January 7th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
For us there’s nothing better than a bright, breezy & beautiful wedding which is why we love this afternoon’s pretty celebrations so much.
Deciding on an elegant English country garden theme for her big day, bride Emma set about picking seasonal blooms and hand-making lots of dainty décor that would set the feel of the day perfectly.
Girl, we think you hit the nail on the head! Cue soft, pastel colours, dreamy styling and lots of fabulous flowers…
emma says: We got engaged in September 2013, when we had been together eight months. Patrick told me he was going to take me away as an early birthday present, I had no idea where we were going but presumed somewhere in the UK. The morning we were travelling I was woken up with a wrapped gift which was a travel guide to Venice! When we arrived we found a lovely Italian pizzeria for some dinner then we had a slow wander along the canals back towards our hotel and this is when I started to suspect a little as Patrick became nervous and very aware of his surroundings. He walked me onto the bridge that goes over the Grand Canal and when no one else was around he dropped to one knee and asked me if I would do him the honour of being his wife! It was all very romantic and unexpected. I couldn’t have planned a proposal more perfect.
We chose 16th September 2015, as our wedding date as we felt two years was a good amount of time to both plan and save for the wedding we wanted. It was also close to the date that we got engaged.
We got married at Woodhill Hall, Northumberland. There was something about the venue that drew us in from when we first saw it on the internet and as soon as we saw it in person we just knew it was for us. The location speaks for itself with breath-taking views and the venue is so quirky with its fantastic interiors. We wanted a small, intimate wedding and loved that all our guests could stay in one place with us. The majority of our guests (and us included) were travelling from over 300 miles away so it was important that we could provide the accommodation for them. We felt that Woodhill Hall was somewhere worth travelling all that way for.
We went for what I would call an ‘English Country Garden’ look for the theme – the flowers especially were key to this. I just felt like there needed to be flowers everywhere in jars which I’d hand decorated with ribbon, lace and twine. It’s a look I’ve always had in my head as how I would envisage our wedding to be and thankfully Patrick completely agreed and wanted the same things.
We chose pastel pink and a very light pink as our main colour scheme and duck egg blue as an accent colour, which came from a photograph I’d found on Pinterest.
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December 23rd, 2015 | Julia Braime
We wish you a Merry Christmas! We’re taking a short break to celebrate the season, but will be back bright and early on 4th January 2016. Until then, you can catch up on your favourite weddings of 2015 here, and we’ll leave you with this incredibly beautiful real wedding to whet your appetite for some super pretty inspiration coming your way in the New Year. Now, pass the prosecco would you..?
Not only is this wedding stunning to look at, but there’s real sentiment and thought behind the various elements of the day. In particular, the first dance that Rachel had with her dad pulls at the heart strings and hopefully encourages brides to plan details that will stay with them long beyond the big day itself.
So let’s get into the pretty (just look at that House of Mooshki gown!) and look forward to another fabulous year of real weddings to come in 2016. Cheers to that!
With images by Helen Russell Photography.
rachel says: We got engaged while in Paris in February 2014 – the trip was a surprise organised by Daniel. He got down on one knee as we were walking along the banks of the River Seine in the shadow of Notre-Dame. It was the perfect proposal!
Our wedding was on 12th August 2015, at Woodhill Hall in Northumberland. Exclusive use was very important to us. We also wanted to have an intimate gathering with close friends and family the night before the wedding and the self-catering facilities at Woodhill Hall made this possible. We also fell in love with the location, the distinctive décor and the flexibility that this venue provided.
Above all else I wanted the wedding to be elegant, timeless and pretty. We chose a colour scheme of muted pastel shades in blushes and mint, which suited our theme perfectly.
My dress was Poppy by House of Mooshki – a blush tea length, tulle and lace gown with illusion neckline and cap sleeves. It was love at first sight – the first dress I tried on! My shoes were Jimmy Choo.
