May 20th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
We may be supposed to be heading into high summer right now (although as I’m writing this there is hail beating on the window outside) but here at Brides Up North HQ just the very sight of a winter wedding makes us dream of mulled wine and mince pies, getting us excited about the chillier months to come.
If you’re in the middle of planning your Christmas wedding, Rachel and Gareth’s seasonal celebration has it all – stunning wreaths complete with red berries and mistletoe, warm comforting food and a classic red colour scheme.
So forget about the (lack of) sunshine – an easy ask for us northerners – wrap up warm and let’s head to the stunning Peak District to relive this gorgeous couple’s big day.
With images by Richmond Pictures.
rachel says: We got engaged in London. We had given a voucher for a meal for two in the Apex Hotel at Tower Bridge as a Christmas present. We booked the meal for 8th February 2014 and decided to make a night of it by booking a room there too. Gareth proposed in the hotel room as we were getting ready to go down to dinner. It was a bit of a shock but I couldn’t have been happier!
We got married on 13th December 2014. We both really wanted a winter wedding, there’s something romantic about that time of the year and the run up to Christmas. The crisp, frosty days and (hopefully) blue skies outside while we cosy up inside, perfect!
We got married at Fulwood Old Chapel in Sheffield. We picked this as we wanted to get married somewhere close to where I was brought up. The chapel is small and intimate so it was perfect for our numbers and we felt it would be nice to have our family and friends fill the whole place and really feel like a part of the ceremony.
Our reception was held at The Maynard in Grindleford, Derbyshire. We went to a wedding fair there and knew straight away it was the perfect venue for us. There are stunning views from the rooms looking out across the Peak District.
As it was coming up to Christmas we played a little on that and had a snowflake theme. We had snowflake Christmas tree decorations as wedding favours, the cake was decorated with snowflakes and our stationery and table confetti was snowflake themed too.
We picked red and silver for our colours. Again because of the time of the year. The bridesmaids had red dresses which looked stunning and vibrant in the winter light.
I chose a dress by Ronald Joyce from Brides by Losners in Stamford Hill, London. I picked this one because my mum and my bridesmaid cried when I put it on – so I was pretty sure this was the dress for me! It was the complete opposite of what I’d imagined for myself as it was quite fitted, but I loved it from the first time I tried it on.
On the wedding day my makeup was done by Lisa Kirby in Sheffield and my hair was styled by Kirstine Allott of Kutz in Dore, Sheffield, both of whom I would recommend.
I travelled from my parents’ house with my dad in a vintage Jaguar while my bridesmaids travelled to the chapel in another vintage jaguar. These were provided by a family friend.
Karina and Tom Lax of Richmond Pictures were our photographers. We would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a wedding photographer. They were so professional but also fun and friendly and made us feel totally at ease throughout the whole day. Karina and Tom really did their homework before our big day and found an amazing place for us to have some pictures taken after the ceremony; it was like something out of Wuthering Heights! We are absolutely over the moon with our photos, a perfect reminder of our special day for us to look back on.
Our flowers were provided by Vikki Baxter at Jo Price Flowers in Sheffield. I had a bouquet of red roses, mistletoe, red berries and Christmas tree twigs.
Vikki also provided the flowers for the chapel and reception. We had a heart shaped wreath above the door at the Chapel and arrangements around the inside with the same flowers and foliage as the bridal bouquet and also cinnamon sticks, orange slices and nuts to make it really Christmassy. We also had Christmas wreath style table centre pieces around hurricane lamps, lots of tea lights and a twinkle curtain as a back drop behind the top table, which were provided by Weddings by Dragonfly.
My mum, my bridesmaid and I made snowflake Christmas tree decorations as wedding favours using snowflake wire form beads and ribbon. These also doubled as place names as we threaded name tags on the ribbon with our guests’ names on one side and our names and the date on the reverse.
We chose a three tiered cake iced in white and decorated with snowflakes. Each layer was different flavour – vanilla sponge, chocolate sponge and a fruit cake. The fruit cake was made by my mum and the rest by a family friend.
