December 27th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, 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 8th January 2018 (we’re hoping we’ll be over the hangover by then, right?) but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from last 6 months.
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 some couples a wedding is about getting away from day to day life and escaping to a far-off venue for vows and celebrations. Other couples, however, like to make their big day all about their local surroundings, sharing the place they call home with their family and friends. The latter is certainly true of today’s featured couple, who chose to tie the knot in their home city of Manchester.
By combining personal touches and pretty décor, Sarah and Ben’s wedding is as cool as it is classy – and we flippin’ love it! There’s pretty pink flowers, glittering sequins and twinkling fairylights but also an urban backdrop, smoke bombs and tattoos. What this couple easily deliver is a lesson in how to truly make your wedding your own…
With images by Katie Dervin.
sarah says: We got engaged at my parents’ house in Cheshire, on Christmas Day 2014. It had started as an unfortunate day as Ben was currently living in London and all I wanted was to see him and spend some quality time together but I woke up to an awful 24-hour bug and was bed ridden for most of the day. So, after a quick change of plan he said he was going to come to mine and spend the day with me being ill and not very in the mood for Christmas. My parents had gone around to my brother’s so there was just the two of us in the flat. He went downstairs to make me a tea and next thing he shouted up to me to come downstairs to open my presents, which I wasn’t happy about at all as I could barely stand up. As I got to the top of the stairs I heard playing faintly our song, which is How Long Will I Love You by Ellie Goulding and I immediately burst into tears. I walked down the stairs to see him in my living room standing in the middle of a rose petal heart and candles everywhere. He then went down on one knee and asked me. I was hysterical. I wasn’t expecting it at all as we had only been together for 13 months. It was perfect. No big show, no embarrassing displays of public affection. Just me and him.
Our wedding date was Saturday 8th July 2017.
We got married at the Renaissance Manchester hotel on Blackfriars Street in the city centre. We have lived in Manchester for nearly two years now and having looked at numerous venues in Cheshire, where we are both originally from, we realised that they weren’t for us and we are now officially city people and wanted our friends and family to see where our lives are now. The venue wasn’t actually our first choice. Our original venue cancelled on us six months before the wedding due to renovations and we then essentially had to start again. But Ben managed to find The Renaissance, who turned out to be our saviours and we had the amazing day we had always wanted.
We didn’t have a theme per say. We just wanted to have a great day that everyone would enjoy and remember for all the right reasons. It was once described to me as an ‘urban fairy-tale wedding’ with a little rock and roll. We are a non-traditional couple with traditional values so we tried to have the best of both worlds.
The colour scheme was pinks and gold. I didn’t just want to have a specific shade of pink, mainly because I couldn’t decide but also I felt it’s a colour which can have all different shades in one place and still look right.
My dress was from Wed2B in Bolton. It was the first thing we purchased after we had set the date. In my head, I had always wanted a typical princess fairy-tale style dress and I remember walking in and saying “take me to the tulle”. I tried on my first dress and hated it as this was all I had wanted and it looked awful. The lovely assistant persuaded me to try a different, more fitted style. I still wasn’t convinced until the straps fell down off my shoulders due to it being a little too big and I fell in love. I loved the style and fit and making the straps more of a Bardot on the shoulders gave it a more vintage style.
November 6th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
We’re beginning the week by heading to one of our favourite cities, Liverpool, for a stylish, contemporary wedding brimming with urban elegance.
Anna and Phil said “I do” in June of this year at the exquisite Hope Street Hotel – a chic, dog-friendly venue. And yes, the latter means that there’s a very special four-legged guest to look out for in the photos…
Plumping for a ‘Liverpool Love’ theme, the couple decided to keep things pared back in the venue itself – allowing the hotel’s stunning city location to take centre stage, with breathtaking views from their private terrace. And of course, no Liverpudlian themed wedding would be complete without an appearance from a Superlambanana!
With images by Lisa Howard Photography.
anna says: We got engaged on my birthday, 8th April, in 2016. Phil was insistent that we went out for lunch to The Punchbowl pub, which is where we went on our first date. I was feeling pretty delicate after going out with my friends the night before, but Phil was desperate to go there. We sat on the same seats as on our first date and Phil passed me a birthday present which turned out to be an engagement ring, I was so shocked I couldn’t believe it!
