Charlotte Balbier

a winter’s tale. maggie sottero for a contemporary wedding in derbyshire – danni & rich

April 18th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

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We’re easing you back into the four day week by featuring the beautiful big day of Danni and Rich, who tied the knot last November after more than six years together.

They exchanged vows in their parish church in Melbourne, Derbyshire, and then celebrated at one of their favourite local venues, Amalfi White – a stunning restaurant and cocktail bar complete with a contemporary ballroom.

We just love the couple’s special touches throughout the day, which included a nod to their love of books, and also lots of glorious sweet treats in the form of a dessert table.

Wih images from Ragdoll Photography

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danni says: Rich had a ring, ready to propose for a while, so when we booked a last-minute trip to Rome in June 2015, he decided to pop the question, which was incredible! We’ve been together for over six years (four-and-a-half when he proposed) so we’ve always talked about it, but it still took me by complete surprise. I’d always said please, please do not propose in front of anyone, so he tried a few times in various super romantic locations but every time he was about to get down on one knee (unbeknown to me) a crowd of people would come along. In the end, he proposed in our hotel room at the end of a perfect evening. I was in my pyjamas but immediately after saying yes got dressed and we went out for champagne.

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We got married on 25th November 2016, which has always been a special time of the year for us. Our first date was on 22nd November 2010 and Rich’s mum’s birthday, who sadly passed away ten years ago, would have been on 27th November. So, this date was a way to honour Rich’s ,um.

We tied the knot in Melbourne, Derbyshire, which is the village we live in. We got married at Melbourne Parish Church. Angela, the vicar, is amazing (she was extremely patient with me when I sobbed my way through our vows) and we were so glad that it was her who married us.

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Our reception was at The Ballroom at Amalfi White. It’s where we celebrated buying our first home and is literally our local as it’s along the road. We wanted a very relaxed day full of lovely food and drinks and our favourite people so it felt perfect to be somewhere we loved and where we would feel comfortable.

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We didn’t have a particular theme. Overall, we just wanted it to be relaxed with great lighting so that it felt atmospheric and romantic. The combination of chandeliers on dimmers, light-up ‘love’ letters and candles as table centre pieces looked beautiful together.

We knew we wanted to entwine our love of books into the day and do this in a subtle way. Our table names were Minas Tirith, Hogwarts and The Shire (Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter references) and we had quotes from F Scott Fitzgerald (our new surname is Fitzgerald) dotted around.

We’re also Christmas fanatics, so Amalfi White put the Christmas decorations up and we had some of our favourite Christmas songs on our playlist in the evening.

There was no particular colour scheme. I don’t like anything to be ‘matchy matchy’ so all of the bridesmaids wore different dresses in complementing shades and we kept decorations soft and neutral. We used burgundy ribbons in the flowers and burgundy ties and pocket squares to give a bit of depth and winter warmth to the neutral colour palette.

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understated charm. a pared back wedding at the mill hotel – beci & paul

January 31st, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

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Today’s newlyweds, Beci and Paul, tied the knot in summer 2016, exchanging their vows in the magnificent Keele University Chapel.

Their celebrations took place in the nearby Mill Hotel in Stone, a former working mill that dates back to 1795 and offers heritage and charm in abundance.

We love the fact that the couple opted for simplicity throughout their special day, with a beautiful pastel wedding colour scheme; a yellow, red and white bouquet for the bride; and – a personal highlight – cupcakes for a cake!

With images by Ragdoll Photography

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beci says: We got engaged in Stone, by St Michael’s Church, on 12th July 2015. I had been nagging Paul for months to propose! That morning, I knew he had been ring shopping with my mum and quizzed him about it when he returned home. He said that he and my mum had disagreed about what ring I would like and therefore they didn’t get one. It turns out they had bought a ring after all and he proposed a few hours later!

We got married on 23rd July. Paul is a teacher and my mum is too, so the 23rd July was a week after his term finished and the day after my mum’s, so it meant we had the whole holiday break as newlyweds before getting back to ‘real life’.

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We tied the knot at the Keele University Chapel. This is where I currently study and both my sister and mum studied there, too. I will also be doing my Masters there next year, so it’s a place that’s central to our lives. Plus, we love the look of the building and how majestic it is!

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We wanted to keep things simple, as we are a very laid-back couple, so we didn’t really have a theme as such, but would describe our wedding style as a touch of vintage.

We chose pastel colours, mainly blue, as our colour scheme. We settled on blue in the end because that was the colour that best suited my maid of honour and so having bought her dress, it made sense to have the colour scheme to match.

