May 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Bride Emily experienced a nightmare situation when the boutique she had found her gown in went out of business. Determined to still secure her dream dress, Emily went straight to the designer whose team went above and beyond to make sure she got her wish – and we’re sure you will all agree she looked absolutely stunning!
Groom Rory then chose to reflect his family roots by donning traditional Scottish Highland dress for the occasion and the pretty maids completed the attractive line-up in their elegant lavender dresses.
An abundance of pretty blooms in bouquets, button holes and décor enhanced the already romantic setting of Iscoyd Park for one very dreamy day indeed.
With images by Jo Bradbury Photography.
emily says: Rory had planned a romantic trip to Ireland where he intended to propose at Giant’s Causeway. Unfortunately heavy snow over two consecutive weekends scuppered his plans. I was wondering why he was so insistent that we travel to Ireland in a blizzard. Having asked my parents’ permission I think he was becoming worried about the cat being let out of the bag so, during a snowy weekend in January, whilst I was busy defrosting the freezer, he called me into our living room where I found him down on one knee. I was completely shocked, it was so unexpected but absolutely perfect as it was.
We had originally planned to marry on the 2nd August, which would have been five years to the day that we had met, but when we eventually found our perfect venue the only date they had available was 24th May 2014. So although it was a little earlier than we had planned it was absolutely worth it to secure the venue.
We got married at Iscoyd Park in Shropshire. Apart from being the most beautiful Georgian house in a gorgeous setting, from the very start the staff were overwhelmingly wonderful and relaxed and remained so right through to the big day itself – absolutely nothing appeared to be too much trouble. I had become a bit of a bridezilla and was struggling to find a venue that ticked all our boxes. Iscoyd Park ticked the boxes and more, I really couldn’t recommend it highly enough.
We didn’t have a fixed theme as such we just wanted an elegant and happy day with lots of personal touches and I like to think we achieved that. In terms of colour, we tried to match one of the colours to Rory’s family tartan, which was a sort of dusty lavender.
After a fairly exhaustive search, I settled on a dress by Sassi Holford. Unfortunately the shop where I had ordered the dress from went out of business just before the wedding leaving me without a dress. Thankfully Sassi Holford were incredible and after a trip from Derbyshire to Taunton to be re-measured they made another dress from scratch. I really can’t thank the team at Sassi Holford enough for pulling out all the stops to make the dress for me at breakneck speed to ensure I had the dress of my dreams.
Rory’s family is Scottish so he opted to follow tradition and wear a kilt, which was hired from Greenwoods. The best man also wore a kilt hired from Greenwoods. Rory also had sgian-dubhs, worn as part of traditional Scottish Highland dress, made and personalised to go with the kilts.
Sourcing bridesmaid dresses in the right colour proved more challenging than I had originally thought but, thanks to family in the USA, we were able to obtain them from Donna Morgan via Nordstrom.
We booked Iscoyd Park for the whole weekend so my bridesmaids and I stayed in a beautiful cottage in the grounds the night before for a girly spa evening and Rory drove himself to Iscoyd the morning of the wedding.
In our view, the photography was probably one of the most important elements, it is really the only thing you are left with other than memories after the day itself and I really wanted to be able to look back and see all the little details and moments from our wedding. Our photographer was Jo Bradbury. She had photographed my mum’s wedding to my step father at which I had been a bridesmaid, so I knew from direct experience that the photographs would be beautiful. Rory and I aren’t always the most serious of people, and models we certainly are not, so I really wanted someone who would be able guide us. I could not recommend Jo highly enough. She was there from getting ready, where she was incredibly non-intrusive during the nervous moments but was able to capture some really lovely shots. She then stayed almost right until the end to get photos of some dodgy dancing. Very importantly she managed to make one of the rainiest days of the year (we even had to throw the confetti indoors) look like a classic late spring day.
