Charlotte Balbier

twinkle twinkle. a warm winter wedding at the belle epoque – amy & adam

February 3rd, 2015 | Julia Braime

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (47)

Hey, it’s Tuesday and baby it’s cold outside.

Let’s have another warming winter wedding, shall we?

Amy and Adam’s twinkling celebration mixes classically elegant styling with a good dose of merry and bright for their Boxing Day big day. And as you know, at Brides Up North, we love a bit of sparkle

With images by Andrew Keher Photography.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (1)

amy says: We got engaged on Christmas Eve 2013. The ring was on my pillow in the bedroom when I came in from my shift at the hospital. I pretended I hadn’t seen it so I could shower and change out of my uniform first and Adam played along! Adam had a speech prepared but didn’t get very far through it as he was so emotional. We opened the champagne and my parents and brother came round that evening for dinner and we told them the exciting news. Cue more champagne!

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (2)

We got married on Boxing Day 2014. Christmas is a very important time of year for me and my family and we wanted to make it even more special by adding a wedding into the mix. It meant that the usual Boxing Day tradition of staying in pajamas all day had to be jettisoned but nobody seemed to mind.

We chose The Belle Epoque, Knutsford as our venue.

We wanted exclusive use of an intimate, romantic venue and the Belle Epoque was definitely the right fit. It’s lovely all year round, but particularly cosy in the winter with real fires and beautiful decorations. I have a love of all things French and the Art Nouveau feel to the venue made it even more perfect. It’s also got a great reputation for food – we’re big foodies so it was particularly important to give our guests the most delicious wedding breakfast.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (12)

We gave a nod to the 1920s, Great Gatsby style that you can particularly see in the shoes worn by Adam, the best man Andy and my dad, as well as in elements of my dress.

Since Adam and I have been together, he’s introduced me into the world of beer (I was very much a wine and cocktail girl before), especially Belgian beers which we tried plenty of in Bruges – Adam took me there for my 30th - so the tables were names of Belgian beers. Each one had an empty bottle of the beer in on the table with a candle in the middle and a coaster attached using ribbon we had made that said ‘Amy & Adam 26th December 2014’.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (17)

The venue comes already dressed – and beautifully so – so we didn’t want to do too much to it. We added in some candles, cream silk rose petals scattered up the aisle and silver snowflakes and crystal decorations.

My bridesmaid wore cobalt blue and our flower girl wore silver and cobalt blue – we wanted an accent colour to stand out.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (18)

I bought my dress from Timeless Bride, Poynton, a local bridal shop to where my parents live. It was made by Paloma Blanca.

The dress was one of the first I tried on, but not one I initially chose. Janine, the owner of Timeless Bride, suggested I try it on and it was perfect. It was the only dress that made my mum cry when she saw me and I felt beautiful and elegant in it straight away. I didn’t want white, the colour of the dress is champagne and I think this was more flattering for my complexion.

It is a strapless dress, but the dress came with a cape in the same lace that was on the dress. We had a halter neck strap made during alterations out of this. The strap was detachable and the plan was to take it off in the evening, but I loved it so I wore it all day. The seamstress also made a bustle on the dress so I could dance more easily in the evening.

We also added a diamante belt to the dress to accentuate my waist and add some more glamour.

Gemma Hallowell did my hair and make up.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (28)

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (30)

Adam wore tails and a silver cravat from Freedmans in Stockport. He wore two toned shoes from Ebay which looked amazing.

My bridemaid’s dress was from Coast. My mum made the flower girl’s dress.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (33)

Our flowers were from The Flower Lounge, Didsbury.

Sian is a school friend of Adam’s and she was really helpful in the early stages of our wedding planning, suggesting a make-up artist for me, as well as helping us to find our photographer and venue, so when it came to the flowers it had to be The Flower Lounge.

I’ve ordered flowers previously from Sian and have always been really impressed. I had only a very vague idea of what I wanted: a structured bouquet with white flowers only, particularly roses, hand-tied with ribbons and pearls. We trusted Sian completely and she didn’t disappoint. I had a smaller bouquet made for my bridesmaid and button holes for the men.

The Flower Lounge won the region’s Wedding Florist of the Year 2014,

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (35)

We used Andrew Keher.Photography.

I have already recommended Andrew and he is photographing my friend’s wedding in May!

Andy did our engagement shoot earlier in the year and got some stunning images of us, which are on our lounge wall. We were so impressed with them that we had a signature book made using only Andy’s images.

Andy went the extra mile throughout the process, driving to meet us at the venue when we had our menu tasting so he could weigh up best places for photos and get an idea what the venue was like. The ceremony room is candle-lit and very intimate and the whole venue is dimly lit, so it is known as being a difficult place to get excellent wedding photos – we were really touched that Andy came to see it beforehand and feel that this is partly why we got such fantastic shots on the day. He had agreed to stay until the first dance, but ended up staying much later, continuing to work hard to capture some beautiful moments.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (40)

Our wedding stationery (invitations, table plan, menus and name cards) came from Wedding Paraphernalia. A very personalised and excellent place which I’d highly recommend. As the tables were Belgian-beer themed, we sent the coasters for the beers to Jo at Wedding Paraphernalia and she put the table plan together for us.