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October 22nd, 2015 | Julia Braime
This afternoon on the blog we have a delicious scoop of wedding day inspiration for you in the form of Jo and Nick’s rustic themed big day at Keythorpe Manor.
After saying their vows in a quaint barn setting, the newlyweds and their guests moved onto an onsite marquee for the reception where they danced the night. (Nick perhaps putting in a little too much effort on the dancefloor resulting in a rather embarrassing trouser incident!)
Highlights for us (apart from Nick’s comedy moment) include the gorgeous pink colour palette, a rather delicious looking wedding cake and Jo’s stunning dress, personalised to perfection!
With images by Emily & Katy Wedding Photography.
jo says: Nick proposed in Prague during a long weekend away. I had suspected that it may happen but couldn’t find the ring anywhere in the house so my suspicions were squashed!
Nick spent the day looking for a place to propose but I kept ruining it by needing the toilet, or a drink, or some food! Eventually, we went back to the amazing hotel we were staying in, I ran a bath and enjoyed champagne with strawberries. When I got out there was a fruit platter on the bed with the ring in the middle. I burst out crying and Nick got down on one knee.
We set the date for Friday 21st August. Nick really wanted a summer wedding. Even a year in advance, securing a date was difficult as our chosen venue already had most weekends booked up. A Friday seemed workable as we sent out invites as soon as possible so few people had booked their summer holidays. It was also in the school holidays so our friends who were teachers could attend.
We got married at Keythorpe Manor, Leicester. We were keen to have a marquee setting for the reception and as many of our friends lived outside the area, we also wanted to have the ceremony and reception in one place to reduce travel on the day.
We viewed a few venues which had marquees on site but some were rather tired and worn. The beauty of Keythorpe was that it had a permanent marquee with proper windows and doors which was well maintained. They also had a barn for the ceremony, which despite being recently built, had an authentic feel to it.
We were pretty relaxed about a wedding theme. With the rolling countryside around the venue, we wanted it to feel quite rustic with a countryside feel. This is what drove the colours and style of the flowers and we used a lot of brown string and wooden pegs for hanging decorations.
Pink and metallics made up the colour scheme. We had visited Keythorpe Manor on the day of a wedding so we could see how it looked setup. The venue used a lot of neutrals and pale peach. I wanted it to have more colour than that and so added pink to our scheme which I thought fitted in with the countryside styling.
I wore a full length, lace, Essense of Australia dress with lace straps and an open heart back. The lace was ivory with a coffee coloured underlay. I wore it with a coffee coloured belt with crystals on the front and added a crystal and pearl back necklace myself.
I have always liked lace and saw myself wearing it on my wedding day. After trying on many different styles I found this dress on my first shopping trip, though I decided not to buy it immediately. I found it again at the Birmingham Wedding Show being sold by Georgina Scott Bridal. They were offering a 20% discount if deposit was paid on the day. This time we went for it and my mum kindly paid the deposit there and then!
During one of the fittings one of my friends suggested trying to get something to go across the back of my dress. I searched Etsy for many back necklaces and came across one made by a supplier called La Luna Couture, which I ordered. It had broaches on each end which meant I could simply clip it to the back of my dress. I was so pleased when I received it, it was absolutely gorgeous. It made such a difference to the dress and I received so many compliments on how beautiful it was. Everyone thought it was part of the dress!
Nick wore a blue suit from Reiss with waistcoat, white shirt with a cutaway collar and pink tie from TM Lewin, pink socks from Thomas Pink, Mulberry cufflinks, gold personalised tie clip from Not On The High Street, Daniel Wellington watch and black buckle shoes from Russell and Bromley.
The groomsmen had blue suits from M&S with the same pink tie as Nick and their own black shoes.
My uncle/godfather drove me and my dad in his BMW with cream, leather interior to the wedding venue. It meant a lot to me having them both there and my uncle had even prepared a playlist for the car journey. My aunt also arranged flowers for the back of the car. Nick meanwhile borrowed his grandad’s convertible Jaguar XK8 to drive to the venue.