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When it came to finding my dress, I felt like I had tried on every dress in every shop for miles! However, I soon found a style that fitted my shape best. I eventually decided on the first dress I tried on from Elle Louise Bridal in Newcastle-Under-Lyme.

Paul’s mum bought his suit in the Netherlands, as this is where he lived before getting married.

We had my maid of honour’s dress made to fit from Fairytales by Sherry, which is in Newcastle-Under-Lyme. The rest of the bridesmaids and groomsmen all wore their own suits and dresses to match our colour, as we wanted them to feel fully comfortable in what they were wearing.

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country class. a vintage wedding at goldstone hall hotel – claire & phil

October 15th, 2015 | Julia Braime

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The setting for today’s real wedding is rurally located Georgian manor house hotel with beautiful gardens and countryside views.

It ticked all the right boxes for bride Claire and groom Phil, as they had their hearts set on a relaxed vintage wedding that they could enjoy partly outdoors.

To the hotel’s impressive events space, the couple added homemade decorations to help set the scene whilst also putting an individual stamp on their big day. The result is both pretty and personal!

With images by Ragdoll Photography.

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claire says: We got engaged on 24th July 2012, which was our tenth anniversary. I was in bed after having had an anaesthetic for a minor procedure during the day. Phil made a trail of candles from the bedroom to the bottom of the garden where, under a tree hung with dozens of nightlights, a table was laid with chocolates and champagne. A portable stereo was playing ‘our song’ – I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing. On the stroke of midnight Phil woke me up and said “follow the candles” then went down the garden before I’d fully woken. When I arrived Phil proposed – I said yes, of course.

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Our wedding was on 24th July 2015. This was the date of our first kiss and the date Phil proposed on our tenth anniversary. The date is also 24-7, which is kind of cool and was used on the stationery.

Our chosen venue was Goldstone Hall Hotel. It was the perfect venue and it was available for the date we wanted.

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We decided a vintage chic theme as we wanted a relaxed and informal semi-outdoor wedding. In terms of colours, our bridesmaids were in dusky pink and the groom and groomsmen were in beige and cream.

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My wedding dress was a floor length vintage lace design over light toffee with heavy embroidery and pearls. It fitted in well with the vintage theme.

Phil wore beige chinos, a taupe shirt and a brown wool waistcoat. He decided against wearing a jacket or tie.

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Rosie Hunt of Ragdoll Photography captured our wedding day. We would definitely recommend her to anyone; she is very sweet, genuine and unassuming which makes her really relaxing and fun to work with. Her style is nicely alternative with a retro eye and her framing and background choices really lend themselves to a fun, creative, vintage theme. We requested unplanned ad-hoc shots to capture the essence of the day and Rosie provided these wonderfully. We were very happy with our photos.

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My wedding bouquet was made up of roses, eucalyptus and gypsophila, provided by Alexandra Maccioni. For decoration we had posies which matched my bouquet displayed in vintage silver tea pots.

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As favours we gave small sweet jars with mixed penny sweets to the men and test tubes filled with strawberry and cream liqueur to the ladies.

Our wedding cake was a three tier design with sugar flowers made by Tracey Williment Cakes. Each tier was a different flavour: carrot cake, ginger cake and fruit cake.

For our wedding breakfast we chose to keep things relaxed with an afternoon tea served with a selection of white, red and rose wines. We hired vintage crockery and cutlery from The Vintage Occasion, who we would recommend as they deliver and collect across a large area and were happy to tailor their package to suit our requirements.

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To provide some live entertainment we hired Miss Fortunes, vintage style trio singers. Strictly Weddings then provided a DJ, lighting, large illuminated letters and a bubble machine.

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We would definitely recommend Godstone Hall Hotel to other couples. The venue has dining rooms and conservatories on the main house, an oak pavilion licenced for marriages in the gardens and a marquee leading from the house suitable for evening receptions.

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After the wedding we went on honeymoon to Paradise Cove, a boutique hotel in the north of Mauritius. It’s a beautiful hotel with only 68 rooms in a great location and the staff were all wonderful. Even though it was their winter the weather was great and we got to explore the island, go on boat trips, sunbathe lots and drink plenty of local rum.

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My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to book your venue as early as possible – the good ones go really quickly, sometimes years in advance. Everything else falls into place after that. Also, make as many of the extra touches as you can (Hobbycraft is great!), as it makes the day personal and gets you more involved.