My mum found little Christmas tree bauble table decorations and had ribbon made that said ‘Amy & Adam, 26th December 2014. These acted both as favours for people to hang on their tree in the years to come and as place cards. Wedding Paraphernalia made name cards for each person which we attached to the bauble with tiny silver pegs (my mum had to hand paint these silver as she couldn’t find silver ones!).The children had finger puppets which went down really well.

We used silver snowflakes and table crystals as well as tealights and tealight holders too. We had Mr and Mrs cushions on our chairs as well as a wooden Mr and Mrs sign on the top table. We also had little chocolates that had wedding quiz question on the wrapper in little silver gauze bags.

My mum took great pleasure finding all of the little extras and organising these for us, for which I’m really grateful as I don’t have a particularly good eye for the little details, nor the patience!

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (42)

Before the tasting at the venue we had a good idea what we wanted, but were blown away by other options when we tasted them and changed the menu completely!

My dad makes the most amazing Christmas cake each year, so we asked him to make one for the wedding. He made it double the depth and it was delicious.

My Aunty Iris made a fantastic Victoria Sponge (my favourite cake) and a beautiful mocha cake which made up the other layers… although that’s not entirely true – the bottom tier of the cake was real, the top two were faux.

My mum decorated all of the tiers. We wanted all aspects of the wedding to be personal to us and were very lucky to have such generous and talented family members who offered to make the cake for us. The time and effort they put into it was incredible and we are truly grateful.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (13)

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (7)

I lived in Quebec for a year, memories from which I hold dear – I wanted some music from there playing, so created playlist of songs for during the drinks reception.

Afterwards, we had an acoustic singer and a DJ.

We heard the singer, Danny Clarke, perform in a local pub and were really impressed with him so booked him pretty much there and then. He played a mixture of indie and well known classics which suited us perfectly. He played 2 x 45 minute sets during the evening.

Our DJ was Nick Campbell, a regular at the venue. He managed to find some pretty obscure songs requested on the night and he was very professional, making none of the typically cheesy wedding DJ announcements.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (52)

We bought my parents a present each to thank them for their generosity, time and patience in the run up and during the day – my dad wore his cufflinks proudly. We bought my mum and engagement ring charm for her charm bracelet.

For our own jewellery, we used The Ring Workshop, Oswestry. We had been into several high street shops and found them most unhelpful, focussing on the sale rather than finding wedding bands we liked and that sat well with my engagement ring. Mark at The Ring Workshop provided a personal service, talking us through available options and helped us decide on the most suitable rings.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (45)

We were really impressed with The Belle Epoque. It is the perfect venue if you want an intimate and romantic setting.

They did all they could to make the day run smoothly and be so memorable, including being flexible in amending running orders, menu options, and sourcing additional beers of our choice for behind the bar.

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (46)

I was most looking forward to walking down the aisle with my Dad, to see Adam waiting for me and looking so happy, surrounding by our closest family and friends. This definitely lived up to expectations and we were all very emotional.

The icing on the cake, and something we couldn’t have planned if we tried, was that it began to snow whilst we were eating our meal! Under Andy’s direction, we braved the cold to get one of our favourite shots of the day. Apparently snow at a wedding is good luck too!

a warm winter wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Andy Keher (53)

We went to Mexico for our honeymoon.  The first week we stayed at Secrets Playa Mujeres in a beach front bungalow, and the second week at Excellence Playa Mujeres where we were upgraded to a two storey suite with plunge pool upstairs on the roof terrace. Both resorts were 5 star adults only all inclusive, service was impeccable throughout, pampering us and making sure we were well fed and topped up with cocktails. Our favourites were the iceburg (beer topped with frozen margarita), and the guava and tamarind margaritas.

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to organise the big things early and don’t be afraid to relinquish control of the smaller things to family and friends. Decide which things are most important to you and then be willing to compromise on others.

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outdoor elegance. a romantic real wedding in the north west – kerry & anthony

November 6th, 2014 | Julia Braime

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (38)

This morning we join newlyweds Kerry and Anthony for their oh-so-pretty wedding in the North West.  A gorgeous gown, beautiful blooms and a softly romantic colour palette proved the perfect recipe for a stunning celebration.

Le sigh.

With images by Julie Lomax Photography.

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (9)

Kerry says: We got engaged in Barcelona. Anthony took me away for the week after my birthday, he made a scrap book with pictures and quotes in it of our time together over the previous 5 years. It included our first Christmas and our first holiday together along with other special occasions. On the back page it read ‘Will you marry me?’ and he was down on one knee when I looked up.

The women in my family all share our wedding anniversary in August. Keeping up with family tradition we chose 9th August 2014. We were married at St Peters Church RC, Middleton. This is a family church, my dad and my granddad made built the entrance to this church and the original altar.