Emily and Katy Wedding Photography were our photographers on the day. We also had an engagement shoot with them at the venue before the wedding. I will actively recommend them to everyone! We really enjoyed the experience of having our photos taken by them. We were really pleased with the outcome of the engagement shoot and even more pleased with our wedding shots. Their turnaround time and communication is also fantastic, which you don’t find with all wedding suppliers. We never once felt uncomfortable.
My bouquet was made up of memory lane and pink roses, gypsophila and pink hydrangea. It was absolutely beautiful. Caroline Billson provided all of the flowers on the day. She was amazing from start to finish and one of the easiest suppliers I was lucky enough to deal with. She made sure that the barn for the ceremony was complete by adding some of her own lanterns on the day of the wedding.
The bridesmaids had gypsophila posies to fit in with my bouquet. All the flowers were so full and gorgeous. In the barn for the ceremony there were twig hearts decorated with gypsophila and eucalyptus. Caroline also provided lanterns at the entrance to create an arch at the beginning of the aisle surrounded by roses and hydrangeas.
For the table decorations we had metallic vases filled with pink hydrangeas and gypsophila dotted throughout. The vases sat on mirrored plates with heart chalkboard table numbers resting on top.
We decorated the marquee drapes with several paper pompoms and bunting which was bought from Amazon. The tables were also decorated with glass candle holders and taillights and pink and gold table confetti.
We weren’t sure if we were going to give any favours at first but then I spotted some cheap mini bottles of Jagermeister whilst skiing in Austria. We had to stuff our ski kit with enough bottles for the entire wedding to get them home! It was definitely worth it though and they were consumed following the speeches. For the non-drinkers, we placed Loveheart sweets on the tables instead.
Our wedding cake was a naked Victoria sponge cake decorated with fruits, which was baked by my aunt. She has made every birthday cake I have ever had and I was so pleased when she accepted my request to bake our wedding cake. It tasted fantastic, I never expected anything less from her. All the guests loved it.
We were always keen to show some personality in the food we chose for our wedding breakfast. As we are big pie fans and I’m from Melton Mowbray, pie was an obvious choice from the start. We did the classic three course sit down meal and guests had three choices of pie to pick from: steak and ale, chicken, ham and leek or fish pie. In the evening, we had a cake of cheese, pork pie and a selection of chutneys, crackers and accompaniments.
Emerson & West in Market Harborough were our caterers. They were really great. It is a family run business and Michael made sure we had thought of everything. They were really flexible and on the day everyone said how great the staff were.
During the evening reception we also had a sweet table, that we did ourselves, with treats such as Lovehearts, Haribo hearts, pink shrimps and cola bottles, which kept everyone going later in the night.
To provide entertainment, we had The Wigornia String Quartet to play during the ceremony and the drinks reception. We also had lawn games such as boules and croquet.
For the evening reception we had a DJ called Matt from Dancefloor DJs & Events to make sure that everyone was up and dancing to burn off all that pie and sweets. Nick was very particular about the music and band any cheese! The music was so good that there was even a girl/boy dance off during Justin Timberlake’s Senorita.
Looking back my favourite part of the day was the ceremony, it was fantastic. It meant so much and reminded us that the day was all about us, the promises we were making to one another and our lives together. It is easy to forget what the day is about during the planning and worrying about all the other details. We were lucky with our registrars too, they were fantastic and captivated the guests throughout the ceremony.
Nick’s favourite part of the wedding was the dancing at the reception. All of our family and friends were on the dance floor at some point during the night and Nick even split his trousers!
For our honeymoon we toured around a few destinations. First stop was Hong Kong where we explored the peak, huge Buddha and enjoyed a luxury meal and the views at Aqua restaurant. We had plenty of cocktails courtesy of wedding gifts funded through Prezola. We then flew to Bali, stayed in Ubud for a few days then travelled around Lombok and Nusa Lembongan, which are islands nearby.
