February 24th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Sam and Anna wanted their wedding to be a relaxed and informal affair that their family (including their adorable nieces and nephew) and friends could both enjoy and feel a part of.
Everyone pitched in with friends loaning and providing décor and family members baking tractor-shaped cakes, making props and providing musical entertainment. What a talented bunch they are.
So let’s take a trip down Paradise Lane for this inspirational summer wedding.
Images by Ian Wallace Photography.
anna says: We got engaged in September 2013 in the woodland walk around the edge of Ripley Castle. Me and Sam have been together from a young age and for a long time which I’ve always found a bit cheesy and cringey so I‘d always worried about how I would feel if he actually asked me to marry him! Because of this he always said he would only ask me to marry him when he knew I was ready.
We’d planned a week off work and Sam wanted to book the first night as a surprise before we headed up to Newcastle for a few days. When we pulled up at Ripley Castle, I was happy but not suspicious as we really like it up there so go quite a lot. Sam always says he had to follow me around to try and ask me because every time he started to try and get serious I would walk off looking at something else. In the end his beautiful speech started with a tugging me around and ‘will you just come here and stand still…’ before quickly getting down on his knee and waiting for me to stop crying and give him an answer. I of course said yes and we spent the next few minutes trying to get signal in the countryside to let our parents and family know. Afterward we spent the night in Rockcliffe Hall in Darlington which was amazing!
We set the date for 11th August 2014. We wanted to get married in the summer to give us a good chance of sunshine for at least some of the day. The wedding package we picked was a midweek deal to try and keep our costs down so we just hoped that the people we wanted there would be able to get the day off.
Hazlewood Castle in Tadcaster was our chosen venue. We wanted a venue that could house a lot of people and a lot of children for an entire day if it rained and Hazlewood Castle was great for this because it had various rooms that people could go and have a bit of space in. We also wanted somewhere where we could all have breakfast together the day after and there were plenty of rooms for people to stay over. We loved the overall style and feel of the castle and grounds and knew we’d be able to get some beautiful pictures there. A few people had recommended it to us that had been to weddings there which helps. And who doesn’t want to get married in a castle that’s on Paradise Lane?
We wanted a really natural, vintage/country feel to the wedding without a strong theme throughout. We were really focused on it being as unstructured as possible and letting things flow. I didn’t want to hide the castle décor so just added small bits to complement it and add a homely yet special feel. Our home is full of candles and flowers so these were a must! We didn’t really want a strong colour theme throughout the wedding either but wanted to keep everything very pastel based and natural so that it would blend well with the castle and nature elements.
I wore an ivory boat necked fit and flare dress with lots of lace detail from Elegance Bridal Boutique in Skirlaugh. I loved the intricacy of the lace detail on the sleeves and wanted something that I wouldn’t have to keep pulling up all day. It was really important that I could bend down and pick up little children in it (which I practised a lot when trying on) because our wedding was full of our nieces and nephew. I decided not to wear any hair accessories other than a veil so that the focus was on the detail of the dress.
Sam’s brother Joe wore a matching suit with different colour tie and shoes and my sister Rachel wore a lovely one shoulder dress from Coast. It was a beautiful pastel purple and gave her lots of room to pick up her two children and carry them down the aisle.
Our six nieces wore some really pretty dresses from Monsoon. They were pastel pink with little flowers on and some pink sparkly shoes. Jack our nephew wore a really cute suit from Monsoon with some cool trainers from Next. He was very proud of his outfit!
Ian Wallace was our photographer and he was fantastic. He was recommended to us by a work colleague who is his close friend so I was initially reluctant to ask him but once we’d seen his images and style we knew he’d be great. We really didn’t want a photo album full of forced smiles and standing in a line so Ian was a perfect choice for us. Ian was really relaxed and made us both comfortable. Our pre-wedding photo shoot really helped and I’d recommend it to anyone. He worked really hard on the day and had a lot of little people to try and capture as well as us! We love the relaxed and genuine feel of the photos he’s given us. I think his quote on his photography blog was ‘you broke me a little bit that day, but it was worth it’.
My flowers were from The Flower Shop in Easingwold. Again we wanted a really relaxed style and I wanted it to look like I’d just swept them up off the woodland floor (Disney style). It was a collection of woodland type flowers and herbs including rosemary, lavender and thyme, which smelt amazing!
We used the same florist to decorate our table centrepiece jam jars with similar flowers to my bouquet. Lots of our decorations were loans or bits and pieces that already had a meaning to them.
All the centrepieces were placed on a tree trunk base that our lovely friend chopped down and sliced for us for a wedding gift. We wanted each table to be slightly different, so used different types of jars and candles. Each table had a champagne bottle with a candle or flower in (we used bottles that we received as gifts for our engagement so they all had a special meaning. The smaller ones were from the travel company Kuoni where we booked our honeymoon). Our chairs were hired from Blacks, they provided a very efficient service.