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (10)

The wedding had a rustic country garden feel, with a vintage twist. We are both very down to earth people and wanted people to feel comfortable and enjoy the day. We feel like this came across on the day, a lot of people commented on the feeling of romance in the theme and style.

We chose a colour scheme of vintage mauve, in keeping with the country feel.

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (18)

My wedding dress was a Jenny Packham gown, called Ruby (also my birth stone)! I only tried three wedding dresses on and knew straight away that ‘she’ was the one. It was in keeping with the style and feel of the wedding and I felt a million dollars wearing it.

I bought her from the girls at The White Closet in Didsbury.

Anthony wore a morning suit, in deep navy, with an ivory cravat from Groom in Manchester.

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (22)

The girls wore twobirds Bridesmaid dresses, They loved them! Everyone commented on how gorgeous they looked. The girls wore their dresses differently, to reflect their different personalities and styles. The colour I wanted had not been released in the UK so had to be shipped to the shop from America.

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (26)

We had a VW camper Van, our all-time favourite! We hired her from Nick Connah Camper Hire. The guests travelled in a 1961 AEC Bridge Master vintage bus hired from Yorkshire Heritage Bus Company.

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (34)

Our photographer was Julie Lomax, We met her at a wedding fair in Manchester. She was very approachable and very professional, however after spending time with her felt like she was a long-time friend. She knew exactly how we wanted our wedding photographing and it really felt like she was one of our guests on our wedding day. We were totally at ease working with her.

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (39)

Rebecca Reville was our videographer.  We cant wait to see her master piece from our wedding day, another amazingly talented person who made our day so special. She worked amazingly well with Julie our photographer!

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (41)

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (48)

We had birdcages with tea lights hanging from the inner side of the cage. This sat on a bed of flowers (in keeping with flowers in my bouquet) and in the centre was a layer of moss, sitting on a tree trunk plinth.

Scattered on the table were numerous tea light holder in different sizes and styles. These really added to the country garden effect and added that extra romance in the evening once it had gone dark.

Our flowers were by the amazing Victoria from Lancashire Floristry. Her hard work and commitment in the run up to our wedding day was outstanding. I loved my flowers!

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (45)

Everyone received a scratch card and a miniature spirit bottle, these were in a personalised favour box with our names and the date of the wedding. These were printed by Cotton Letterpress. We individualised the favour boxes by giving each person their favourite spirit.

Our cake was four tiers made by the wonderful Rachel Hanna, owner of Marie Antoinette Cakes.

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (52)

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (47)

Sheila O’Sullivan our wedding singer sang in the Church, adding to the romance with her perfect voice. There wasn’t a dry eye in the church! Our wedding guests still comment on her talent.

We hired a casino and a magician to keep everyone entertained whilst we had our pictures.

Our band for the evening cancelled on us on the week before the wedding, after being booked for 14months. After everyone chipping in to help find a replacement, Champagne Skies came to the rescue. They were amazing and totally pulled it out of the bag for us.

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (54)

My favourite part of the day was walking down the aisle. It was day I dreamt about for so long. I couldn’t wait to see Anthony and his reaction when he saw me, but I also knew that once I got to the end of the aisle and met him, I’d soon be his wife. After 9 years together, it was a moment I was so looking forward to.

For our honeymoon we went to Mexico, Rivera Maya. It was total luxury and relaxation. We had both worked so hard in the 12 months before the wedding and it was just what we needed. We spent two weeks bonding and being together. Plus Anthony surprised me to swimming with Dolphins during our second week out there, number one on my bucket list! Daily massages on the beach, tea on the beach in the evenings and plenty of drunken nights on tequila.

vintage mauve countryside wedding (c) Julie Lomax Photography (56)

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be that although at times the planning can be very stressful, remember the main reason why you are doing it. It really will be the best day of your lives if you relax and take it all in. Make sure you make time for each other on the day too! It goes so quickly and before you know it, it’s the last dance, but make sure to enjoy the day together, we stayed by each other’s side throughout the day.

If I had the chance to do it all again tomorrow… I would!

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Grand Designs. A 1920s Inspired DIY Village Hall Wedding In Cheshire – Hayley & Matt

July 14th, 2014 | Julia Braime

1920s DIY Village Hall Wedding In Cheshire (c) Cassandra Lane Photography

Welcome to Monday, Brides Up North! I’m here to make it all the prettier with this cute and stylish celebration sent to me by real bride Hayley, her new husband Matt and their photographer, Cassandra Lane.

Crafty designer Hayley worked hard to add unique decorative touches to their 1920s inspired Village Hall wedding day, with fabulous results.

Be inspired!

1920s DIY Village Hall Wedding In Cheshire (c) Cassandra Lane Photography

Hayley says: We got engaged a little after midnight New Year 2012-2013 in our own home in Nantwich. We had had a nice quiet new year in together and Matt shocked me by saying he had a late Christmas, early birthday present for me. He disappeared upstairs and came back with a box, got down on one knee and proposed! He had bought a cheap costume jewellery ring as he couldn’t choose a real one for me. We picked my real ring together on my 30th birthday (one to remember!) on 3rd January in York where we were visiting for my birthday. It was the best birthday ever!