For our wedding menu we picked winter warming food – chicken with bubble and squeak and a sticky toffee pudding dessert. We had champagne for our toasts so we could celebrate in style!
We really wanted our guests to have a great time and leave thinking ‘wow’ so we hired a magician for the drinks reception and a photo booth for the evening reception, provided by Rhythm of Your Choice. My parents also booked some singing waiters who performed during the meal. This was a complete to surprise to the both of us and also to all our guests. One of the waitresses dropped a whole tray of cutlery which got everyone’s attention, and then started singing ‘Let it go’ from Frozen as she got up from the floor! It was such a shock but soon everyone was joining in, dancing and waving napkins in the air! We had a band in the evening called Banzai and a DJ provided by Rhythm of Your Choice.
We would recommend both the chapel and The Maynard to other couples. Janet and Peter at the chapel were so friendly and helpful from the minute we booked our ceremony with them. It’s perfect for smaller weddings. I would recommend The Maynard for its setting. There are so many beautiful places for photos and stunning views from the venue. The food, drink and service on the day were all excellent.
The ceremony itself was our favourite part of the day. Having all our family and friends in one place at the same time who were all there to support us and celebrate with us was so touching.
We went to Kuramathi Island Resort in the Maldives for our two week honeymoon. We had a month between our wedding and honeymoon so we could enjoy Christmas at home with our families. The resort was fantastic and just what we wanted. White sandy beaches, beautiful blue seas, excellent food and drink, and stunning sea life on the house reef where we went snorkelling every day.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – try to relax and enjoy the day! Look around and see all your friends and family who are there for you.
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May 13th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s bride Ashleigh didn’t want just one shade or her colourful wedding day so instead decided to add depth and interest with gorgeous tones of red, purple and Brides Up North favourite – hot pink!
But it isn’t just the flowers that standout – what an incredibly good looking wedding party! Mark looks the model groom in his dapper blue suit and tan brogues while the maids are pretty in pink with their striking floral headpieces. And then there’s the star of the show Ashleigh, who wore a stunning Ellis gown and glam makeup.
Prepare to get well jel!
With images by Little Miss Boyco Photography.
ashleigh says: We got engaged in Portugal on Mark’s birthday, 13th June 2012. We were on a very quiet beach when Mark asked me to go in the sea, I was reluctant as it was very cold but he jumped straight in. I was standing on the water’s edge when he dived out of the sea, with the ring in his pocket, and got down on one knee. As we had just bought our first home it was completely unexpected. We made our way back up to our apartment as I was too excited and wanted to call my family and friends. Mark had champagne waiting for us for when we got back from the beach.
After visiting various venues in the North East I fell in love with Close House. We set our date originally for March 2015. A few weeks later after paying our deposit we were asked to move our date forward as Close House were closing after October 2014. We chose 10th October 2014.
We got married at Holy Trinity Church, Seghill. This is the church my grandparents got married at in 1953. The daytime was spent in Close House and our evening venue was the golf house, No.19. Close House is very grand with large fireplaces and gorgeous chandeliers compared to No.19 which is very modern. This gave two different themes and separated the daytime to an evening party.
I didn’t want a certain colour theme. Originally I chose very pale, pastel colours for my flowers, but when the date changed I decided darker colours would better suit the time of year. The golf house is mainly decorated in red. I wanted the flowers for the tables to tie in with the colour of the room. Therefore my flowers were red, purples and hot pink. I knew from the beginning I didn’t want one certain shade of colour as a ‘theme’.
I knew I wanted my dress to be a little different as most brides do. I chose a fish tail Ellis dress with a cut out back. After ordering my dress we realised it was the same brand of dress my mother wore. I originally wanted a strapless dress but decided on a dress with long lacy sleeves with satin buttons. With the wedding now being October a sleeved dress would be practical for the weather. My dress was bought in New Beginnings, Whitley Bay.