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time travellers. justin alexander for a back to the future wedding in cheshire – lisa & david

September 21st, 2015 | Julia Braime

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The styling of today’s real wedding was inspired not by the season or the venue, but by the groom’s favourite film – back to the future. Though a cult classic of the 1980s, David and Lisa chose to style their wedding on the era Marty and Doc Brown were thrown back to, the 1950s, which made for a colourful and upbeat big day.

We love both the bride and groom’s choice of fitting attire, especially Lisa’s pretty tea length dress, finished off perfectly with a pair of cute Charlotte Mills heels.

And what better way for David to travel than in his very own DeLorean time machine car? We think this one might make a few grooms rather jealous!

So join us as we travel back in time to relive David and Lisa’s big day.

With images by Ragdoll Photography.

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david says: We got engaged on the 1st September 2014. We were on a visit to Canada to see my Uncle Neville. We had an amazing holiday visiting Niagara Falls, Forest in Sarnia, and Windsor Ontario. We spent our last few days in Toronto, and I thought there would be no better time and place than to propose on the glass floor of the CN Tower, with a beautiful Tiffany ring. I knew she wouldn’t be able to say no, and I was delighted that Lisa accepted to spend the rest of her life with me.

lisa says: We chose the 4th July 2015 as our wedding date because Dave is a big Back To The Future film fan, and this date marked the 30th anniversary of the film’s release date.

We were welcomed so warmly into the community at our local Methodist church in Sale, Cheshire, that we wanted to take our vows there, and were really pleased that Rev Richard Mottershead agreed to marry us.

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We both agreed we wanted a really relaxed and informal day that our friends and family could let their hair down and enjoy, so where better than our home for the reception? We hired a marquee from Marquee Hire 4 You, which we dressed beautifully with 50s style bunting, cut glass vases, summer bright flowers and candles. It was a great bonus that our house was only a short walk from the church. We were also blessed that our wedding day fell on one of the best summer days in July. The days leading up to the wedding and immediately after were wash outs, but on our day the sun just kept on shinning down on us.

We loved the idea of having a fun theme to a make our day that little bit different, so we continued with the Back To The Future theme and travelled back in time to the 1950s. Lots of our guests got into the spirit of the era, wearing swing dresses, trilbies and 50s hairstyles.

In terms of the colour scheme we just wanted things to be vibrant and bright, so we gave the florist free reign to use their creative flair. We were very happy with their fantastic choices of summer flowers, which added lots of colour.

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On the wedding day I wore a lace 50s style tea length dress by Justin Alexander, which I chose from Puure Bride in Lymm, Cheshire. The ladies in the shop were fantastic, and the seamstress altered it to fit me perfectly. I wore fresh orchids in my hair, which was pinned up beautifully by Michelle from House of Finesse in Altrincham. My shoes were by Charlotte Mills, with a silver six pence sewn inside for luck.

Dave wore a lovely bright electric blue suite, off the peg, from Marks & Spencer, along with a grey Christys’ trilby hat, a yellow cotton tie, and brown brogues. He finished the outfit off with some DeLorean Time Machine cuff links, which I bought for him.

My flower girl Natalie, wore a dress similar to mine, which I bought from Debenhams. Our sons Sam and Josh wore matching blue check slim fitting suits from Next and Trilby’s from M&S. They really looked the part.

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My good friends Rajiv and Shalini, drove me from the hotel to the church in their gorgeous silver Jaguar car. David, meanwhile, arrived in his DeLorean time machine car, hired from Tom Reddaway of DeLorean Timemachine, Devon. After the service the Reverend put on a pair of shades, jumped in the DeLorean and myself, Dave and all of our guests followed as it drove to the house for the celebrations to continue.

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Our photographer for the day was Rosie from Ragdoll Photography. I met Rosie at the Brides Up North Bowden Rooms bridal fair and as soon as I started to explain what our theme was and what we wanted, her face lit up and I knew she was going to be great. We can’t praise Rosie enough. She was amazing with a very natural and relaxed style. It was like having a friend/guest at your wedding that just happened to have a camera. We are so pleased with the photos and the video slideshow she produced.

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My bouquet and all our flowers were from Living Colour Floral Design, Warrington. I asked Amy there to use whatever bright and beautiful summer colours were available, and the results were just stunning. For decorations, we had pew ends and flowers on the altar in the church. They also filled the large vases for the marquee tables with a vibrant splash of colourful flowers, each unique. Everybody loved and commented on the flowers

Our reception was in our garden, so we thought that forget-me-not seeds tied with a pretty ribbon would make nice favours (David definitely banned sugared almonds!)

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We didn’t want a traditional wedding cake or cutting of a cake, so we decided instead to have a selection of beautiful cakes from Slattery’s Bakers, Whitefield. There was something for everyone’s taste. They looked great and tasted delicious. We also had a selection of handmade chocolate decorated strawberries from McAuley’s Coffee Shop in Swinton.