1920s DIY Village Hall Wedding In Cheshire (c) Cassandra Lane Photography

We got married on April 5th 2014 as it was just a few days over three years since we moved into our first place together. We also didn’t want a very long engagement and actually fifteen months was the perfect time to enjoy being engaged and get organised.

1920s DIY Village Hall Wedding In Cheshire (c) Cassandra Lane Photography

1920s DIY Village Hall Wedding In Cheshire (c) Cassandra Lane Photography

We got married in the local church in town (Nantwich, Cheshire) which is beautiful, and our reception was at a local nearby village hall (Wrenbury Village Hall). We weren’t keen on the very formal, grand hotel reception family wedding affairs we had been to in the last few years and wanted somewhere we could decorate ourselves, do our own thing.

1920s DIY Village Hall Wedding In Cheshire (c) Cassandra Lane Photography

Our theme was handmade, vintage 1920’s art deco style, and lavender. The main colours were lavender purple and vintage gold. The colours just came with the theme really but I love purple and the gold fitted the vintage theme.

1920s DIY Village Hall Wedding In Cheshire (c) Cassandra Lane Photography

We hired a cream Morris Minor (Matt is obsessed!) from Mirabelle Classic Cars

My bridesmaids travelled in a vintage Rover from the 1930s which belongs to a friend of Matts. He drove it for us as our wedding present.

1920s DIY Village Hall Wedding In Cheshire (c) Cassandra Lane Photography

My dress was Sincerity Bridal 3730. I did a bit of research online before going to any boutiques and fell in love almost instantly! When I tried it on at Brides of Liverpool in Liverpool (my home city) I knew it was the one. No other dress I tried on subsequently lived up to it so the deposit was paid!

I love the dress because it’s quite vintage looking with a modern twist. Very classic looking. It made me feel really elegant. I knew I wanted lace, and the neckline was perfect because I didn’t want bare shoulders. The train was gorgeous and the dress also fitted in perfect with my idea for a 1920s style headband.

I chose gold glittery heels from Kurt Geiger. My flapper style headband was handmade by mum using a 1930s vintage brooch which was a gift from Matt.

My younger sister Charlotte was my matron of honour. She wore a knee length handmade silk dress made by my mum in a lavender colour. My two flower girls (our nieces Phoebe and Eve) wore handmade pale gold silk dresses made by myself and mum. They carried handmade Suffolk puff pomanders.

1920s DIY Village Hall Wedding In Cheshire (c) Cassandra Lane Photography

1920s DIY Village Hall Wedding In Cheshire (c) Cassandra Lane Photography

1920s DIY Village Hall Wedding In Cheshire (c) Cassandra Lane Photography

Matt wore a Prince Edward suit in dark brown from Formally Yours online. He had a pale gold waistcoat and cravat. My dad, his dad and his two brothers (best men) all wore the same. The style of his suit really complemented the vintage style of my dress.

Matt and all the men also wore buttonholes which I made to complement my bouquet.

1920s DIY Village Hall Wedding In Cheshire (c) Cassandra Lane Photography

1920s DIY Village Hall Wedding In Cheshire (c) Cassandra Lane Photography

I made my own bouquet using cream silk, artificial flowers, and vintage brooches (which I sourced on eBay and charity shops/car boot sales). My sisters bouquet was very similar with one key brooch in the centre. I’m a designer, and therefore very creative so was obsessed with doing a lot for my wedding myself. I also wanted to keep my bouquet so a keepsake bouquet was perfect. 

1920s DIY Village Hall Wedding In Cheshire (c) Cassandra Lane Photography

1920s DIY Village Hall Wedding In Cheshire (c) Cassandra Lane Photography

Cassandra Lane was our photographer, she was amazing. She made us feel comfortable every time we met (our initial meeting and engagement shoot). On the day she was chilled out, friendly and very well organised. We all squeezed into my tiny terraced house! I fell in love with Cass’s vintage relaxed style from her blog and website when searching for a wedding photographer. I just knew she was what we were after. I’d definitely recommend Cass!

1920s DIY Village Hall Wedding In Cheshire (c) Cassandra Lane Photography

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Real Wedding Recap Summer 2014: Good Music, Good Food, Good Times! A Real Wedding In Yorkshire – Vicky & Paul

June 23rd, 2014 | Julia Braime

Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break to redesign, review and recharge, 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 7th July 2014,  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.

Andy Gaines Creative

I loved every moment of putting together Vicky & Paul’s Real Wedding feature back in February this year. You see, the bride and I go way back, as I used to go out with her lovely brother Neil at University.  Although it didn’t work out for us (and Neil is now happily married himself to a gorgeous lady!) I’m glad to say that we still keep in touch, and that it did work out ever so well for Neil’s little sister Vicky and one of our Uni mates, Paul. 