For our favours we decided to go down the lucky in love route and give everyone a scratch card – I was convinced we would make someone (hopefully us) millionaires. For my nieces I made them each a locket with their initials in to thank them for being our flower girls. Jack got a good old fashioned whoopee cushion for his page boy duties! For all their support we also gave special gifts to our parents and siblings.
Our cake was a strange choice but reflected us both quite well! Early on I was determined for this wedding to be about both of us and wanted Sam to be expressed somewhere so what better way to do it than have a tractor cake! My brother’s long term girlfriend Chelsea, is a fantastic baker and offered her services to help make a cake. Two nights before the wedding, Chelsea had spent all day perfecting our orange flavoured tractor cake and all looked good. Then my dad arrived with the trailer he had made to house the children’s animal cupcakes (also made by Chelsea) and the tractor to trailer ratio was all off – our tractor looked like a little toy next a giant trailer! I will always remember that night, sat on Tesco’s cake aisle floor, with my mum, laughing and trying to piece together a tractor shape out of fruit cake and Madeira slabs to make a bigger tractor! In the end, we had two tractors, the small handmade one’s fate was a prize for the children’s dance competition so all’s well that ends well. Chelsea also made gorgeous cupcakes for us to have a more traditional style tower with a bride and groom.
For our wedding meal we chose a typical Yorkshire main of beef and Yorkshire pudding because Sam wouldn’t have had it any other way. We had Eton mess for desert. We had Pimms straight after the wedding because it’s one of my favourite drinks.
My four brothers are all talented musicians so we were really pleased when they agreed to play for our wedding evening. I don’t think we’ve ever seen our dad more proud! A DJ was part of the wedding package so he also played later on into the night – his only requests being from our 3-year-old nieces to play ‘Let it Go’ again! As part of our invitation and RSVP, we’d asked our guests to give us a song to add to our playlist. This way we could cater for everyone’s tastes and ensure everyone had at least something they could shake to!
Special touches to the wedding included two of my brothers playing me down the aisle, which was a really heart-warming and special experience. My dad built an amazing photo prop of a moon and clouds with starry background. Instead of a guest book, we decided to have a guest tree. We left tags for people to hang their wishes/ message/ advice on. Because we left for our honeymoon the day after it was really nice to come home and read all the messages people had left. We’ve saved the message in our photo album to look back on and our blossom tree is now planted in the garden to grow over the years. If we move, it’s coming with us!
We’d recommend our wedding venue to anyone. The staff were always helpful and on the day just seemed to merge into the background. The grounds and castle are beautiful for photos and gives you and your guests the space for an escape if needed.
It’s really hard to pin point a certain part of the day as a favourite because it was all a genuinely beautiful day. Spending time with family is a massive part of our lives and I never feel more at peace when I’m surrounded by them so my whole day was lovely. I enjoyed getting ready and having my family and the children there.
Before the wedding, we’d both seen the actual ceremony as something that just needed to be done to get married but actually this part was amazing and really special. The personal parts always make things more special and laughing during our vows about respect will always be memorable! The speeches were also fantastic. My dad always has a way of entertaining a crowd so a detailed description of my conception was a must in his book!
There was a ten minute period later on in the evening where we both snuck off outside to have a few minutes to ourselves. Sneakily Ian had managed to find us! But we didn’t know he was there so now we just have the photo to remind us.
We booked our honeymoon late and decided on a trip around Sri Lanka followed by a week in the Maldives, which was pure heaven. Sri Lanka was full of culture and a wonderful experience. We spent time in various places and it was quite fast paced so we were both ready for a bit of rest and relaxation in the Maldives. It really was a once in a lifetime experience.
My top tips to other brides up north is when planning, don’t get bogged down with little logistical issues – on the day they really won’t matter. Always be true to what you want to do as a couple – there are so many ways to do a wedding, just make sure yours is your way. On the day, make sure you find a few moments to stand back and watch what a beautiful day you’ve created full the people you love the most. And really consider a videographer – we originally decided not to have one however, the night before the wedding Sam’s grandma feel ill and unfortunately her and his granddad were unable to attend the wedding. Thankfully, a lovely friend stepped in a filmed the whole day which we all watched as a united family when she was well again. When your wedding is over, you’ll want as many memories of it as possible.
February 23rd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
As soon as I saw the stunning images of Lydia and Jamie’s wedding day I knew it was one we just had to share with our readers. The creative couple tied the knot in The Lantern Theatre, a unique wedding venue in Sheffield that I had no idea existed, despite it being in the city in which I live.