We tied the knot on 8th June 2017. We wanted to get married in June and decided to get married on a Thursday as the venue we wanted did mid-week package offers.
We had our ceremony and reception at the Hope Street Hotel in Liverpool. We both live in Sheffield but are originally from Liverpool so decided that it would be nice to get married there. We looked at loads of venues online and then went to a wedding fair at the Hope Street Hotel. As soon as we walked in, we fell in love with it. The views from the Fifth were amazing and the staff were lovely, so we booked it straight away. After we had booked the venue, we saw online that it was a dog friendly hotel so decided to ask if we could have our little dog Martha at the wedding and they loved the idea.
We decided on a Liverpool Love theme, since we were coming back to Liverpool and it fitted our venue perfectly.
We went for nude pink, navy and silver colour scheme. We knew we wanted navy and silver but the nude pink was decided once the bridesmaids had picked a dress that they all liked.
I didn’t really have any idea what sort of dress I wanted, apart from that I didn’t want strapless. I got my dress from Natalie Ann Brides in Huyton, Liverpool. The staff were all so helpful and made me feel relaxed as soon as we walked in. I didn’t pick my dress – it was actually the lady in the shop who suggested I try it on and I fell in love with it straight away. I paired the dress with Rachel Simpson shoes.
One of my bridesmaids, Estelle Greenhalgh is a makeup artist so she did my hair and makeup along with the other bridesmaids’ and my mum’s, and it looked amazing!
October 25th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
Our featured bride Anneka sings from the same hymn sheet as us Brides Up North girls it would seem, as keeping things local was a key factor to her and beau Gareth’s big day.
Planning a pretty pink and ivory themed wedding, Anneka and Gareth agreed on the Hyde Bank Farm in Romiley, to stage their celebrations and then looked to skilful suppliers in close proximity to help deliver their dream day. Just what we like to see!
Roses too seem a continuing theme throughout the day, featuring in the bride’s bouquet and also the venue décor, including dainty bundles of blooms in clear jars and delicate paper petal roses made by Anneka’s own fair hands, demonstrating her own creative skills!
With images by Kate Gosney.
anneka says: We set our wedding date for Monday 29th May 2017, after getting engaged on my 28th birthday in March 2016.
Our day took place at Hyde Bank Farm in Romiley, Stockport. We chose this venue as it’s set in a beautiful, peaceful countryside setting and has superb character and atmosphere, with oak beams and charming stonewalls.
We wanted the wedding to be classy and traditional with nods to the surrounding countryside. We also wanted to keep things local to the area, using suppliers from nearby.
The colour scheme was ivory and light pink.
My dress was an ivory satin, strapless ballgown with a sweetheart neckline and chapel train, which I wore with an ivory elbow-length, two-tiered veil with satin trim. I purchased my dress from Isabella Bridal in Underbank, Stockport.
Gareth and his groomsmen wore blue suits with ivory paisley tuxedo and cravat from Best Man Hire in Macclesfield, Cheshire.
My bridesmaids wore Briar-Rose navy lace tea dresses from Monsoon.
October 6th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
If today’s real bride would have got things her way, she and beau Chris would have eloped to marry but we’re sure glad that Sharon was swayed by a larger-scale celebration in the Lake District – as we get to share all the pretty details of their big day with you today!
Surrounded by their family and friends, Sharon and Chris combined a pretty pastel colour scheme with a fun theme that gave nods to both of their passions (films and cats, need we say more!)
We love the relaxed vibes as guests have fun in the sun, entertained by garden games and live music. Other standouts for us include the super-cool choice of wedding transport and Sharon’s beautiful Nottingham lace dress and flower-crown combo for boho bride perfection!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Bethany Clarke.
sharon says: We got engaged on our fifth anniversary, on August bank holiday weekend in Dolgellau, Snowdonia.
We had spent the day wandering around Portmeirion, which is a little fantasy village perched on a cliff, filled dreamy Italianate architecture and with lovely views over the bay. It’s a beautiful but surreal place, which is why it was chosen as the setting for the 1960s TV show The Prisoner. Later that night we went out for dinner and Chris insisted on driving. He is a keen photographer and so he decided we would drive out somewhere after dinner so he could take photos of the stars.