Knowing Vicky, I knew her wedding celebration was going to be big, colourful and offbeat… and couldn’t wait to see her submission.  I was exactly right:  Vicky and Paul’s wedding was a fabulous day full of feeling, personality, beauty and fun.

Bravo Mrs Hough!

With images by Andy Gaines.

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Vicky says:  Paul and I first met when I went to visit my brother Neil at University in 2003. We got together four years later in early 2007 after meeting up again and Paul plucked up the courage to ask my brother if he could go out with me!

Andy Gaines Creative

Paul and I aren’t a very traditional couple and I suppose it follows that our engagement wasn’t either. One evening out of the blue and in the run up to our five year anniversary, Paul asked me to go online and pick out what my ideal engagement ring would look like. The task itself was easy as like many other girlfriends, I’d been looking at rings for months but this was the first time he’d ever uttered the ‘E’ word and I was beside myself with excitement. The fact, however, that it was a vintage ring not available to buy immediately online was something Paul was not prepared for. His solution was to take me to London to spend a day trying on diamond rings… it was tough, but I accepted the challenge! By a stroke of luck the exact ring I’d seen online was still there and after purchasing I was one happy bunny. However we still weren’t actually engaged yet so back it went into the box.

About a week later, we were getting ready to go out and I was running spectacularly late. Running downstairs with fluffy hair and makeup half on, I noticed that our song was playing, and as I turned the corner into the lounge, Paul was there on one knee. Paul has never been one for grand romantic gestures, and you know what, getting engaged in our little house, listening to our song, with just the two of us, was perfect

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Our wedding day was the day of the deluge – 6th September 2013. After decorating the hall in temperatures pushing 30 degrees on the Thursday, my heart sunk when I woke to a total downpour and grey skies on our wedding day. However, once the day got into full flow, the rain added a comedy element (watching people running under the cover of umbrellas), a dramatic element (fabulously moody skies in our photos) and ultimately created a fantastic cosy, party atmosphere for the meal and evening dancing. Plus as my friend texted me ‘Better that 2 beautiful people get married in the rain, than 2 mingers get married in the sun’ – brilliant!

Andy Gaines Creative

We chose to say “I do” at a beautifully refurbished old barn at East Riddlesden Hall, Yorkshire. 

I’m a country lass, growing up in the wilds of Norfolk and I desperately wanted to get married in somewhere I felt had that element of the countryside. Now finding a barn in Norfolk would have pretty easy but our hearts were set on getting wed in the county we had met and begun our lives together. Despite its proximity to the Dales, there are few barns to choose from in reach of Leeds, so we weren’t sure what we’d find at East Riddlesden Hall. Our first trip there was a gloriously sunny day and the place combined a sense of rural beauty and aged grandeur. Emma, who is the wedding planner was so helpful and relaxed, taking on board all our ideas and answering our questions. It is pretty fair to say that we were smitten as soon as we entered the barn. Even undecorated, the place looks stunning; with exposed beams, flagstone floors and whitewashed walls dotted with tiny windows. As a keen crafty-type, the thought of such a beautiful blank canvas to work on was a dream come true. The venue is also run by the National Trust and the thought that we were investing in the future of such a beautiful place was the icing on the cake.

It must be said that the staff at ERH are brilliant and they have put so much work into making this a fantastic wedding venue. Particular thanks go to Emma and Sam who were on hand to chauffeur people and perform emergency cake decorating duties. The in-house bar run by ERH served a great selection of drinks, including locally brewed beers, much to my husband’s delight. Having such dedicated staff all working tirelessly, made a huge difference to the day.

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

I began by actively rebelling against having a theme as I am, by nature, unable to decide on any one thing (except for a husband of course). Our wedding motto was ‘good music, good food and good times’. I knew I didn’t want anything matchy-matchy (I always think that allowing things to be a little rough round the edges means you can be a bit more flexible!). Plus as we decided to get married in a beautiful old barn, anything too polished would have looked out of place. We just wanted ourselves and our guests to feel relaxed, included and have an awesome time.

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

As time went on and my Pinterest account bulged with pictures that had caught my eye, I realised that bright colours and handmade details kept appearing in my selections. I decided that whilst I wouldn’t outlaw any particular colours, I would focus on blues, purples, white and add touches of gold (if only to force me in making decisions on decorations). I have always been obsessed by peacock feathers so they played a big role in tying decorations together too.

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

The glamorous and very lovely Anna Stephenson was a joy to have doing my hair and makeup. We spent the entire trial run chatting and laughing and the final look was exactly as I wanted. Anna and Lucy turned up early and were so flexible with how we wanted to organise the morning, it put me at ease and I absolutely loved the whole getting ready part of the day. Despite a lot of dancing and a bit of limboing, both hair and makeup stayed put the entire day.