We had a gift list on Prezola where we listed out the activities we planned to do on our honeymoon which guests could contribute money to. This was great for us as we got to do so many activities and guests really felt that they had involvement in our honeymoon. Overall, we did canyoning (abseiling down waterfalls and jumping in to water from rocks), surfing lessons, private snorkelling trip, bicycle hire, romantic candlelit dinner in our pool villa, Indonesian cooking class and plenty of cocktails and champagne! We had the most amazing time.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would definitely be to consider a wedding planner, especially if you are restricted on time or don’t have access to your venue the day before. We decided it would be an unnecessary cost, however on reflection it would have been worth it, you underestimate how much time it takes to coordinate suppliers, particularly when working full time.
Even if your venue already has one, don’t expect them to be completely on top of things. There are so many weddings they handle they will not always remember the details which you have provided. However an independent planner will and would take care of the setting up and ensure that the day runs smoothly for you.
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September 18th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Where do we start with today’s real wedding? We love it all!
From the dreamy Lake District venue to the chic, simple styling and romantic blooms, this wedding is brimming with class. Who would think that an all ivory wedding could pack such a pretty punch?
So to all those bride-to-bes looking for styling inspiration, sit back and take note on how simple can become stand out!
With images by Jessica O’Shaughnessy.
carly says: We got engaged on Christmas Eve 2011. We were walking in Sefton Park, a large park in Liverpool at the time. This is the place where my nan and grandad met on the boating lake. David proposed on one knee whilst we were sitting on the park bench.
We set the date for Thursday 23rd July 2015. No significant reason really, other than I’m a teacher and it fitted in nicely with the six week break. A mid-week wedding at first wasn’t what we wanted, but the venue, Askham Hall in Penrith, had no other availability so we went with it.
We always fancied the Lake District for our wedding as David’s mum has a place there and we visit quite often. When I was looking for the venue, I stumbled across Askham Hall; we both travelled up there Christmas of last year and loved it! It was exactly what we were looking for, small enough to be able to have exclusive use; it has a civil ceremony license to hold the ceremony in the barn attached to the venue and the grounds are stunning so it was perfect!
We didn’t have a theme as such, but the styling was simple and clean. I’ve always liked the look of things when they’re not fussy and over the top so that’s what I had in mind really – classy)
In terms of colour, everything was ivory. My dress, bridesmaid dresses, stationary, cake etc. Again, I like the simple, clean look of this.
My dress was bespoke Kirsty Doyle a local Liverpool designer, who I worked with when I was younger. Kirsty was making bridesmaid dresses for a good friend of mine and I approached her one day about making my dress. I took in a number of images and ideas to her studio and it was a step-by-step process until I had my dream dress, which fitted perfectly. My bridesmaid dresses are also designed and made by Kirsty. I knew Kirsty was the best and had heard numerous stories about her, so there was no question.
David, the best man and father of the bride all wore navy suits from Reiss, which were shop bought and then tailored to fit.
Jessica O’Shaughnessy was our photographer and she is amazing! I couldn’t have wished for a better photographer on the day. She is so professional, laid back, friendly and of course creative. The images are stunning; she has a real natural flare I feel and I would certainly recommend her to others. Jessica fitted right in with the wedding party/guests and was really accommodating all day!
My flowers were provided by Heather Feather from Flower Fashion. I carried a bouquet of David Austin roses and peonies and my bridesmaids’ bouquets were roses, peonies and sweet peas. They were divine! All ivory.
All the floral decorations were also done by Heather, and again all ivory. The table decorations were a mixture of tall centre pieces and lower ones. Floating candles were used. Candles were placed in tall vases down the aisle with rose petals too. Huge vases with hydrangeas were placed at the top and bottom of the aisle. Heather did all of this set up, arriving before the ceremony at 10am and staying until the wedding breakfast was set up! Other décor at the reception included drapes and fairy lights across the beams in the ceiling provided by SVL Lighting.
