to be there from the beginning until the end – it did limit us to the number of guests for the day (120) but everyone agreed that the day had a great flow to it.  From the moment we were married we all travelled together to the reception (the long way around the Marine Drive at Scarborough so we could take in the stunning views on the open-top bus) and while everyone had their Meze starters outside the venue we snuck away with our photographer Tony for a quick photo shoot.  We’ve all been to weddings where there is a pause in the day for photos and then another while the evening guests arrive and we didn’t want that. We chose to have the wedding a little later in the afternoon at 3pm which did put us on a tighter timescale than most weddings but we wanted the day to be one continual celebration with a natural flow and relaxed feel.  As a result of the thought and planning that we put into the scheduling of the day it all played out really well and all of the guests thought that it had happened by chance.

There was no particular colour theme from the start – it all kind of just pulled itself together. Once we found the taupe bridesmaid dresses it cemented the spectrum of colours we used, from the invitation to the cake and the flowers.

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I was quite nervous about shopping for my wedding dress. I was completely out of my comfort zone but with the help of my trusty bridesmaids and the ladies at The Wedding Room in Scarborough we picked out about seven dresses in all sorts of cuts and styles to work out what I might like.  The first dress I tried was beautiful – big, full and very princess like (I thought this might be the type I would go for) but when I stepped out in it and looked in the mirror I was overwhelmed with the size of it! I cried and wanted to turn and run. But the ladies at the Wedding Rooms had obviously seen this before and whipped me straight back into the changing rooms to get out of it and encouraged me to try on something not so huge. Gypsy bride it wasn’t, but it just didn’t feel right for me.  I tried a couple more on and they were all beautiful but I couldn’t pick between them. Then I tried on the fourth dress – it was a very detailed fishtail dress with lace, sequins, pearls and bugle beads by Justin Alexander. The moment it went over my head and I looked in the mirror I knew it was the one. I just loved the way I felt in it and when I walked out to show my bridesmaids I cried again – this time with happiness – their faces confirmed what I was feeling.  It was so disappointing to put on my own clothes after wearing such a fabulous dress.

Eamonn wore a tailored suit from Mullen and Mullen in York. He chose a dark navy blue colour suit with a waistcoat. The suit jacket had a taupe colour lining to complement the bridesmaid dresses and he got our initials and the wedding date 27.07.13 stitched into the lining which was a lovely touch.  I always thought Eamonn wore a suit well but have to say seeing him in a tailored suit made him look particularly dashing!

The bridesmaids wore a Jenny Packham No.1 taupe lace bodice maxi dress from Debenhams while the groomsmen wore dark grey lounge suits from Jaeger to complement Eamonn’s suit.

My flowers came from the very talented Kirsty Berridge from Minnie Bee’s Floral Design. I didn’t have a clue about flowers but I used my wedding board on Pinterest to show Kirsty what type of flowers and colours I liked. She was fabulous and brought lots of pictures of previous bouquets she had done to show me. She came up with my fabulous hand-tied bouquet of gypsophila, soft vintage pink hydrangea, dahlias, peonies and English grown roses in soft pinks, peaches and cream.  We had two fabulous pedestal arrangements in the church and the tables at the reception venue again featured the same flowers, although we went for a much brighter tone of colours and displayed them in jam jars all supplied by Minnie Bee’s.

The bridesmaids all carried hand-tied bouquets of gypsophila and the flower girls carried small pomander balls of gypsophila and the groomsmen had button holes made of the same. Kirsty also supplied gypsophila on bits of wire to add to the bridesmaids’ and flower girls’ hair.

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I had five bridesmaids and two flower girls (my daughters Stella and Grace), plus my mum and my brother to get from the hotel to the church so Ozzy the camper van from Scarborough Kombi Van Hire was the perfect solution. We had a lot of guests from out of town and abroad who we wanted to see the beauty of Scarborough while they were here, plus parking can be quite tricky around the church, so hiring an open top bus from Shoreline Suncruisers to take us all to the reception made perfect sense – and it was great fun!

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Our photographer was our good friend Tony Wilson from Photography34 who has documented a number of our special days over the last couple of years, our daughters’ baptism being one of the first.  Tony does such a great job of translating the feel of the day into pictures.  We will be forever grateful for the precious moments that Tony has captured for us – we will always have them to look back on. He was also a guest at our wedding so he can definitely multitask.

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The cake was provided by Gemma Flood at Cotton House Cakes. It was a four-tier chocolate fudge cake topped with Italian meringue butter cream. The colour graduated from light to dark – another spot on Pinterest.

For our wedding meal we decided that we didn’t want something that was going to be too gastro, even though Eamonn is a bit of a foodie. We went for a bit of a Greek theme with the food as we enjoy holidaying there and love the food. We chose to have a Greek meze as an informal starter which was served on arrival. We had these instead a formal starter as we didn’t want to be sat inside for a lengthy three-course meal. The Ambassador did a great job of serving these in a way that were easy to eat with fingers and stood up while relaxing outside.  We decided to have the speeches before the main meal once everyone was seated indoors – this just seemed like a natural break to fit in the best man’s and groom’s speeches.  We continued with the Greek theme for the main meal opting for a choice of beef stifado or vegetable moussaka.  We kept the wedding cake as a dessert and then had a selection of cheeses that were brought to each of the tables so everyone could nibble throughout the evening.

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We wanted a relaxed theme so didn’t go heavy on the entertainment. We did want some music for when we arrived at The Ambassador in the open-top bus and while we had the drinks reception and starters.  We had discussed various live acts but Eamonn saw a young jazz band busking in town and booked them for the wedding! The Jelly Jolly Jazz Band fronted by a young musician called Laurence Marshall were just great, they played some really uplifting jazz which set everyone off on the right tone for the day.  For the evening we opted for Spectrum Discos, who were great!  We had a few particulars we wanted playing but were pretty relaxed with the play list. Our first dance was a Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrel classic You’re All I Need to Get By, which was just perfect!

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To keep our young guests entertained, I ordered some small cardboard suitcases and filled them with colouring books and quiet toys. I also asked The Ambassador to add a small pack-up so the children could tuck in as soon as we sat down. They could then run around the dance floor after the speeches had taken place while the adults enjoyed their stifado!

We chose to have circular tables for everyone, so no top table – just to avoid any issues with who might feel they should be sat on it!  We had paper pom poms, added by Alex Anderson from Homebird House, hanging from the ceiling above our table just to make it a focal point. They were also hung above the table for wedding cards which we decorated ourselves with an old suitcase, a beach towel, ball, bucket and spade.

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Eamonn and I had told all of our guests that we didn’t expect any gifts as many people were already travelling great distances to attend the wedding but any gifts of money we did receive would be used on what we were calling a ‘familymoon’.

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We couldn’t choose a favourite part of our wedding – we loved the whole day! We really thought about what we wanted and what was important for us and we made it happen. All of our guests really got that the day was a reflection of us and enjoyed it as much as we did!

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Our top tip to other Brides Up North would be not to get sucked into everything that’s on offer. We had a very traditional church wedding but personally picked everything that went around that, including flipping around the proceedings of the day and for us that really worked.  Everyone is different but it’s so easy to get pulled into ‘the perfect Pinterest wedding’ which can be daunting and crazy expensive.  We decided that we wanted a simple wedding which was about Eamonn and I standing up in front of our loved ones and saying ‘this is us forever’ followed by great food and drink and a kick ass party!

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