Andy Gaines Creative

The dress! Such a big decision! And one I made in a single day! I spent hours, nay days, looking at dresses – shapes, lengths, decorations, straps – the choice is bewildering and I had absolutely no idea what I wanted. Facing this uncertainty, I decided to leave my first wedding dress shop until my mum could accompany me. Now one of my mum’s best qualities is that she wears her heart on her sleeve. After 14 dresses, none of them were meeting with much excitement. That is until I tried on an ivory crinkle chiffon, one strap, corset dress with sweetheart neckline at Confetti and Lace in Stanningley. After looking in the mirror and deciding I really quite liked this one, I looked up at Mum who had tears rolling down her face. Either I looked bloody awful and she was in despair, or it was ‘the one’. Luckily after a few moments I established it was the latter and I bought it on the spot. The women at Confetti and Lace were fantastic and helped me alter the dress by removing all crystal detailing and the strap, so the individualist in me is quite proud to say my dress is a one off.

With such a clean cut dress, the detailing in my outfit came from a fascinator I made with blue, purple and white flowers decorated with pearls. My shoes were bright blue vintage style sling backs from Rocket Dog. For my jewellery, I decided to wear a gold chain with my grandmothers’ wedding rings hung on it, so I could feel like they were part of the day. As a wedding gift, Mum also gave me a gold heart locket that had belonged to my grandmother who had worn it almost every day. I felt a strange mix of sadness and pride, and the fact the Mum was giving it to me was very, very, special indeed.

Paul wore a gorgeous bright blue fitted 3-piece suit from Reiss with brown brogues from Hudson. I may be biased but I thought he looked pretty damn handsome.

Andy Gaines Creative

I wanted my bridesmaids to feel comfortable and glamorous so opted for navy blue 1940s style dresses from Phase Eight. I then bought them some amazing chunky necklaces from Ashley at TheEnchantedOwl on Etsy, sent all the way from Georgia, USA. The bright purple looped in the colours from the decorations and the girls all looked beautiful!

The groomsmen all wore grey 3-piece suits hired from Slaters. They were accessorised with purple ties, Hawaiian-print pocket squares and my homemade peacock feather buttonholes tied with navy blue ribbon.

Andy Gaines Creative

I carried a beautiful mix of flowers by the ever so lovely Lynne of Stems Design. Deep pink Celoxia, bright blue Nigella, light pink astilbe, Blue Veronica, Scabious, Blue Wax, Cornflower, various grasses, tiny succulents and of course, peacock feathers. Lynne was a joy to work with, so enthusiastic and full of ideas – the final result was stunning.

Andy Gaines Creative

I was originally planning on going down in a taxi with my bridesmaids but my Dad took an uncharacteristic step in intervening. He said that he would arrange my transport but refused to reveal what it would be. I had nightmarish visions of going side-saddle on a horse or riding pillion on a quadbike. As it turns out, my Dad and Brother, Neil (who was also our best man) had spent the previous night decorating Neil’s car with white ribbons, stashing a bottle of champagne in the back seat and recording an eclectic pre-wedding message and playlist. Little did I imagine that the last song I would hear before I entered the world of marriage would be Gangnam Style!

It was a very special time to have with Dad, who drove us. He was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of the year and I am fiercely proud of how he dealt with it with humour and love, having a precious few minutes talking and laughing with just the two of us was very important to me.

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Wedding readings were really hard to decide on – we wanted to strike a balance between celebratory, real and emotional but absolutely not smush. After much searching we opted for the lyrics from Noah and the Whale’s ‘Give a Little Love’ and an extract from ‘The Game’. There were many chins a quiver by the end – it really was a memorable moment.

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Special thanks must go to Geoff, our fantastic registrar from Keighley Council. He completely put us at ease, conducted the ceremony with heart and humour.

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Paul and I are super foodies, not in the foams and micro-herb type of way but in the yummy, fill-you-up type of way. With this in mind, the food at our wedding was pretty important and the fine fayre served up by the people at GFS Catering was exceptionally good. Goat’s cheese tarts for starters, Lamb shanks and mash for mains and chocolate profiteroles for pudding were all delicious crowd-pleasers. An evening buffet of sausage baps and halloumi pittas served to mop up some of the great selection of drinks also served up by GFS with the help of the brilliant Martinez Wines in Ilkley. Special thanks to Alex from GFS who was such a great help on the day, finding alternatives to unknown food allergies and making sure each course flowed into the next seamlessly.

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Cake wasn’t high on our priorities so we used up some vouchers and opted for three layers of M&S loveliness. I then decorated with homemade flower crown and mini glitter bunting. All in all a pretty little cake which cost us less than £10! In the end I’m glad we didn’t spend loads on the cake, because by the time it came to try it, it had all gone!

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines, our photographer, was the very first wedding-related enquiry I made, even before we had a date or a venue. His photographs are stunning. They have this gritty yet ethereal quality that I find fascinating. Plus Andy himself is a blooming lovely chap – so welcoming, unobtrusive and damn talented. Andy worked like a ninja-trooper on our wedding day, capturing shots whilst keeping out of the way and staying from morning ‘til way past everyone’s bedtimes in order to capture our day. Everyone has commented on how awesome the pictures are, with even my normally-bored-silly-by-photos Dad confessing and I quote, ‘Fantastic photos – absolutely brill.  Can’t wait to see the rest!’. Andy’s gone from strength to strength in the two years we’ve known him and it’s not hard to see why.