I had been trying to talk him out of it all night as it was actually very cloudy and there was not a star in the sky, but he was insistent. We drove out for about half an hour, trying to get the best vantage point at the top of the hill, and eventually Chris pulled over into a layby and got his tripod out. I was in the car, playing on my phone and wondering how long he was going to be as I really needed to pee, when he came back to the car and asked me to take a look at his photos. I looked at the screen on his camera and he had taken a beautiful photo… of the clouds. “Aw hon… it’s a bit cloudy, isn’t it?” I said. “Yeah,” he sighed, disheartened. Then suddenly he pulled out a box. “Anyway, I have a present for you… I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind marrying me?”
It turned out he had been hoping to get a shot of the stars on the night we got engaged. I think I had previously said that my worst nightmare would be to get engaged in a public place with loads of people around. He’d decided to find the most isolated and private place he could find; under the moon, with just the stars over us and no one else around.
In the box was a ring with an amethyst stone (my birthstone). He had been trying for about two years to figure out my ring size, but as I don’t normally wear rings he’d failed at every turn. He had tried getting friends to ask if I knew my ring size (I don’t) and had tried measuring my finger with a piece of string as I slept – all with no luck. Rather than guess, he decided to let me pick out the kind of ring wanted and get his friend, a jewellery designer in Birmingham, to make it just for me.
We got married on 17th June, 2017. I really wanted to get married in the summer as I desperately wanted some sunshine on the day and we didn’t want to wait until 2018. Unfortunately, this left us with less than ten months to plan a wedding in the Lake District in peak season, so the date was very much down to whether we could get the venue and the registrar. We also renovated and moved into our house this year, so it was a busy time for us.
I spent about two months trying to convince Chris to elope to Iceland or Vegas. I hate being the centre of attention and the stress and expense of a big wedding felt like a terrible way to start married life. Somehow Chris talked me round – he said we deserved to have a day with all our friends and family making fuss of us.
Having been convinced to go the whole hog, we agreed to get married to in the Lake District, where I grew up. We got married at Belmount Hall, between Ambleside and Hawkshead. The building is part of Beatrix Potter’s estate, but the main reason we chose it was for the incredible setting with views of Esthwaite Water and Gummers How in the distance. As soon as we stepped out of the car we were blown away by the surroundings. Belmount was the blank canvas we were looking for; small enough that we could have the whole site to ourselves but with vast and beautiful grounds in which to enjoy the sunshine (I was adamant that there would be sunshine).
Once we had the venue, we knew it was going to be a ‘Pinterest wedding’; rustic and a bit bohemian with lots of little touches that would make people say, “That is so Chris and Sharon”. We’re both big film fans and cat lovers (Chris is a film and TV lecturer and I’m a bit of a crazy cat lady), so our tables were named after feline film puns. The Big Meowski, The Great Catsby, Furris Bueller’s Day Off, etc. An extremely talented young artist called Amy Lewis took our silly ideas and transformed them into some adorable cartoons for each table and I designed the table plan myself.
I don’t like matchy matchy colour schemes so I went for a pastel rainbow of dusty pink, light blue, dove grey and soft peach.
As a big girl with big boobs, wedding dress shopping was a nightmare experience and I hated every minute. I had been dreaming of a 1920s-style beaded dress, in the style of Jenny Packham or Eliza Jane Howell, but whenever I managed to track one down the samples were all size 10 or 12.
I had almost given up hope when I walked past Kula Tsurdiu’s studio in Nottingham. Kula is a Greek designer, but her base is in the historic lace market of Nottingham, where she sources a lot of her materials. I made an appointment with Kula’s manager Laura Summerson and she was one of the few people to really listen to what I wanted. She didn’t try to force me into a stiff, ruffled, strapless A-line monstrosity, like almost every other store I tried. The dress I eventually settled on was all-over Nottingham lace with a natural waist, long sleeves with tiny sparkly sequins sewn into the fabric. Knowing that the dress would be made to my exact measurements was a relief and Laura managed to make the whole process as stress-free as it could be.