This wedding is packed full of inspiration from Lydia’s fabulous bespoke vintage dress to the home-grown flowers, cool favours and gorgeous décor.
So take a seat, as Brides Up North is now showing Lydia and Jamie’s big day.
Images by Weddings by Smith.
lydia says: We got engaged at La Rosa Campsite in Whitby which is a campsite full of beautifully decorated themed caravans. Our caravan was a Catholic kitch theme and somehow we picked a weekend that was quiet which meant we had the whole place to ourselves. Jamie hadn’t planned to ask the big question, but suddenly over lunch one afternoon the timing just felt right. We searched for a ring the following weekend in Nottingham, the city where we first met and I chose a blue antique ring.
We set the date for 17th August 2013. We chose that date because of the weather mainly, and it was around one year after we got engaged.
We had our ceremony at The Lantern Theatre in Nether Edge, Sheffield. It is a small theatre that seats around 84 people with a miniature balcony. It is Sheffield’s oldest surviving theatre, 120 years old, and a Grade II listed building. We loved that it was small and intimate, laid back, yet a bit grand and opulent, and a bit of a hidden secret. It was also extra special because it was a minute’s walk from our house. It reminded me of the film Moulin Rouge, which is by Baz Luhrmann, a film director whose visual style I love. Our party venue was Hagglers Corner, a cafe bar and venue space all set around a lovely courtyard, on the edge of Sheffield city centre.
The theme was kind of inspired by where we got engaged, our venue and all the things we love. It was a little bit of everything, vintage, romantic, Hollywood, rustic and kitsch. We wanted soft and romantic hues of blues, pinks, reds and golds. We chose the overarching colour scheme based on what we both wanted to wear.
I chose a beautiful lady called Joanne Flemming from Brighton to make my dress and took a little mini break there to get fitted. I wanted a vintage wedding dress with a blue underlay and bow. My shoes where Vivienne Westwood Melissa heart shoes and I wore a birdcage veil.
Jamie wore a blue checked suit and red bow tie from Ted Baker.
My grown up bridesmaids wore Karen Millen silk blue dresses, and my flower girl wore a pink dress from Monsoon. We asked the groomsmen to all wear an eclectic mixture of blue tones, and we gave them a red bow tie and I made button holes to tie it all together.
We hired a red vintage bus from a local bus museum to take guests from the ceremony to the party venue. The ceremony was so close my dad took me in his car (which my nan would like to point out she made a special bow for).
Tom Smith of Weddings by Smith did our wedding photography. He was absolutely amazing, we had seen him shoot a wedding before, and I knew that we could not get married without him shooting ours. We gave him some mood boards and he got exactly what we wanted straight away. He also made us feel very comfortable and kept staged photos to a minimum.
I bravely decided to do my own flowers, a mixture of flowers that I planted and grew in my garden, foliage stolen from roadsides in the Peak District and flowers bought the day before from the flower market. I spent the two days before the wedding in my garden cutting flowers, arranging about 100 vases, making bouquets for me and all the bridesmaids and all the button holes for the men. We decorated both venues ourselves (with help from friends and family) the day before with pompoms, bunting, ornaments, homemade table cloths and candles. I carried a bouquet that was made from blue hydrangeas, pink peonies (the Chinese flower of love) and gypsophila.
For our favours we had popcorn boxes which contained fortune cookies, blowing bubbles, a fan and 3D glasses. The fans had quotes from our reading on one side, and timings on the other. Our reading was ‘advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young’ which is on the end of the Baz Luhrmann Romeo and Juliet original soundtrack.
Our cakes were by Victoria Made.We had a naked cake with sugar flowers and a cake made from layers of cheese covered in fruits. Our cake topper was made by the wonderful people at Lollipop Workshop which we will treasure forever.
After the ceremony we had ice cream and Pimms. At the party venue we had a healthy vegetarian BBQ by Organic Fusion.
To entertain our guests we hired a magician called Steve Faulkner for the theatre, plus a lady who made balloon animals for the kids. We had an ice cream VW van from Ice-Cream Dub and later at night a DJ. We also had lots of board games and toys and fancy dress bits for the kids.
As a special touch we had a wishing tree at the ceremony. We had guests pass around our rings in a box of ribbons and tags, and write a little wish for us to tie to the tree. I also designed our wedding invites myself via my creative studio, Studio Binky.
Our venue didn’t have wedding license at the time, so we chose a humanist ceremony by Kate Gee.
It was everything we wanted, really personal and full of love. Kate really got to know us over a couple of meetings and wrote a great ceremony, with us writing our own set of vows. I would highly recommend her.We did the legal part a week before in secret at the town hall.