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

We employed the fantastic talents of Rachel from Simply Vintage to help us decorate the huge space. Rachel strung a plethora of fairy lights, colourful pom poms with peacock feathers and white lace bunting across the beams. I then decided to make a lot of the decorations myself, including props for the tables, peacock name places and adding little splashes of our personalities across the barn, including photographs of my grandparents on their wedding days. I think however, the biggest and most complex decoration was our sequin LOVE sign. This beast was lovingly crafted out of gold sprayed MDF letters and sequins individually nailed on. It took a hell of a lot of work but looked pretty darn good strung up on the barn beams and glistening in the fairy lights.

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Without a doubt the speeches was my favourite part of the day.  2013 was a tough year having had both my Dad and Paul’s Mum diagnosed with cancer within a couple of months of each other. Dad’s speech was emotional – not only because of what we were going through at the time but because it reaffirmed just how much I owe to my fantastic family. He laughed about my unrivalled ability to be untidy, spoke about the time I drew a picture of him stark naked much to the disapproval of my nursery teachers (but to the hilarity of my parents!) and how he was so proud of me despite having no idea what my job title actually means.

Paul’s speech talked of how he did the unthinkable and asked out his best friend’s sister, how darn well it had all worked out and even how despite his hatred of clichés, he thought we were made for each other!

Then it was the turn of my older brother Neil to give the best man’s speech. I wondered if he might take this opportunity for the ultimate teasing of his little sister but I needn’t have worried as he mostly concentrated on his best friend and long-time drinking partner, my husband! Superbly written and with touches of comic brilliance, it was the ultimate tribute to Paul and I being both deeply personal and evoking fantastic memories. I will always be thankful to him for the effort he put into the speech. Oh and not to forget our wedding present – a canvas featuring our Back to Future drinking game– rather nattily named by myself as ‘Flux Incapacitated’ – I thank you!

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Music is big in our house, so we always knew it would feature a lot in the wedding. We employed the gorgeous sounds of the Northern String Quartet for the ceremony, playing a mixture of old and new for the waiting guests. I walked down the aisle to ‘Here Comes the Sun’ which was just gorgeous. During the signing were the sublime ‘One Day like this’, God only knows’, and ‘All you need is Love’. Then I entered the world as Mrs Hough to sounds of ‘Hoppipolla’ which was such an uplifting way to end the ceremony.

For the evening, we had the brilliant City Lights who blew our socks off with a great mix of modern tunes and some classic floor fillers, kicking off the set with a stonking rendition of ‘Got my mind set on you’ by George Harrison.

The evening celebrations were added to by some unorthodox entertainment in the form of glow sticks. What was an off the cuff purchase reminiscent of my raving days, became the biggest success of the day. Never did I think I’d witness friends of my parents fighting over who would get the glow bunny ears! The glow stick limbo was a total stroke of genius and made for some memorable photos!

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

We decided to delay our honeymoon both because we had no money left and the weather in Thailand is much better at this time of the year. So in but a few weeks time, we’ll be heading off to Thai cities and shorelines.

Andy Gaines Creative

Andy Gaines Creative

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to decide where you want to focus your efforts and your money – for us it was the look and feel of the venue, excellent food and awesome music. Wedding preparation is hard so don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to do too much. I absolutely adored being engaged and putting my heart and soul into planning our wedding day and I’m so glad we had the time to enjoy it all.

Andy Gaines Creative

Congratulations Vicky & Paul!

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014

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Simply Stunning. Lace & Tulle For A Modern Real Wedding At Statham Lodge, Cheshire – Sarah & Gavin

March 24th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Amanda Balmain

Welcome to another week Brides Up North!  Any “I do”s over the weekend?

This was Team Brides Up North’s first weekend off in quite a long while, and I spent it catching up on sleep, enjoying some quality family time and sampling a few real ales at our village beer festival.  Although I still prefer a chilled Sauvignon Blanc, there’s definitely a place in my life for a pint of pale ale, a pork pie and peas and rocking out to a questionable The Killers tribute act with my one year old on my hip of a Saturday afternoon!

However you spent yours, I hope it was glorious.

Talking of great occasions, let’s get things kicked off around here with a trip to Cheshire to celebrate the nuptials of Sarah & Gavin, who wanted a pretty yet modern feel for their big day.  Here at wedding blog HQ we are loving Sarah’s gown – which proves that lace and tulle can look contemporary as well as vintage.  Just lovely.  

With images by Amanda Balmain.

Amanda Balmain

Amanda Balmain

Amanda Balmain

Sarah says:  We got engaged on my birthday in January 2012 in Barcelona, where Gav had taken me for a birthday weekend away, and we were married don 26th October 2013 at Statham Lodge Country House Hotel in Lymm, Cheshire. 