Mark won a suit by T.M Lewin, for being ‘best dressed male’ at Newcastle races in 2013. As he had the choice of a free suit, shirt, tie and cufflinks, we decided he would use this for his wedding suit. He chose a bright blue suit, white shirt and blue tie and was a perfect fit.
We used Mark’s suit and matched the colour with a range of slim fit suits from Next for the groomsmen.
For the bridesmaids I originally wanted them to have different dresses but struggled to find five to go together. I decided to have my sister and cousin in short dresses and my three friends in long dresses from the same range in Coast.
Our photographer, Wiesia Bojko of Little Miss Boyco Photography, was recommended by one of my bridesmaids. We met over a coffee and I love the relaxed feel she has to her work. I didn’t want a photographer to take up a lot of the day taking group photographs. I prefer more natural shots, catching people enjoying themselves. I would definitely recommend her work.
My flowers were from the Flower Cabin in Seaton Delaval. I went in with an idea and a few pictures and the girls created exactly what I wanted. For my something old I used my Grandma’s earrings, which were bought for her by my Granddad on their 60th wedding anniversary. They had dark purple stones which added depth to my flowers. My bouquet had unusual flowers which felt like velvet. I had a structured bouquet bound with lace. My bridesmaids carried smaller versions of mine with a lighter purple through. The bridesmaids also has fresh flowers in their hair, positioned on an oversized comb.
For the wedding reception we had eight tables for the guests. We had four large candelabras with pearls draped over and a wreath of flowers surrounded by candles. The other four tables had low smaller wreaths with the flowers from the Flower Cabin, but made by my grandma. I used the same decorations for the tables for the evening. The top table was covered in different styles of glass jars and candles filled with flowers.
The favours were chocolates made by The Chocolate Smiths. For the ladies I had white chocolate with champagne and strawberry filling, heart shaped lollies with ‘10/10/14’ piped on the front. The men had chocolate and salted caramel lollies some with popcorn pieces. Mark’s niece the flower girl filled her goody bag with most of the guests’ lollies!
The entertainment was singer Glen Roughead. We first saw Glen performing at a wedding fair in Newton Hall. We booked him straight after. We continued to follow his work leading up to the wedding going to various gigs around the North East. He’s a lovely lad with a great talent. He played three acoustic sets during the time the guests arrived to Close House.
For our first dance we chose an acoustic version of Little Things by One Direction. We knew we didn’t just want to stand on the dance floor so three weeks before we decided to go for some lessons. Newcastle dance centre is where we went, and with our instructor Michael we made up a two minute routine to get us around the floor. This was my mother’s favourite part of the wedding as we kept it a surprise.
After getting married on the Friday, my parents had an after party on the Sunday at their house. We were blessed with good weather all weekend and this continued the wedding right over the weekend. We laughed about the wedding and looked at pictures from the day. We packed our cases on the Monday and left for a two-week honeymoon to Mexico on the Tuesday morning.
As an engagement gift I was given a wedding planning book. This was used throughout planning and organising the wedding so I kept everything together. It was an invaluable tool and I would encourage other Brides Up North to get one and do the same, keeping all receipts and leaflets in one place.
February 20th, 2014 | Julia Braime
The turn of the year seems so long ago now doesn’t it? After being deluged by storms and darkness, if anyone’s kept their New Year’s resolutions by now, it’ll be a small miracle, right?
Well, funnily enough though, for once I have, so allow me a moment of smug! Mine were simple – stress less, exercise more and prioritise the things (and folk) I love most. So far I’m on the right track. How are you checking in? March is a new month after all…
Two people who are sure to have kept their resolutions and promises are today’s beautiful bride Amy and her new husband Anthony, who said their vows in front of friends and family in Hexham on New Year’s Eve. This morning they are here to share their celebration with us.
With images by Paul Santos Photography.
Amy says: We got engaged on March 29th 2012, we had just been on a ride on the gondolas in Venice when Anthony popped the question.
We were married on December 31st 2013. We had the most fantastic ceremony held at Hexham Abbey with a reception at Langley Castle.