I carried a bouquet of white peonies, roses, freesia with a lamb’s ear greenry. All the bouquets and buttonholes were provided by Selina Godsal, the mother-in-law of Phil who owns Iscoyd Park. She is the on-site florist which is so handy for tying in meetings with venue visits.
I wanted predominantly white flowers so we used peonies, roses, hydrangeas, gypsophila with a few coloured roses in the hanging vases behind the top table. We decided early on to do some of the flowers ourselves so my mum sourced an enormous van-load of flowers from her local flower stall in Manchester as well as the best part of a small lavender bush from friends. We arranged them in hundreds of vases sourced from Ikea. Selina then did some big displays for us in the ceremony room and a large ball display hanging from the centre of the marquee.
I wanted to do something a little different for the favours and as I had decided most of the flowers and table settings were to be white I added a little colour by planting succulents into small glasses which would double as a wedding favour and a name place setting. It’s quite nice really as I am still getting updates from our guests nearly a year on as to how their plant has grown.
I had seen a cake on Pinterest which I fell in love with and which fitted well into our dusty lavender theme. We couldn’t decide what flavour to have so went for different flavours in each tier. It was absolutely beautiful and tasted great too!
I was given free rein on the décor for the wedding but the food was definitely my husband’s domain. Iscoyd works closely with the Fine Dining Company – the food was incredible and not only tasted great but looked lovely too.
For entertainment, we had the Vittorio String Quartet play as our guests arrived and as I walked down the aisle through to the drinks reception. I’m not sure it was necessarily a wise decision as I managed to cry almost every time I heard them play in the run up to the wedding. Thankfully, I successfully held it together on the big day.
For the evening Iscoyd suggested a DJ for us which was really useful as we are not from the area so any recommendations were gratefully received. We spoke to Robert Maxfield who asked our likes and dislikes music wise and he really created a party atmosphere for our evening of dancing.
I took a lot of inspiration from Pinterest for the little details. We printed a little poem for the ladies bathroom complete with a basket of toiletries to try and refresh the guests before continuing the party. Another of my favourite details were the little packs of tissues on the seats for during the ceremony; ‘for happy tears’. I really wanted to personalise a lot of the wedding so we had various things made, from a wooden card box painted with our names and wedding date, to the arrows directing the guests to the venue.
Other suppliers we used that I would recommend include Sash and Co who supplied the belt to go with my wedding dress. This too was originally ordered from the bridal shop that went out of business so they also pulled out all the stops to remake the belt in time. Gemma Cosgrove was my make-up artist, who was another calming influence on the morning of the wedding, not forgetting my friend Emma who not only managed to do my hair but also four bridesmaids, two flower girls and a few aunts all in time for the ceremony! Jean Jackson Couture also deserves a mention for making my mum look amazing!
I actually don’t think I can ever recommend Iscoyd Park highly enough. Not only is it incredibly beautiful but the people there are great too, Jen the wedding planner and Phil the owner were always on hand for any questions I had and Jen particularly really put my mind at ease. They have the perfect set up from the onsite beauticians and florist to the luxurious accommodation and venue. They urge you to make Iscoyd your home for the duration of your stay which I have to say, during what can be such a stressful time, was a really welcome comfort.
The moment that stands out in my mind from the wedding day is hearing the string quartet start to play as I began to walk down the aisle and catching the eye of my soon to be husband – a moment which Jo managed to capture perfectly. My mum’s speech was also incredibly touching, not sure there was a dry eye in the house, including a couple of Rory’s friends from the Army. Other than that I genuinely loved everything from getting ready with all the girls to the amazing best man speech to endless dancing and finally being able to call Rory my husband.
We went on a mini moon to a lovely boutique hotel in Norfolk booked through Mr and Mrs Smith. Later in the year we then went to stay in Tuscany in the most magnificent villa called Villa Fontelunga. Neither of us had ever been to Italy before and it is without doubt one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Phillip and Paulo the owners of Fontelunga were so welcoming and although we were offsite in our own villa they were always at the end of the phone to make dinner reservations for us or recommend places to visit. They hold weekly dinners for all the guests where everyone can get together to eat, drink and have lots of laughs overlooking the gorgeous rolling hills of Tuscany! We absolutely cannot wait to plan our return trip!