For the wedding meal we decided to stick with our Back to The Future theme, and so chose Ollie from Pizza Loco, which is a quirky traditional wood fired pizza oven inside a steam train, to provide the food. They cooked a choice of perfectly crisp pizzas at a rate of one every ninety seconds for our 200 plus guests. We also had two chefs, Colin and James from Hewitt’s Hog Roast, cooking tasty American style BBQ food. We provided a well-stocked bar with everything our guest could want, and had Pimms on arrival and a champagne toast.

As an extra treat (and because I love sweets), I turned our little summerhouse at the bottom of the garden into a sweet shop, which the children and adults all loved. Dave illuminated it with a varied selection of LED lighting and bunting, giving it a 50s old sweet shop feel.

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When it came to the entertainment, we searched for a 50s style band, and booked Rockin’ Robin & Honky-Tonk Hoods (aka The Ginger Nuts) from Nottingham, through DG Music online. James and the band were just awesome. They did two main sets, and all the DJ’ing. We asked if they could perform our first dance, which they learnt, and played for the first time at our wedding. It was Earth Angel, by Marvin Berry, from the Back to The Future film. Their version was wonderful, and just what we wanted. The dance floor was never empty during their sets.

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Following our wedding day, we would highly recommend others consider having a wedding at home. To us it allows a much more personal touch than any other venue.

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Our favourite part of the day was dancing out of the church, much to the surprise and delight of our guests. Everybody was laughing and clapping as we exited to the sound of Huey Lewis and the News, The Power of Love.

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Following our wedding we jetted off on honeymoon to Sorrento, Italy. It was both romantic and beautiful.

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – don’t get swayed by other people’s ideas of what your wedding should be, and what you should have. Keep focussed on what you really want and not what other people expect. Nothing says you have to conform, so just be yourselves and most importantly enjoy every moment of the occasion.

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the roaring 20s. enzoani for a pretty wedding in chester – rachel & mike

July 22nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry

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With a clear eye for design, today’s bride Rachel, used her creative skills to put the all-important finishing touches to her wedding inspired by the roaring 1920s.

Her stunning Enzoani dress, with amazing back detail, helped to set the theme which Rachel then built upon by designing her own signage and stationery using silent movie and art deco influences.

A soft colour scheme of cornflower blue and yellow complements the men’s grey suits and helps to tie all elements together resulting in a well styled big day.

With images by Ragdoll Photography.

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rachel says: We got engaged on 13th June 2014 at Queen’s Bridge in Chester. Mike had booked a night in Chester for our anniversary (the date we officially got together) and I had no idea he had a ring with him. He carried it around all day inside his phone case (I wondered why he looked uneasy when I borrowed his phone to take pictures) waiting for the perfect moment to propose. It eventually happened after dinner, we went for a stroll over the bridge. Mike had said that he’d been looking for the perfect moment, but nothing had felt right, then suddenly we were on that bridge, it was just us, the sun was going down and it was as if someone had just gone “there you go, this is the time and place”.

We decided to set the wedding date for 11th June 2015 – five years to the day from when we first met at the Isle of Wight Festival.

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The ceremony was at St Mary’s Church, Halkyn, North Wales, which is my parents’ local church in the village where I grew up, and the reception at The Doubletree Hilton Hotel, Chester. We’ve stayed at the hotel a couple of times on special occasions and love it, but what sold it to us was the Abbey Suite – we’d been looking at converted barns for our reception and this had both the lovely modern hotel with the converted stables attached, plus beautiful grounds.

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The theme was subtly based on 1920s. I love this era; the fashions, the crazy dancing, art deco styling etc. I think it oozes class and elegance. Luckily my favourite wedding dress was very 20s too so it followed on from there. From the 20s came the ‘silent movie’ idea – we used it in the design of our invitations and placemats/place settings and then carried it through in the chalkboard style table numbers and bunting.

Our colour scheme was cornflower blue and yellow. We wanted a summery, cheerful theme and it looked amazing against the blue sky and sunshine. Mike supports Everton too, which made it an easy choice for us both.

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My dress was an Enzoani number. I didn’t want anything big or OTT and this particular dress struck me as simple and elegant with a touch of glamour and sparkle. It is 1920s inspired which suited our theme well. I chose it for those reasons but also because it struck me as so different from all of the dresses I’d seen. I bought it from Cheshire Rose Bridal, Chester. My shoes were by Rachel Simpson, my necklace, bracelet and earrings from Debenhams and my headpiece was also from Cheshire Rose Bridal.