The Lantern Theatre and Hagglers Corner where both really accommodating, they allowed us to decorate the day before and really helped on the day, whilst at the same time leaving us free to enjoy the venue hassle free. I would definitely recommend them both to other couples.
I’d say my favourite part of the day was sitting down on the stage next to Jamie before we said our vows. Time seemed to stand still, I was worried I might be nervous being on a stage, but surprisingly I felt really relaxed. Everyone in the crowd was someone I really cared about and it felt so special, more than just marrying Jamie, it felt like a big life moment and I’d never felt so loved or happy and at ease.
We had a night in our favourite hotel La Rosa in Whitby straight after the wedding (a gift from a friend), we stayed in a swan themed room which was very romantic and went to a folk gig in the basement that night. This was followed by an unfortunate honeymoon from hell camping trip to York which had to be abandoned. We planned to go somewhere tropical a few months later, but it unfortunately didn’t happen which is why I would advise all brides to book a proper honeymoon, you will need it.
In addition, my top tips to other Brides Up North would be to make mood boards, they come in really handy when showing a supplier the look and feel you want. Also, let people help you (especially if planning a DIY wedding). I should have done this more.
Jamie and I are now planning for the next chapter in our life – we are having a baby in June, eek!
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February 11th, 2015 | Julia Braime
I was overjoyed when same sex marriage (actual marriage, not just civil partnership) became legal in the UK, but it’s only when I get to feature beautiful couples like Rachel and Emma that the enormity and awesomeness of that change actually hits home.
These girls were looking for a day filled with warmth, openness and togetherness, and that’s exactly what they got. How very Hygge!
All will be explained…
With images by Leighton Bainbridge Photography.
the girls say: We got engaged while staying in Northumberland in May 2013. In 2012 we had attended Peace Camp at Dunstanburgh Castle; white tents covered the grounds surrounding the ruins and we arrived at dawn where love poems were played from illuminated tents. Both of us were desperate to propose, unbeknown to the other! Unfortunately finances had restricted our opportunity at this time. Emma decided to re-enact this experience on our favourite beach, Beadnell on the 25th May 2014. She had recruited friends and family to erect a white tee-pee on the beach through the night for us to arrive at dawn. An excellent plan depended on excellent weather; and we had experience torrential rain and gale force winds up until hours beforehand!
The plan did however turn out perfectly; despite a slightly later arrival on the beach following the “scenic route’!
Emma got down onto one knee and became for the first time, lost for words!
We were married at Newton Hall in Northumberland om 23rd December 2014/. Rachel had spent a huge amount of time in Northumberland throughout her childhood and it is a very important place to her family. We spent a lot of time together in Beadnell and the surrounding area and it feels like home. We had come across Newton Hall at a wedding fayre before it hosted ceremonies but it began to develop into a fabulous one-in-one venue over the years. We visited the venue just after our engagement and looked no further! We loved the style of the venue and the fact we could have exclusive use of this house. From the window in the bridal suite, Beadnell bay where we got engaged is visible and everything just seemed to fall into place!
Due to the date we booked, a Christmas theme began to develop. After initially booking Rachel looked into a honeymoon destination to leave the next morning, Christmas Eve. Copenhagen was one of the stand-out destinations and doing research into Copenhagen at Christmas gave us the word Hygge. In Danish it means “The art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open hearted and alive. To create well-being, connection and warmth. A feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other” We used this phrase on our invitations and the wedding was completely Hygge!
The colour scheme was natural fabrics and colours with a small amount of metallic touches. We wanted it to be cosy and festive without over-using red and green!
Rachel had spent a long time looking at dresses on the internet and we both tried a few on in a local shop to work out which style suited us best.
Rachel found a strapless, corset style diamond white Maggie Sottero gown on eBay from a woman the same measurements and we took a chance! We drove down and collected it at a service station in Yorkshire and called at The Bridal Factory Outlet in Northallerton on the way home to try some on for Emma. Emma chose the third dress she tried on, an ivory lace Mori Lee and although it needed alterations it complemented the Maggie Sottero perfectly. Rachel managed to try her dress on for the first time in the changing rooms with Emma and thankfully it fit and was just perfect! We managed to have our dresses a week after booking our wedding date!
Our bridesmaids wore navy twist front maxi dresses by Debut at Debenhams. Our boys wore navy suits with tweed waistcoats, red ties and white shirts, all from Moss Bros who were fantastic with everyone from dads to younger brothers!
We feel so lucky to be able to get married – we waited until it could be a wedding rather than a civil partnership and we are very fortunate that while planning this wedding all we have experienced from all suppliers, shops and others has been excitement and kindness. We were entirely overwhelmed with the love we experienced from our friends and families and that was the best thing about our wedding.