My top tip for other Brides Up North to help with the planning would be – Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest (you can follow Brides Up North’s boards on Pinterest here). It became my wedding planning bible, from colour schemes to flowers, to personalised details, I found it a really useful tool to create a mood board for the wedding.
April 1st, 2014 | Julia Braime
Away from the pages of the wedding blog, I’m frequently commissioned to write freelance pieces for various glossy magazines (Carrie Bradshaw eat your heart out, eh?) and quite often like to share that content again here when I think it might be interesting or relevant to my readers. Or genuinely because I’m just really, really proud to see my work in print.
Loved Up Magazine, to whose pages I’ve been contributing for – goodness! – actual years and years now got in touch to ask me to compile a feature sharing my “top clicks” for online wedding planning content, a subject close to my heart.
Yes, I’m a first and foremost a blogger, but I’m also a consumer. Shock horror! I read other blogs. And I’m a prolific consumer of wedding media especially. I like to keep up with the industry news, the creativity of my peers and to be honest, it’s still fun for me. Yes, even after four years of blogging about weddings twice a day and 40+ branded bridal events and exhibitions under my Brides Up North belt… I still love it. I’ve a full blog reader, test out any new bridal app going and don’t even get me started on social media. 39,394 tweets down at the time of writing, I’m well aware that that’s my unwritten novel, right there on Twitter (hey, come follow me, I’ve clearly a lot to say!)
So, here’s my current top picks of the online wedding World – emphasis on current there: trust me, I could have filled the whole magazine with links. So, have fun exploring, but come right back again afterwards y’hear?!
I said: In my role as editor of one of the top wedding blogs in the UK I spend a whole lot of time at a computer screen. Mostly its bonafide blog business, but I also spend some time every day keeping on top of what’s new in the online bridal world. It’s as much about checking out the latest cyber products for my bride-to-be readers as staying ahead of the competition, and I’m here to share some of my favourite online resources with you.
Wedding blogs are a dynamic, easy to access and free source of wedding planning know how, with a personal touch. There’s a blog out there to suit almost every bride, so bookmark your favourites and return daily for a rapid turnover of ideas, inspiration and tips.
My Top Clicks
Brides Up North (well, obvs.) – our site and branded bridal events are a must for local ladies who want to see just what the fantastic wedding industry suppliers on their doorstep can do. Every fabulous feature on Brides Up North is sourced from the regions, be it a supplier showcase, styled shoot or real wedding.
Rock N Roll Bride – a cute and colourful site packed full of diverse and different wedding inspiration. If you fancy trying your hand at blogging yourself, creator Kat also runs courses for aspiring writers at her worldwide Blogacademy.
Festival Brides – if you’d rather host your own “wed-stock” party under canvas than hire a stately home, this is the blog for you. Focusing on outdoor and festival weddings, the site is a little bit of summer sunshine delivered to your blog reader daily.
There are apps galore for wedding planning on the move. From finding your dream dress to keeping track of your gift list, a few clever downloads can make the whole process a little less daunting. Take a break from Candy Crush and try out some bridal apps that might just save you time and money.
My Top Clicks
WedPics – An alternative to disposable cameras, this nifty tool gathers all your guests’ pics and videos in one private place – and gives you a record of your big day through your nearest and dearest’s eyes.
AppyCouple – A fully personalised online space that your guests can access to obtain all the key details for your celebration including addresses, gift list info, directions, dress code and timings. They can even RSVP and make menu choices, leaving all the information to hand when table planning hysteria sets in.
Find Your Dream Wedding Dress – A fashionista’s fantasy – browse different design features and come up with a selection of gowns that meet any given criteria, then find the shops that stock them. The dress hunt made easy.
Use social media to network your way from engagement to altar. Here you can get real time responses to your queries and supplier searches on a no obligation basis.