Amanda Balmain

We wanted a venue where we could hold the whole day and night without doing any travelling and where we and our guests could stay overnight. We looked at lots of places but Statham Lodge was our favourite from the start. The building and grounds were beautiful and we liked that there were different rooms for each part of the day and evening so we felt like we had plenty of space. It has lots of character but as it’s family run it felt quite intimate and not too grand, and the staff were so friendly and couldn’t do enough for us – they really made a difference to the day. We also got an amazing out of season package which included the food, drink, DJ… there wasn’t much we actually had to worry about!

Amanda Balmain

Amanda Balmain

Amanda Balmain

I love lace so that was a thread which ran throughout everything, but I didn’t want to go down the vintage route so tried to keep it quite sleek, modern and laid back.  Our colours were deep purple and grey. We really didn’t want ‘Cadbury’s purple’ which is a popular shade for weddings, so trying to find everything in the right shade was a challenge! It’s the one thing I was really particular about!

Amanda Balmain

I chose a Blue by Enzoani dress which I bought from Dreamcatcher Bridal in Kirkham, Preston, and wore it with an amazing belt from Sash & Co. I loved the heavy lace top which was very fitted down to my hips, then the lace faded into a gorgeous tulle skirt which made me feel so special but not too over the top. The belt and lace trim veil I wore were both stunning and were the perfect finishing touches.

Amanda Balmain

Gav and the groomsmen wore light grey three piece suits from Slaters, Liverpool, with deep purple ties and Gav wore a pale grey tie to set him apart from the others. They all looked so smart and the tie, rather than a cravat, made them look and feel much more laid back which is exactly what we wanted.

My three bridesmaids wore purple chiffon maxi dresses from H&M which were a real bargain and the colour was spot on! My lovely designer friend Amy Saville altered them to fit perfectly, adding an extra layer for length and adding the lace cap sleeves and V insert at the back which tied them in with the lace theme. They all looked so beautiful!

Our one year old nephew, Jack, was a page boy and wore the cutest grey suit from Next, while our one year old nieces, Josephine and Chloe, wore ivory dresses from Ted Baker at Debenhams.

Amanda Balmain

Amanda Balmain

As we had the ceremony, wedding breakfast and evening reception in the same place we didn’t need to travel anywhere. I arrived at the venue with my Mum and Dad which was nice as we got to spend some time alone in the car on the way, and everyone met us there to get ready and start the day at Statham Lodge!

Amanda Balmain

I carried a small teardrop bouquet made up of ivory mini orchids and freesias and a couple of deep purple flowers to match the colour theme.  My bridesmaids carried small posies of ivory freesias and the Mum’s and groomsmen all had orchid button holes.  Our flowers were by 2lips Florists in Stockton Heath. 

Amanda Balmain

Amanda Balmain

The music during the ceremony made it really special for us, as we chose the string versions of some of our favourite songs. I walked down the aisle to the strings version of U2’s “With Or Without You” and it still makes me a bit teary when I hear it now!

Amanda Balmain

Amanda Balmain

Amanda Balmain

Amanda Balmain

Amanda Balmain

Amanda Balmain

Amanda Balmain

Amanda Balmain

Amanda Balmain was our photographer and is a genius at capturing those little moments and the general feeling of the day.

Amanda Balmain

Amanda Balmain

Amanda Balmain

Amanda Balmain

We tried to keep the day as small and personal as possible, so I made a lot myself, including the invitations, centre pieces, place names and favours. I made use of lots of small online retailers to source my many materials!  The favours which were wine glass charms with each person’s initial as a charm.

Amanda Balmain

Amanda Balmain

My favourite part of our wedding was the speeches, I loved seeing everyone together, having a good time and enjoying the day. My Dad had been nervous about his speech since the minute we got engaged but I was so proud of him, and of Gav and his best man and brother, Jon, who all got the balance of emotional and funny just right! Gav says his favourite part was when I walked down the aisle, which is very sweet of him and despite concentrating so hard on not crying was also one of my favourite bits.

Amanda Balmain

Amanda Balmain

The casino by Fun Casino Royale before the evening ceremony was a lot of fun and kept that day to evening part really upbeat, and at night we just wanted everyone to dance so had Dave Buck as a DJ, who came as part of the Statham Lodge package and was brilliant!

Amanda Balmain

Our honeymoon really was our trip of a lifetime, we went to San Francisco, Las Vegas, LA and finished with a week of all inclusive luxury in Mexico. It was really important to us to not get carried away and overspend on the wedding so we could go all out on our honeymoon and do a trip that we’ve always wanted to do, and the best decision we made was booking the honeymoon for January so we really stretched out the whole wedding experience and there were no January blues for us!

Amanda Balmain

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be: honestly, don’t stress! Do what you want to do and don’t worry too much about all the little details. People are there to see you get married and as long as you’re having the best time, so will they.

Amanda Balmain

Congratulations Sarah & Gavin!

Fancy seeing your own Real Wedding on Brides Up North?  Here’s how.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Amanda Balmain

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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