Leighton Bainbridge was our photographer. Photography was one of the biggest decisions for us. Emma is a keen photographer and we spent a lot of time looking at wedding photos to find out what style we were after. We found it difficult to find examples of lesbian weddings! When we met Leighton we knew he’d be perfect; we arrived armed with an album of photographs we liked from various sources and he took on this on board! He was quiet and polite; we were confident Leighton would fit into our day and produce excellent photographs to treasure.
We had great difficulty finding flowers which would be available in December but found dried bouquets by The Artisan Dried Flower Company. We used their winter theme and ordered matching hair pins, buttonholes and bouquets for all of the bridal party. The bonus is we can keep our bouquets forever!
We also ordered some dried flowers for the milkchurns at the ends of the aisle from The Artisan Dried Flower Company. We used wish trees to suspend our wedding favours which were glass baubles which we filled with different sequins, feathers and other sparkles hoping to make one to suit each person. We used fake snow and tiny crystals around the bases on the tables and battery fair lights on the trees themselves.
We used an antique map of Northumberland with buttons and string for our table plan. This was made by Rachel and again finished the evening before!
Emma’s mother, Sarah, ordered the material to dress the chairs and Aunty Helen helped with the sizing and preparation. The venue were brilliant; all of our various decorations were boxed up and left with them the evening before following a short meeting with their fantastic wedding coordinator Jane.
A friend from Emma’s work, Andrea made the cake, which fit with the winter theme again. It tasted fantastic! Lemon, Chocolate fudge and Fruit cake in layers.
We chose a string quartet for before, during and after the ceremony and a ceilidh for the evening, which was fantastic. North East Soiree provided the entertainment and they were fantastic. We wanted a ceilidh to encourage the guests to relax and break that initial first dance ice!
Our ceremony with the string quartet was lovely, “Annie’s Song” for our entrance and we walked out to “Fairytale of New York”. Rachel had suggested riding in on her horse – which was disallowed!
We involved our dog, Rowan as ring bearer in the wedding. She was perfectly behaved through the day, enjoying the wedding breakfast on Emma’s knee sharing Rachel’s chicken!
Our “best people” made a beautiful speech including photographs of both of us as children, the last seven years together and then our engagement photographs. The master of ceremonies stated it was one of the most emotional weddings he had seen; it felt like a long time coming!
Our first dance was to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. We finally decided on the song the evening before the wedding and choreographed the routine at 10pm in our PJs in our hotel room!
The venue was fantastic. They were so well practised and nothing was too much of a problem. We felt comfortable and looked after all day. Jane our coordinator on the day was fantastic – even stitching out dresses up before the first dance when we realised we were going to struggle! The master of ceremonies John was lovely and other staff were friendly and professional. Although it was only the third same-sex marriage at the venue, the staff were great. We did change the format from a normal wedding slightly to suit our situation but this was never a problem. They are very flexible!
At the end of the evening, the close friends and family staying retired to the bar in the main house. Rachel took her hair out and was sat on the floor, we were all sat with coffees and tea and wedding cake discussing the day. It was truly Hygge!
We were pretty early to bed and we sat in the bath together and opened our cards. We later found out that had we looked out of the window from our free-standing bath in the Beadnell bay room we would have probably seen a fantastic show of the Northern Lights! Every part of the day was wonderful but those moments when we were alone were special; we repeatedly said how magical the day had been and how loved we felt.
We flew to Copenhagen on Christmas Eve morning and arrived at the Hotel Neptun at tea-time. We were asked to join the duty manager and his wife (and dog!) in Christmas Eve dinner where we sampled Danish desserts and tea and our new friends gave us tips on where to visit! The next morning we woke up to snow on Christmas day! We spent five days in Copenhagen visiting the local sights and enjoyed the Nutcracker Ballet at Tivoli gardens. Copenhagen was a winter wonderland – a beautiful city with friendly people and amazing food! We cannot wait to return!
Our top tip for Brides Up North is to make sure the wedding is your own kind of special. We had a tiny wedding guest list and we were pretty ruthless on who we invited to make sure that everyone could be comfortable on the day. This was excellent because it meant we did spend time away from our guests without worrying they were missing us! By having a small wedding party, it took the pressure off and we enjoyed the company of everyone there.
February 10th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Amy and Joel wanted their wedding to be a true celebration of their love and their feelings for each other certainly shone brightly during their big day in Sheffield.
As well as love their wedding was full of laughter, happiness and simple yet stunning styling. All in all the couple achieved their goals for a relaxed celebration full of romance as documented here.