My Top Clicks
Facebook – Most industry professionals keep their Facebook page more up to date than their brochure or websites, making it easier for you to get a sense for their current work.
Pinterest – If you love a mood board, you’ll adore this image sharing site, also available as a smartphone app. Build online boards by pinning your favourite wedding inspiration images to build up a visual idea of your wedding style. And if you don’t want to spoil the surprise – simple – you can now make secret boards too!
Twitter – You’ll find that the wedding industry is live and loud on the Twitter airwaves: keen to offer advice, sell their services and attract new customers.
Words: Brides Up North for Loved Up Magazine Spring/Summer 2014
This is not a sponsored post
February 27th, 2014 | Julia Braime
If you’re a regular reader of the wedding blog, or follow Brides Up North on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll have shared my exciting news that I have been invited to act as the Official Blogger for the huge event that is The North West Wedding Fair in a few weeks’ time.
I’ve already been contributing over on their blog – click here to read my thoughts on this season’s bridal fashions and why you really should hire a professional wedding photographer (I don’t care if your mate will do it for free!) – and will be blogging for the team up till the weekend itself, when I’ll be live from the first night of the event on Friday 7th March, giving you a preview of all that lies in store for you lucky visitors (and hosting the official show video – eep!).
When I announced my involvement with the team at The North West Wedding Fair and Mercury Events, I was quite candid in that initially I wasn’t sure if teaming up with (essentially) a competitor was a good idea, but I liked the company’s ethos and attitude – basically, they want to bring you North West brides one hell of a good show and look after their exhibitors whilst doing it – and I also saw the opportunity to further the Northern Revolution that we have going on on these pretty pages and get Brides Up North in front of a lot of new readers. If you are one of them, hello and welcome. I hope you’ll stay awhile!
However, right from the word go what (hands up) started out as a bit of a marketing exercise was suddenly an event in my diary that I am very much looking forward to. I’m swept up in the excitement and super, duper thrilled to be able to write this post today. You see, I have something pretty special to share with you, my readers, as part of the Official Blogger job!
The North West Wedding Fair and Brides Up North are teaming up to offer one VERY lucky bride to be and her guest a money can’t buy prize! And all you have to do is show me your pins…
Up for grabs are two VIP Experiences at The North West Wedding Fair at Event City, Manchester on 7th March 2014, plus 5 runner up prizes of a standard pair of tickets worth £30.
The VIP Experience includes Fast Track Entry, a Luxury Goody Bag, a Complimentary Glass of Champagne, Reserved Catwalk Seating and Complimentary Premium Ice Cream, plus tickets to the show itself, completely free.
And here’s my icing on the rather lovely cake – the prize includes a wedding brainstorming session with the Official North West Wedding Fair Blogger – that’s me! – at the event itself, and follow up sessions by email to help to turn your pins into plans.
As the editor of Brides Up North,one of the top UK Wedding Blogs and the only blog written for brides in the North of the UK there’s not much that gets past me in this industry. Whether you are looking for the freshest new ideas, budget advice, supplier introductions, sneaky discounts, insider info and (sometimes) a shoulder to cry on, I’m your woman.
And after the planning is done and the day arrives? I’d love to share your wedding with my readers here at Brides Up North in a special Real Wedding feature.
So how can you win this one off, never to be repeated prize? Simple. You know that wedding mood board you’ve been cultivating on Pinterest? All you have to do is share the link to it with me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org along with 250 words (maximum) introducing yourself, your wedding date and describing your dream wedding.
Don’t worry about sprucing things up either – I want to see what your actual dream wedding would look like! If you are new to Pinterest, it’s really easy to get going too. Create a board and send it my way.
The competition is open now, the closing date is midnight on 4th March 2014, and my decision is final. The winner will be notified by email.
1. Log onto Pinterest and create your board, or share an existing wedding planning board that you’ve already been curating.
