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.
July 11th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
Imagine being the very first couple to tie the knot in a stunning new venue. That’s something today’s couple, Donna and Darren, can lay claim to – and we might just be a little bit jealous!
Marrying last summer at the spectacular Tanfield House on the banks of the River Ure in Ripon – the newlyweds created a rustic, laid-back garden party for their guests, complete with bunting, pom poms, chalkboards and origami heart place names. They quite literally put their heart and soul into their big day and this can be seen in every minute detail.
Asking their guests to bring along baked goodies as part of their bake-off competition, Donna and Darren also served up a Spanish feast and a dreamy four-tiered wedding cake. The epitome of vintage chic, this is the picture-perfect summer wedding we all secretly wish for…
With images by Hayley Baxter Photography.
donna says: We got engaged in July 2015, while on a weekend away in Barcelona. We had a ridiculously action-packed day which Darren had planned, including a Segway tour of Barcelona in the morning, a lovely tapas lunch followed by a visit to the Gaudi fountains in the park and then hiring a rowing boat on the lake.
After returning to the hotel room we quickly got ready and dashed out for a lovely meal and enjoyed a late-night walk along the beach. We stopped for cocktails before finally heading back to the hotel where he then wanted to go up to the rooftop bar, which was unfortunately closed. As I had pretty much been dragged around non-stop all day, I was absolutely shattered and just requested that we go to our room and go to bed. I pretty much passed out in bed, but Darren asked me to open my eyes and when I did, he had the open ring box in his hand and proposed. I was completely overwhelmed (mainly from exhaustion) but absolutely ecstatic. The ring was a beautiful vintage style diamond surrounded by cluster diamonds.
It turned out that the reason for the action-packed day was because he had been trying to find the right spot/moment to propose which never appeared. There had been a couple of occasions where he had pulled the ring out and then put it back in his pocket because I’d made some stupid joke or wandered off distracted. Even earlier in the evening when we were getting ready there had been a failed proposal attempt where he had written the proposal in steam on the shower wall whilst I was showering but I had been so intent on getting out for food I hadn’t even seen it! So it was quite funny and really lovely.
We got married on Friday 1st July 2016. We were really keen to get married the following year as I didn’t want to have a long drawn out engagement consumed with wedding planning. We were very limited with registrar slots and I had already decided on my photographer who had limited availability too. I liked the 1st July too as it was a nice easy date to remember!
We married at a new venue – Tanfield House in a village called West Tanfield near Ripon. I had my heart set on an outdoor rustic wedding in an intimate setting. I wanted the wedding to be very relaxed – like a chilled garden party – and having searched everywhere within a one hour radius, could not find anything which was suitable or was not already completely booked up. I had pretty much given up when luckily my search threw up Tanfield House, which was a brand-new venue. As soon as we looked around it and saw its stunning setting, and met Allanah the owner and wedding planner – we knew that it was absolutely perfect for us.
The venue sells itself on being a home-from-home where you dress the venue to your specifications and have the wedding exactly as you would like it, including having your own caterers, etc. Being their first booking and first large wedding in the diary, I knew that we would get a very personal service and it was exciting to be part of a new business venture and have a wedding that was completely original.
We chose a rustic relaxed theme. We both envisaged a really relaxed fun day celebrating with our closest friends and family. We are not religious, both very chilled and quite creative and good at crafting and wanted the wedding to reflect our personalities.
The rustic garden party wedding was ideal for us as it is exactly how I envisage a romantic summer wedding to be – full of garden blooms, chalkboards and vintage details. It enabled us to really personalise our wedding with decorating jars, homemade invites, flowers arranged by my friends and family from the local flower market, Darren’s self-crafted bar, cake table and light-up marquee letter initials from old wooden pallets, homemade chalkboards, a bake-off, origami heart place names, the list goes on…
We didn’t have a set wedding colour scheme. Given the theme, colours were just in keeping with summer blooms. Accessories were mainly cream, hessian and twine, and the flowers were just beautiful summer flowers from the markets in array of pinks, purples, creams and corals with lots of beautiful foliage.
I wore a vintage style lace mermaid Enzoani gown from The Little Pearl Bridal Boutique in Pickering. I had my heart set on a form fitting lace gown but had initially wanted one with a detailed back – however when trying them on, detailed backs came with high necks which just didn’t suit my petite frame. My dress shopping was actually done in quite a panic with appointments booked during my lunch hour as I started shopping after New Year so had left myself less than six months. On one of these lunch time appointments my good friend and photographer Hayley came with me and encouraged me to try the dress on which I initially did not like, as I thought the mermaid flare would be over the top – however upon trying it on the flare made my figure look amazing and the lace eyelash detail on the bodice and the scallop lace bottom was so romantic and beautiful – I knew it was the one!
June 16th, 2017 | Julia Braime
Ladies, the weekend is upon which means it’s almost time to fill up your glass and let your hair down, but before you clock off we’re bringing you a beautifully soft and subtle styled shoot captured at one of our stunning Sponsor venues, Saltmarshe Hall.
Located in East Yorkshire, this elegant country house (where we hold two wedding fairs a year – next one on 22nd October), provided the perfect backdrop for this romantic 1920s shoot that’s brimming with chic dresses and details for your own big day.