With images by Ever Thine Photography.
amy says: We got engaged in September 2012, in Sheffield where we live. I had been in Manchester for a family birthday and drove back on a Saturday, unintentionally hitting the road to Sheffield on the same day that thousands of University first years were moving into their halls. So I had a nightmare journey and was back to Sheffield a couple of hours after Joel had planned for us to go for a walk together, in a terrible stressed mood. When I saw him I said “Please cheer me up” and he replied “I think I can do that”.
He took me on a walk to a meadow where we had also ended up on one of our first dates. It was a beautiful sunny day and nobody was around. We had a lovely picnic that Joel had packed, but before we ate anything he got down on one knee! Then when I said yes (through happy sobs) he uncorked the bubbly he’d hidden in a cool-bag. Joel had also arranged a surprise engagement party with our friends in Sheffield that evening, and a celebratory lunch with my family the following day! He really did himself proud – and he definitely cheered me up!
We got married the following August 9th. I had always wanted to get married in summer and Joel was training to be a doctor so only had a few weeks in August where he would be on holiday and available for wedding/honeymooning. So with various other things going on that month, the 9th it was.
We got married in Sheffield in a church, which was important to us and our families. Straight after the ceremony we had a mini afternoon tea reception at the church, which people appreciated as it kept them fed and watered. Our reception venue was Whitley Hall – a great 16th century mansion with loads of character. We loved the fact that it had beautiful grounds so we could spend lots of time outside, but it also had a few different rooms inside with cosy armchairs and soft lighting. It’s a lovely venue and we really enjoyed our day there.
We didn’t choose a particular theme – style-wise I knew I wanted everything to be quite classic and soft, romantic. But we really wanted the day to be about love and our marriage. We had lots of quotes/poems around love and we had a lot of touches that were personal to us. I spent a lot of time hand-making things in intense wedding craft sessions with my wonderful helpful family! Luckily my sister Katy is trained in graphic design so she was able to really personalise our wedding and help give us unique special touches – she designed our ‘logo’, wedding invitations and all our other design and print.
The colours we chose was a really soft palette of ivory, champagne, creams, blush and gold/sparkling details because I’m a bit of a magpie.
My dress was a lace design by Lusan Mandongus that I bought from Amy Louise Bridal in Nantwich, Cheshire. I loved a sort of flowing mermaid shape with a train, soft and romantic but figure-flattering at the same time. I was pretty sure I wanted lace and straps before I tried on dresses, but hadn’t found the dress I had imagined after trying on about 50 in a few different shops. I was actually going to Amy Louise to try on a different dress for the second time when the lovely consultant Kirsten pulled out the dress, saying that it had just come into the shop and she’d thought of me… I tried it on and felt lovely in it, my mum and sisters loved it, and I could completely imagine walking up the aisle to Joel in it. I felt great in the dress in the day – I love the soft lace straps, the hint of sparkle and the gorgeous deep back with covered buttons going down it. I was sad to take it off! I also loved my sparkly shoes, I felt like they were my little secret ‘princess’ touch!
Joel wore a suit from River Island, which was kind of a bright/French navy, with a champagne coloured tie. I went with him when he picked the suit and had tears when he came out trying it on – he looked so good and I felt so lucky! I thought he looked so gorgeous on our wedding day.
The bridesmaids wore dresses that I found in an online shop Goddiva – I wanted blush ones, and I loved the flowing Grecian style of these with a little bit of sparkly detail on the shoulder. They were a really good deal too. The groomsmen wore the same suit as Joel, with blue ties (except Joel’s brother Josh the best man wore a champagne one like Joel), and the detail that Josh provided which was socks to match the champagne colour of our ties.
A dream of mine since I was a young teenager has been to own a classic VW campervan. My parents surprised me on the day of the wedding by booking a cream campervan that we all went to the church in. Joel and I also travelled to the reception in it – it was so much fun and so thoughtful of my parents.
Our wedding was shot by Lucy Aspray of Ever Thine Photography. She was so relaxed but professional, and because Lucy loves weddings herself she appreciates and captures the details you put effort into. We were really lucky in that the lovely folk at Ever Thine were dear friends of ours before we even got engaged, so we were so happy to be able to have them do our photos. However I would definitely recommend them to others even if we hadn’t know them – I think that Lucy’s style is to really put you at ease and have fun with you, but she’s also really unobtrusive with lots of natural shots and has the instinct for catching moments at the perfect time – which is really important on your wedding day when you don’t want to feel awkward and like you’re being bossed around by a photographer, but do want plenty of beautiful pics.
I carried a bouquet of ivory/cream flowers with trailing flowers and vines to look flowing and romantic like my dress and the general vibe I was going for. Anna at Swallows & Damsons in Sheffield did the bouquet – she is an absolute sweetheart and really helpful and knowledgeable, her style is beautifully modern and natural.