2. Send the link to your board to me by email at email@example.com along with 250 words (maximum) introducing yourself, your wedding date and describing your dream wedding.
3. Win those fabulous prizes if your board is my winner.
Happy pinning! I can’t wait to share your planning!
Terms & Conditions:
Competition closes 11.59pm on 4th March. Promoter: Brides Up North & The Wedding Fairs. Prize excludes travel to and from the venue and personal expenses. Entrants must be UK residents aged 18 years or older. Only one entry per person allowed. Email data will be shared with The Wedding Fairs but no other third parties. No responsibility accepted for lost, delayed, ineligible or fraudulent entries. One winning entry and 5 runners up will be chosen at random from all eligible entries. Winner will be notified on the closing date by email. The judges decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. If the winner is unable to be contacted within 24 hours of the closing date, the promoter will offer the prize to a runner-up. Tickets are non-transferrable. Children under 4 enter for free.
This is a sponsored post
May 15th, 2013 | Julia Braime
Heard of Pinterest? Of course you have, right? Who hasn’t? Addicted? Who isn’t? Well, as it turns out, my best friend Jane, who emailed me the other day asking “What’s this Pinterest thing, and should I be doing it?”.
My answer would be this – if you are planning a wedding, looking for decorating inspiration or just like pretty visuals– then you probably should, yes!
Pinterest is basically an online tool for collecting and organizing the things you love in mood board style formats. It’s fun, useful for collating your inspirations all in one place and as you begin to cultivate your boards it adds a little bit of creativity to your screen time. You can “pin” things from around the web onto boards you create, on any topic you’d like.
When I was planning my own wedding, I was all about my scrapbook. This was a real book bought lovingly from John Lewis, covered in hearts with pretty rainbow pages. I spent hours tearing and cutting from wedding magazines and printing from blogs to create an area where all my ideas came together visually. I was actually really proud of it – it felt like a little art project – and I would show it off in a not entirely unbridezilla like manner to anyone who cared to look. Looking back, a move into professional wedding blogging was the next obvious step, although I would never have dared to dream it at the time!
Well, Pinterest is like that wedding scrapbook. Only there is less chance of mashing pritstick into the carpet and people who actually want to share in your wedding obsessing can opt to follow your boards. Brides to be, get involved.
I was contacted recently by the Pinterest team to be a part of their blogger team as they launch Pinterest properly in the UK. It turns out that Pinterest are adding some snazzy new features to make the pinning experience even more relevant.
As Will Taylor, blogger at Bright.Bazaar explains in this blog post for Pinterest, about the Pin It Forward campaign and the launch of Pinterest in the UK ‘While the site has always been available worldwide, the team is making Pinterest feel even more welcoming for those of us across the pond. In addition to Pin It Forward UK, there’s a new (very proper) British English language setting and improvements to make local UK content more easily discoverable for UK pinners when searching.’
As a wedding blogger, for whom most content comes direct to my inbox as a result of submissions or specific press requests, I mostly use Pinterest when planning special editorial shoots for the wedding blog or as inspiration for styling my bridal events and networking parties. Some I choose to keep secret using the handy “Secret Boards” feature until my inspirations become reality. Check out this shoot and this shoot, inspired by the Electric Avenue and Romantic Opulence boards. All our Wednesday Wedding Inspiration mood boards (like this one from this morning) are also uploaded onto a rather pretty page.
I also host some of my personal boards over there too… at the moment its all about dream homes, babies, shoes and shopping facilitation! What can I say, I’m a complex character…
Come on over and follow the Brides Up North boards, I’d love to see you there!
Electric Avenue shoot by Cat Hepple Photography
Romantic Opulence shoot by Joe Dodsworth Photography
To finish, as part of the Pin It Forward UK campaign, I’d like to introduce you to a fellow blogger – and Northerner – Rachel from Marry Me Ink. Rachel runs a cool blog especially for the tattooed bride. Click here to check out her blog, and here to check out her boards.
Happy pinning Brides Up North!
This is not a sponsored post
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