We chose our venues based on the history and style of buildings. We had wanted a very grand wedding with it being New Year’s Eve and wanted a day for everyone to remember.
Hexham Abbey was chosen to hold our ceremony as the religious side of things was taken very seriously at the Abbey making the day very personal, but it was also set in one of the most beautiful churches we have visited in the North East. Langley Castle gave us another grand and elegant building to host our reception and it had such good reviews from previous brides and grooms. The entrance to the castle was a main selling point.
We didn’t have a theme, we just wanted to create a day to remember. Most people are at a loose end on New Year’s Eve so we wanted to celebrate the date in locations that people would remember for years to come.
We chose a colour scheme of black, red and ivory. Red was to tie in with the colours of the castle and blacks were to bring in a classic look to go with New Year’s Eve.
After nearly a year of hunting I finally found a dress that was different to anything I had seen. I went for a fish tail style lace overlay dress designed by Justin Alexander and by one of his private labels so I knew it would be very unlikely that others would have seen this dress. As it is sold only in limited shops across the UK and can’t be viewed on his website, it gave me the exclusive look I had desired. I got my dress from Wild Brides At Heart in Durham City Centre.
My bridesmaids wore one shoulder Dessy dresses purchased from Isabelles Brides in Easington. I wanted a classic look to go with the style of wedding and we wanted our maid of honour and best man to stand out so they wore claret red whilst the rest of the groomsmen and bridesmaids wore black. The men wore French Connection evening suits with dicky bow ties for a classic evening look.
My flowers were put together by Wild and Wonderful Flowers and consisted of deep red roses, black berries and ivory roses to blend in with the colour theme.
My favourite part of the day was our ceremony. It was so meaningful and very touching. To add an extra special touch, during the signing of the register we had a recently signed professional opera singer performing which made the ceremony so elegant.
Our wedding cake was kindly made by Anthony’s auntie who makes cakes in her spare time.
We chose Gary James who performs swing and Michael Buble numbers for our entertainment. Gary sang throughout the meal which was a great touch as it took away the clattering of knifes and forks and helped the meal run even more smoothly. In the evening we had an acoustic singer called Alex Dobson who put his own spin on various new releases by bands and singers, before going into a traditional disco on the evening.
Following the wedding we jetted off on honeymoon to Lucea, Jamaica.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be that before booking any suppliers do your research and never book based on price alone. To ensure quality and value for money we sometimes had to bend our budget, but by doing this we got some of the best suppliers out there who had amazing reviews. Always read reviews before booking!
Congratulations Amy & Anthony!
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January 16th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Things are looking really rosy red this week on Brides Up North aren’t they? First up, the sun baked celebration of Annie and Lee yesterday, and now a complete about turn with today’s stunning winter Real Wedding. Shot by Hayley Baxter Photography, Clare and Lee-John’s big day had all the hallmarks of the perfect Christmas wedding – red berries, a feather cape, a dress to die for, Christmas pudding, a ruby red carriage and a partridge in a pear tree!
Clare says: We got engaged on 16 August 2013, in North Wales and were married on 21 December 2013 at Norcliffe Chapel, Styal with our reception at Quarry Bank Mill.
We visited the National Trust village and Mill in June 2013 and both absolutely loved the church and the imposing architecture of the Mill itself. Mandi and her team at the Mill were so helpful and were happy to assist in any way possible.
We chose a Christmas theme, we sang carols in the church and had mulled wine and mince pies at the drinks reception instead of canapés. We decorated the Mill ourselves with fairy lights, Christmas garlands and Christmas trees, including edible decorations and a gingerbread house. The table centres were hurricane vases with candles, holly, ivy, cinnamon, pine – all natural flowers and seasonal.
The colours were dark green and red. The green was chosen to incorporate the Bride’s Irish roots and the red for the groom’s Welsh roots. The bridesmaids wore dark green and the groomsmen all wore red ties and hankies. The bouquets were gorgeous red and green with grand prix roses for the bride and tulips for the bridesmaids and flower girls.