We didn’t go mad on flowers at the wedding reception, but put stems of blush roses and cream hydrangeas (which Swallows & Damsons provided us with) in lots of antique vases and glassware that my mum and I foraged for in Sheffield’s Antiques Quarter. I customised tea light holders with gold glitter, and we put candles in these and in some antique glass candlesticks on the tables in with other cut glass pieces – the effect was quite classic, vintage and a little bit glam, and the light really bounced off all that cut glass making it sparkle.
The main favour I did also doubled up as a place name – I bulk bought wine glasses, ‘glitterised’ the bases and wrote people’s names on them in a calligraphy style font. We also did wedding CDs with music from the ceremony, first dance, father daughter dance and other love songs we like. My sister made paper cases for these with the logo she’d designed. Lastly we had a sweetie bar in the evening for people to help themselves!
Rather than a proper cake we cut a cheesecake. We were having cheesecake for dessert anyway (it’s both mine and Joel’s favourite) and we asked Whitley Hall to dress a big cheesecake up for us a bit, which they did. The food was delicious, my favourite thing being little canapés that we had when everyone arrived at the reception venue. A lot of brides say they couldn’t eat anything on their wedding day but I ate loads!
For our entertainment we had a string duet during the day, Citron Pressè – I honestly partly chose them because I liked their name!! I really liked their laid-back music; it added a lovely special feeling.
In the evening we had an in-house DJ who was just what we needed – he played all our requests and the dance floor was packed for hours!
We added lots of special touches to the day. I put quotes about love from favourite books, poems etc in picture frames and scattered them around the place. I also handmade our guestbook – every page had different creative ways for people to leave us a message. It took me hours to do the different pages and stick loads of photos of Joel and I throughout but people loved it and it’s a keepsake we’ll treasure. We also had lawn games and I bought some floral picnic blankets and spread them on the lawn for people to sit on. My mum found this amazing old golden empty picture frame on eBay, and we used that during the day as a prop for people to take pictures in! We had a competition at dinner where tables which was fun and got people talking to each other.
I loved the whole day, just the fact that we got married and spent an amazing day with each other and everyone we loved, but a few particular moments stand out.
The best man’s speech was hands down the best I have ever heard. We laughed hysterically (mainly at Joel) and we cried. People still talk about it.
I surprised my Dad with a father-daughter dance to a song that he used to sing to me when I was tiny. It was lovely, he was so touched and everybody had a little weep
Seeing Joel’s face when he turned around as I walked up the aisle. Favourite memory of my whole life probably.
We went to Crete for our honeymoon and were so blessed that some family friends paid for us to go all-inclusive at a lovely resort – I’m ashamed to say it was less a cultural trip soaking in Crete’s history and more a trip where we soaked up the sun and cocktails and just chilled to the max.
Everyone always says it’s your day and make sure you do exactly what you want without bowing to pressure from other people but my advice to other wedding couples would be it is your day, but it’s also your other half’s so plan a day you both will love. Also it’s a day about the two of you – your love and the fact you’re committing to each other in marriage, which is an amazing beautiful thing. Even though ultimately decisions are up to you, if your family and friends are everything to you take them into account and treat them to a time they will enjoy, especially if they have travelled far to be there for your special day or assisted in the wedding somehow.
February 4th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Carla and Richard needed lots of space to accommodate their large guest list, but they didn’t have to compromise on the gorgeous details for their pretty wedding day near Preston.
A fresh & bright colour palette, beautiful blooms, a touch of twinkle and lots of surprises meant that Carla and Richard’s big day was one to remember.
With images by Samantha Broadley Photography.
carla says: We got engaged in June 2013. We were going on holiday to Mexico for 2 weeks and it was 6am and we were at home getting ready to drive to the airport. Richard sent me a Snapchat message of a ring in a box. It literally flashed on my screen for 1 second. I didn’t say anything as I thought he was winding me up. I asked him to help me fasten my suitcase and when I looked up he was down on one knee with the ring in his hand and asked me to marry him! It was such a lovely surprise proposing before we went away!
We got married at St.Peter’s Church, Quernmore, Nr. Lancaster on Friday 26th September 2014.
It is my family church, where I was christened, went to Sunday School and I went to the primary school next door. As soon as we got engaged I knew I had to get married in our family church. On the day, my emotions got the better of me and I cried the whole way down the aisle, it was such a special moment and a feeling I will never forget.
We were limited to venues, as we knew we had a large guest list and would need somewhere to accommodate 300 people. We visited The Villa at Wrea Green one Sunday morning without an appointment, the staff were so friendly and helpful from the first instance, and the function room and grounds were beautiful.
The Villa is the perfect venue for a wedding. The staff couldn’t do enough for us, not only on the day but also on the run up to the wedding and made our wedding feel very personal.