July 24th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
When today’s real bride was planning her big day, she made the unusual move of buying her shoes before she’d even stepped foot inside a dress shop. But who can blame her when the shoes in question were a pair of electric blue jewel-encrusted Sex-and-the-City style Manolo Blahniks?
This super-classy wedding is full of super-pretty details, from white roses and blush peonies to on-trend rose gold accents. The navy/ivory/blush colour scheme is effortlessly chic, and the quaint red-brick charm of their reception venue makes for countless exquisite photo opportunities.
Get ready for some serious gorgeousness, guys.
With images by Jess Yarwood.
jane says: We got engaged on 4th June 2016, in Tatton Park, Knutsford. It was a sunny day and Tom suggested going for a picnic. We found a spot by the lake, Tom put some music on, opened a bottle of champagne and the next thing I knew he was on one knee asking me to marry him!
We married on 3rd June 2017. We picked this date as it was the same weekend we got engaged, so it was a special weekend for us already.
The ceremony was at St Wilfrid’s Church in Mobberley, and the reception was at The Church Inn pub just over the road. We picked The Church Inn as it was our local pub – in fact, we had our second date there. We have lots of good memories of the Inn from over the years. Once we’d picked the reception venue, we decided to have a look at St Wilfrid’s church and fell in love with beautiful, so it was an easy choice for us.
We didn’t really have a theme; we just wanted the wedding to be very relaxed and for people to enjoy the day. Colour-wise, however, we went for blush, rose gold, ivory and navy. I’d always had an idea of how I wanted our wedding day to look and it was based on these colours.
I had a ‘traditional’ wedding dress designed by Pronovias. I bought it from Eternity Bridal. Unusually, I picked my dress to match my shoes as I’d chosen my footwear first! I saw my dress online and knew it was the one. It had everything I wanted: a v-back, long train and could be changed for the evening do.
On the day of the wedding, I used Maxine Smith as a makeup artist. She was fantastic and I would definitely recommend her. My hair was done by Unity Hair Studio. David and Paula did a fantastic job – there was a lot of us who needed our hair doing!
Tom wore a suit from Whitfield and Ward. It was three-piece and navy with a grey waistcoat. Our groomsmen wore the same as the groom but they wore plain navy ties as opposed to a spotty one.
July 14th, 2017 | Julia Braime
The weekend is almost here, but before you slope off for a post-work pinot, we’re bringing you this sweet styled shoot.
Fine art wedding photographer Allison Leigh, who is based in Toronto, approached a local venue stylist to get the ball rolling, and together, they masterminded this lovely collection of images.
Delicate and understated, with pastel bouquets and a whimsical ruffle or two – there’s lots of beautiful flourishes to look out for – think a rose gold palette, vintage glassware and rustic centre pieces, and that’s before we even mention the venue’s exquisite gardens. Prepare to be inspired as Allison explains how the pretty came together…
allison says: I reached out to Jane Donaldson from I Do Cumbria Wedding Hire, who specialises in creating bespoke venue styling, and asked if she would be open to collaborating on a shoot. She replied immediately, saying that it would be ‘magical’. We then planned every detail and sourced other talented vendors we could work with.
The inspiration for Jane came in part from looking at my photography work. Jane loved my bright, airy and natural photos, and decided to go for a feminine and romantic theme with delicate natural touches.
With regards to the location for the shoot, I was keen to find a hotel that I felt was under-utilised as a wedding venue. Broughton Craggs Hotel is West Cumbria’s hidden gem and was the perfect backdrop for our theme. It is located in a beautiful setting within exquisite gardens. The house is tastefully decorated too, in keeping with the period, but with modern touches.
Jane wanted the feel of the shoot to be feminine, simple, romantic and pretty. She designed individual table centrepieces with a minimalist style, using gold, rose gold, whites, pearls and beautiful vintage glassware. Jane shared her beautiful vision with the other vendors and they created their pieces with that in mind.
Suzi Smith from Enchanted Florist Cumbria did the same with her florals – ensuring the colours complemented the shoot and even matched the button hole perfectly to calligrapher Jill Liley’s colours. She created a beautiful bouquet and button hole that tied together beautifully.
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