My dress was called Hazel by Anoushka G. I love it! I bought it from Lace Bridal in Hale who were so helpful. I am not a keen shopper and had given myself one day and two bridal shops to find my dream dress – I didn’t have to search for long… it was the first dress I tried on and it could not be matched! It was cut on the bias with mini capped embroidered sleeves with a cowl scoop at the back.
I had an oyster feather shrug to keep me warm too. I wore my wellies into the church as the path down was muddy and I didn’t want to spoil my Jimmy Choos!
My two adult bridesmaids wore a dark green maxi dress from Coast and the three flower girls wore gorgeous white dressed from Debenhams. They all had gorgeous fur shrugs for warmth and the two littlest flower girls wore White Uggs boots.
The groomsmen wore hired suits from Slaters in Manchester. They were dark grey tails with waistcoat and their own classic white shirts with bright red ties and hankies.
We hired a beautiful red and cream vintage car supplied by Love & Carriage.
January 15th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Brides Up North might know them better as members of the fantastic party band Func On The Rocks (trust me, I’ve partied with them – these guys really do rock, if you are looking for a band, check them out!) but today Annie and Lee are here to share their own wedding celebration on these pages, choosing a romantic red theme for their sunny big day in Cyprus. Just what the doctor ordered on a cold Wednesday morning!
With images by Mandy and Louis Christodoulou.
Annie says: Our’s is a real life ‘girl next door’ story. Lee was in a band with my housemate at the time and he moved in next door with another fellow band member. I used to go to a lot of their gigs and for a long time I was so shy around him that I couldn’t even make eye contact because I thought he was so hot! Eventually our eyes met after many fun nights out and the rest is history. Six years on, the bass player and lead singer were actually best man and maid of honour at our wedding.
After much pondering we decided to get married in Cyprus as we’ve had many memorable holidays there and have always had a soft spot for it.
We wanted somewhere private and intimate, for just us and our nearest and dearest. We fell in love with Vasilias Nikoklis Inn, near Paphos as soon as we saw it and knew it was perfect. It had everything we wanted, true authentic Greek family run business with delicious home cooked food and beautiful surroundings. It’s tucked away from all of the touristy hustle and bustle, at the foot of the Troodos mountains. You can’t beat waking up the morning after your wedding to a view like that.
December 31st, 2013 | Julia Braime
Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the team take a break until to rest and recharge for what’s set to be the biggest and best year yet at Brides Up North HQ, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding pretty.
Usual service will recommence on 2nd January 2014, but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings in 2013. Drop in every day for the very, very prettiest wedding inspiration and if you are a Brides Up North bride, to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks.
My god, Helen and Jamie’s wedding day looks like fun. This is one of those features – put together in the early hours of the morning (or the late hours of the night, whichever way you want to look at it) that makes me want to shut down the laptop, pick up those dancing shoes and a bottle of something cold and head off to party till dawn.
Bright, vibrant, individual and full of fun, I hope that this gorgeous Real Wedding spreads a little sunshine your way. Just watch out for dragons…
With images by Mike at One Wedding.
Helen says: We got engaged in June 2011, in Hong Kong. We were living in a city called Zhuhai in mainland China at the time and Jamie whisked me away to Hong Kong as a surprise to celebrate 9 years since our 1st date. Despite a typhoon and last minute customs issues with the ring J’s plan came together!
We were married on 6th July 2013 in the gardens of Woodthorpe Hall in Derbyshire The ceremony took place in the cider press and the reception outside and in a marquee on the lawn.
We chose the venue because of it’s stunning location. We were showed round by the house owner Dick and he was so friendly and his wife Sue was brilliant. We had the freedom to choose anything we liked, bringing in our own suppliers and spend the week before customising the whole place.
Our theme was a hint of China! We lived in China for almost four years and got engaged in Hong Kong so there were a few nods to that part of our lives. We brought back all sorts of lanterns and flags for decorations and filled the fridges with Tsingtao beer (from the city where we lived). Our first dance was a Chinese pop song. Our colours were lucky Chinese red and white.