I’m not a girly girl, so I didn’t want pink, lacy decorations. We opted for a crisp white theme with a little bit of sparkle and a touch of duck egg blue.
I chose a Maggie Sottero A-line tulle dress from Butterfly Bridal in Lancaster. I tried lots of dresses on in numerous shops but kept going back to this particular dress. The 4th time I tried it on, I burst into tears and realised was the one. It was the complete opposite of what I had imagined I would choose, but I loved it and cried all the way home in the car, I was so happy!
Richard wore a slim-fit 3-piece navy suit from Butterfly Bridal in Lancaster, with a tie and brown tan shoes. He didn’t want a traditional morning suit and opted for a modern suit which all of his groomsmen would be comfortable in.
The bridesmaid dresses chose Mori Lee dresses from The Bridal Collection in Lancaster. The style suited all the girls and was very flattering of all their figures, I wanted to make sure they would be comfortable in their dresses so they could enjoy the day.
I carried a hand-tied posey of roses and calla lilies, in pale pinks, ivory and cream. The bridesmaids had a similar arrangement. These were supplied by The Flower Shop by Morgan at Garstang. They also provided the church flowers and flowers for the cake.
We hired 2 cars from Broughton Wedding Cars, a VW camper van for the bridesmaids and a Beauford Tourer as the bridal car.
However, Richard had booked a surprise helicopter to take us to the venue which he had only told his parents about. After the service, we drove off in our wedding car and stopped at his parent’s farm ‘for pictures’. As we pulled into the farm, I saw the helicopter in the field and couldn’t believe that he had arranged it for us. The flight was amazing as we flew over the church and along the coast to the venue. It was a surprise to all of our guests also, as we landed in the field outside The Villa!
The table centres and chair covers were from Linda at Sophisticated Events in St.Annes. We chose a white tree with white LED lights for the table centres. My Mum handmade the table plan from an old mirror, made wooden hearts for name places, the menu cards, card box and table name holders. She spent hours sticking tiny embellishments on everything but it all looked fabulous in the end! We used pictures of Richard and I at different ages for our table numbers to give a personal touch to each table.
We picked a simple white cake from Marks & Spencer, with 4 mixed tiers, and then decorated the ribbons ourselves to match the table plan.
Instead of wedding favours, we gave a donation of £150 to St. John’s Hospice in Lancaster, a place very close to our hearts as my Auntie was cared for there before she lost her battle with breast cancer a couple of years ago.
We used Samantha Broadley Photography.
Sam was the perfect wedding photographer, she was so friendly from our initial meeting and we got on so well with her. Sam had photographed a couple of my friend’s wedding in the summer we got engaged and was one of the first things I booked. I love her style of photo’s as they are very natural and capture intimate moments. On the day, we left it in Sam’s hands as we knew she would do a fantastic job and felt very relaxed.
Our videographer was Tom from Silk Wedding Films who did an unbelievable job of capturing our day on film. I originally didn’t want a videographer, but then I came across Tom’s website and instantly fell in love with his work. I cried at every film on his blog! I had a major Bridezilla moment and insisted that I had to have Tom film our day and I’m so glad I did as this is the best decision I made and our wedding film is epic!
Our band was called Bobby and Jemima aka Charlese and Matt, who describe themselves as ‘energetic, funk filled soul’. The dance floor was full all night and everybody has commented on how great they were.
My mother-in-law arranged a White LED sparkly dance floor for the evening reception as a surprise for Richard and I. It really added that final wow to the function room.
Apart from the surprise helicopter, my favourite part of the day was our photos we had taken at sunset. Our photographer found a farm lane and field with horses in behind the venue and took us out at sunset to capture some beautiful photographs. The colours in the pictures are unbelievable and I love how natural and happy we look. It was a perfect setting and something we hadn’t anticipated happening. If I could sum my wedding up in 3 words it would be ‘Husband, Helicopter and Horses’.
We went to Dubai for 3 nights and Mauritius for 10 nights on Honeymoon. We had a hectic 3 days in Dubai, taking in all the sights, it is such a fascinating city and we would highly recommend it. We then relaxed for 10 days at ‘Paradise Cove’, where we were treat like kings in a beachside suite. While in Mauritius we went on a trip where we walked with lions in the wild. This was an amazing experience as we walked alongside the lions that were free to roam where they wished.
As my husband always says that I’m the most organised person he knows, my tip to other Brides Up North would be to get organised as soon as possible. I had a monthly planner indicating what I had to do on the lead up to the wedding. This really helped me to make sure everything was booked and paid for when it needed to be and also so I didn’t forget anything in the few weeks beforehand when everything seems to happen all at once.
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