Put together by a talented team of Yorkshire-based suppliers, all angles from the décor, cake and stationery to hair, makeup and attire have been covered, giving you plenty of pretty to pour over! Here to give us all the details on the concept and contributors is hair and makeup artist Julia Jeckell…
With images by Aden Priest.
julia says: It’s always really special to collaborate with a team of talented creatives. Working as a hair and makeup artist I am slightly obsessed with looks from past eras and my inspiration for the shoot came from the early 1920’s. I wanted to create a classic, almost understated ‘old world’ ethereal feel, with that classic Englishness of ‘The Bloomsbury’ set, as opposed to the glitz and glamour of the ‘Gatzby’ era.
The location of Saltmarshe Hall, near Howden, East Yorkshire, was the perfect setting for our photoshoot. It was chosen as it is an elegant Grade II listed, 19th Century English country house and complemented our vintage theme perfectly.
In particular, the soft cool tones of the paintwork worked as the perfect backdrop for a dreamy ethereal feel, along with detailing throughout the house worked to stunning effect, especially as some of the bedrooms we used had 1920’s deco style mirrors and vintage features.
Anna Straw of Anna’s Attic, our venue stylist, set up the wedding breakfast tables with a beautiful mix of glass candlesticks, string pearls, a floral centrepiece and handmade vintage doilies in cream and blush pinks. Bespoke pink mirror place cards and menus were created by Lisa Jane of Lisa Jane Creative, who specialises in wedding stationery to reflect our 1920’s deco feel.
A casually placed blush pink runner was used at the front of the top table and dressed with vintage silver bud vases, bottles and pearl strings using pretty cut flowers and vintage style roses in soft pastels with flowing foliage, which was provided by Sarah from All Occasions Florists, Howden.
Flowers were also lined up along the mantle in the ceremony room, which was also used to showcase some other carefully curated feminine items, these included a Doulton 1920’s figurine, strings of pearls, a vintage Chanel bottle and silver bud vase with ostrich feathers in the softest grey and pink and cut blooms, all sat atop a silver mirrored tray.
June 9th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
History runs deep for today’s newlyweds, Laura and Richard, who tied the knot earlier this spring. The couple met at Hampton Court Palace, where their romance and shared passion for books and the past, flourished over time.
So, it comes as no surprise that the pair looked to the National Trust when searching for their perfect wedding venue – instantly falling in love with the charming Quarry Bank, a working mill that dates back to the 1780s.
We think you’re going to be swept away by the personal touches to their big day, including their cute wooden peg cake toppers and second-hand-library-come-favours, which we think is an inspired idea!
With images by Kate Gosney Photography
laura says: We got engaged on 7th April 2016. It’s a tradition between us to have an Easter egg hunt each year, but we hadn’t managed one last Easter. I woke up to a cryptic text message leading me on a treasure hunt around our flat, and just presumed it was a belated egg hunt. When the final clue led to a ring rather than a Lindt bunny, my immediate reaction was one of complete bewilderment, followed by shock. It actually took me over a minute to say yes, during which time Richard worried that he’d seriously misjudged the direction of our five-year relationship. Eventually I calmed down and we proceeded to have a wonderful day, ending with a wonderful dinner up the Oxo Tower, overlooking the Thames.
We got married on 8th April 2017, a year and a day after getting engaged. We both really like spring and it suited both of our work schedules. The other option had been the 1st April, but we worried people might think it was just a joke and not bother turning up!
We got married at St John’s Church Lindow, near Wilmslow, which is the church my mum attends. The vicar has known me for 20 years, which made the service particularly special and personal. He even managed to find a picture of me aged eight to project onto a big screen, much to my embarrassment (and everyone else’s amusement).
The reception was held at Quarry Bank Mill, a few miles away in Styal. We’re both history geeks, so National Trust properties were an obvious place to start looking for a reception venue. Quarry was the first venue we visited and we fell in love with it. The gardens are beautiful, the building is majestic, and the sheer size of the two function rooms was really appealing. On top of that, it wasn’t too expensive.
We didn’t have a particular theme in mind, but as we started planning, it became clear that we wanted the day to have an informal, playful feel, through which we could show our personalities and things we enjoy together.
My engagement ring is a sapphire and by pure coincidence – Richard is a massive QPR fan, so blue was always going to feature in the colour scheme, and we liked the idea of a classic navy with fresh spring greens and pinks to brighten it up. We tried not to be too pedantic about getting the exact matches for colours, which gave us a bit more freedom and we were really pleased with the overall effect.
My amazing Justin Alexander dress was from 7th Heaven Bridal in Congleton, who were extremely helpful and patient. My mum had seen it on the shop’s website and had already decided it would be the dress for me before I had even tried it on. As is often the way with mums, she was absolutely right, and the dress was perfect. The amazing intricacy of the beading and pearl details gave it a timeless, vintage feel and it was totally unique. I didn’t know much about what sort of dress I would go for, but I knew I wanted an interesting back, so fell in love with the beaded butterfly effect and the rouleau buttons. My Charlotte Mills shoes lent a playful touch, with their cobalt blue heart and a sixpence in the sole.
My bridal make-up was courtesy of Beautiful of Wilmslow, and Lindsay had been working on my eyebrows for nine months leading up to the big day. She really understood what I was after and used Airbase make-up to give a really natural, but long lasting look. Vicky Kari did a gorgeous job with the bridesmaids’ hair, and styling the mother of the bride. After a bit of indecision, I felt that because my dress was so detailed, it would be good to keep things simple, so Vicky dried my hair straight and sleek with lots of volume.
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