My dress came from a shop in Manchester, I was after something a bit different and once I saw it I knew I’d found the right one. It was a bit of an ordeal because I had sorted something from China that didn’t work out in the end so it was quite a last minute find but it was all ok in the end!
I had one bridesmaid; Jamie’s sister Em. She looked stunning in a red dress made for her in China. She sent us some pictures of the style she liked and we chose the material and had it made. My other best mates all wore something with a touch of red and we all carried red or white parasols. Jamie and the groomsmen wore the same suit they found on a shopping outing together. The teamed it up with waistcoats/ties to suit their own style.
We originally wanted red and white orchids in our bouquets but it was such a hot week that the florist, Jo Price, called and said they wouldn’t last the day so we added in roses.
The ceremony was in the same place as the reception so we didn’t have any transport between the two. I travelled in style with my Dad whose car my bro polished to perfection. We had a great moment with the top down and the music playing going down the country lanes.
A really special moment was when three friends sang a song during the ceremony. A school friend, uni friend and neighbour got together for the first time the morning of the wedding and by the afternoon were playing beautifully during the ceremony!
A highlight of the day was the arrival of the Sheffield Chinese Lion Dance Troupe just after the meal. Jamie and I had arranged for this to be a total surprise so everybody was shocked and excited. Brilliant!
Thanks to the help of friends and family we personalised the tables and marquee. We glued photos of us with friends and family onto red ribbon to make bunting and string it around the marquee. There were photos of every guest as well as friends who couldn’t make it everywhere.
We used beer bottles from around the world as table markers and a friend did calligraphy for names. The table centres were flower arrangements made by Jamie’s Mum and friends teamed up with some Chinese fans. We brought back some Chinese bracelets which we used as napkin rings for the guests to keep. Instead of favours we put a pound coin in a Chinese box and told guest to choose a pot labelled for three different charities. People added some extra coins and we raised over £300.
Dick and Sue at Woodthorpe Hall were fantastic. They were so hands on and helpful. The guests said they felt very well looked after. They only do a handful of weddings a year so it felt very personal.
We hired a Marquee from Ascot Marquees. ‘Marquee Mark’ helped us hang lanterns and red bunting (expertly made by my Mum!) and the place looked great. A friend from Totally Gazeboed contributed gazebos for the string quartet and a photo booth. We raided the attic for some props and got some hilarious shots.
We brought in our own booze and homemade canapés. Jamie used to live in Germany so the last time he went to visit his friends there he filled up the car with mini kegs of German beer which we placed around the garden for people to help themselves to. PJ Taste provided the main food. Wonderful! We had BBQ steak, swordfish and veg with lots of lovely salads. Highly recommended. Our friends from Cocoa Wonderland sorted us out with some yummy chocs.
My mum baked fruit cake for the three tiers and iced them white then the week before the wedding my friends came over to help decorate. Kat and Sarah made sugar paste flowers and James helped stack the tiers and add the ribbon. We also had friends bake cakes to bring along so we had lots to choose
For the evening dancing we played our favourite tunes and friends and brothers helped to DJ. We also had a fab impromptu ukulele song by Geoff who got everyone singing along.
I have so many favourite parts to the day! Standing there with Jamie at the ceremony. Seeing all our different friends and family all together having fun. The speeches. People’s reaction to the Lion Dance. Having a moment with Jamie taking it all in looking over the moors. The first dance and the dancing to Design for Life with my Dad and friends. Everything was so positive and lovely.
After the wedding we honeymooned at a music festival in Lisbon (including seeing Biffy Clyro whose music we used during our ceremony) and spent some time on the Portuguese coast.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to add lots of little things to make the day feel yours and don’t get too worried what other people do for their weddings. The day is very personal, there are a lot of extras that you don’t always need. Include things that reflect you!
Congratulations Helen & Jamie!
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