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Mike wore a light grey three piece suit from Reiss with a cornflower blue tie. He chose to buy a good suit over hiring tails as neither of us are huge fans of tails and he now has a very special suit to keep. Along with his suit he wore shoes by Jeffery West and a tie pin from The Little Homebird on Etsty, which was a gift from me. It was personalised with the coordinates of Queen’s Bridge where Mike proposed.

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Our adult bridesmaids wore a light blue Biba maxi dress from House of Fraser and the flower girl had an ivory dress with blue ribbon from a local occasion wear shop. The groomsmen all had a three piece suit from Next and blue ties.

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We used Grosvenor Classic Cars to transport us on the day of the wedding. Mike and I travelled in a blue and silver Beauford and the bridesmaids in a Daimler.

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Rosie of Ragdoll photography was our photographer and she was brilliant, we would definitely recommend her! She put everyone at ease on the day with her fun, down to earth nature which resulted in a fun, relaxed series of photographs. She captured us and our family and friends and the essence of the day beautifully. I would recommend Rosie to anyone who wants a natural, relaxed, fun feel to their wedding album. We couldn’t have wished for better.  We also used Gray Weddings to film our big day. They were also amazing and so discreet you wouldn’t have known they were there. I can’t wait to see the video when it arrives to find out what we missed! They were so accommodating and flexible in our pre wedding meeting and on the day itself.

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Fresh of Chester provided our flowers. The beautiful natural bouquets for the bridesmaids and I were made up of lovely blooms in yellow, blue and white.

The reception flowers by Fresh of Chester were placed in vintage vases, provided by Pollyanna Vintage who also provided vintage books and pearls for centre pieces and on the card table, along with a vintage suitcase for cards and a large picture frame with easel for the seating plan. Other knickknacks such as old cameras and photo frames I borrowed or bought from vintage and charity shops and my mum provided lots of candles! I’m a graphic designer and so made my own 1920s inspired signs for the guest book/photo booth instructions, cocktail menu, cake quote and ladies toilets perfume quote. I also designed our invites and save the dates, plus some unique placemats/place settings inspired by silent movie frames, through my company Racoon Graphic Design.

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As favours we gave sweets from the past provided by Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe in personalised sweet bags.

Cake Chester provided our lovely wedding cake. It was a simple 1920s design, inspired by a combination of cakes I found in my search for the perfect cake! I made a feather brooch which they kindly added onto the front for me. The bottom tier was fruit cake and the top tier was Madeira sponge.

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As entertainment we had a 1920s jazz band called 52 Skidoo who were great! They played upbeat jazz for a couple of hours and then the resident DJ played until 1am. He played all our favourite songs and finished with Hey Jude, which is really special to us as we met at The IOW Festival where Paul McCartney was the headline act. At the end we all linked arms in a big circle singing ‘Nah-nah-nah-nah…’ it was epic!

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One special touch of the day was our first dance. Dancing is really dear to me so I wanted to really go for it! We learnt the Argentine Tango and danced it to Coldplay’s, Magic. The song starts with a 1920s introduction so I started with a Charleston as Mike stood and looked perplexed (intentional). We loved it.

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We would definitely recommend The Doubletree as a venue to other couples, it’s an amazing setting. It has the best of both worlds – a lovely modern hotel and the gorgeous Abbey Suite (converted stables), perfect for photographs. The grounds are also beautiful. The staff on the day were brilliant, in particular the toast master. He couldn’t do enough for us. The venue was perfect for – smart and sophisticated but relaxed and not over the top.

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I couldn’t possibly choose one moment from the wedding as my favourite but there are some moments in my head that stand out: coming down the stairs to my dad who was waiting to see me in my dress for the first time and travelling in the car with him to the church. The ceremony, we both surprisingly enjoyed that part more than we expected to. We didn’t feel nervous, just elated and excited and the vicar put everyone at ease and cracked a couple of jokes! And the speeches, they were all brilliant, funny and heartfelt in their own way.

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We haven’t booked a honeymoon yet but we are hoping to go to New Zealand sometime in January next year with a stop off on the way.

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be don’t try to include everything you want on your wedding day. I had so many ideas, some I wasn’t able to make happen but they really didn’t matter on the day. Simplicity and personality are key. Think about who you are as a couple and how you would like your wedding to be remembered. Our guests all said what a ‘fun’ and ‘happy’ day it was and in hindsight we wouldn’t want it any other way. And, enjoy the day for what it is, a celebration of marriage with all of your favourite people.

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