We also used a light up ‘love’ sign provided by a local guy called Matt from Party Pics Photobooths. He was great. He delivered, installed and collected the sign at no extra expense and the sign itself really made the venue in the evening.
Favours were Grasmere gingerbread in the shape of a heart. Two pieces were given to each guest in a white heart shaped box with a simple piece of ribbon across the box with our names and the date on. There were provided by Grasmere Gingerbread.
Our cake was made by a family friend. Four tiers and all Victoria sponge with ivory icing. Fresh David Austin roses were placed on the cake by Heather at the venue for decoration.
In terms of food we had prosecco and canapés after the ceremony. Then for the wedding breakfast we chose, carrot and coriander soup to start, chicken, dauphinoise potatoes and seasonal vegetables for main and then shortbread, vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce for desert.
To create the desired ambiance, we had a string quartet playing for the guests in the barn before I arrived and they remained throughout the ceremony. They played Cannon in D as I was walking down the aisle, Kissing You as we were signing the register and then The Beatles All You Need Is Love as we were walking out together. We then had the Gypsies of Bohemia playing on the lawns of the hall as our guests were having prosecco and canapés. Later in the evening we had a band called The Four Wise Monkeys playing for two hours, then a DJ until 1.30am. David was responsible for sorting out the entertainment. The two groups were recommended by the hall however, and after some of our own research, we decided to go with them – they were great!
Special additions to the day included a reading in the ceremony given by David’s sister. We also decided just before our first dance, to get everyone in the mood to have a good dance, that we would offer everyone a shot of tequila. The staff at the venue were very accommodating and came around with the shot, salt and lime, for each guest. We all got together on the dance floor, had the shot and hopefully then everyone was in the mood for the evening even more so!
We would definitely recommend our venue to other couples. The whole experience was amazing. We were able to have the venue exclusively, so we checked in on the Wednesday, used the spa, outdoor heated pool and had amazing food and drinks in the evening for all guests. Then breakfast the following day was stunning too. Everything that the staff did was perfect. They were always there, without being seen really, so it felt like the whole place was ours for those few days. Just amazing!
It’s hard to say what my favourite part of the day was, but if I had to choose it would probably be just after the ceremony and having prosecco and canapés on the lawns of the venue. The weather was amazing, and it was the perfect time to soak it all up, chat with our guests and listen to The Gypsies of Bohemia playing lovely music. I wish I could re-live that time and time again!
Because David works in Qatar, our honeymoon had to be short so as he could get back to work. We travelled to Paris for two nights and two days, and then flew to Cannes for three nights, three days, then to Monte Carlo for one night. It was brilliant. David organised this without me knowing! So when I was told about this, I was over the moon! It was a magical time!
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be not over-think anything. Go with your gut instinct on things that you like and see and stick with it. One thing everyone told me was to enjoy it and make sure you take everything in because it goes by so quickly! It’s the best time of your life.
September 16th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Bride Jenny’s top tip to other brides-to-be is quite simply ‘do it your own way’, and that’s exactly what she and groom Owen did when it came to their big day.
Keen to ditch tradition, the couple chose an unusual venue and opted for a dark colour scheme with pops of colour here and there, though bridal white was strictly off limits.
On the day Jenny and Owen enjoyed an intimate ceremony with just 24 guests, before partying hard in the evening with 240 family and friends, showing you really can have it all your own way (well on your wedding day anyway).
With images by David Walters Photography.
jenny says: We got engaged on Christmas Eve 2014. We were sitting on the sofa watching Die Hard (good job it’s one of my favourite films). Owen hadn’t picked a ring, so after popping the question, we went together to pick one.
We set the date for 2nd April 2015. We liked the idea of an evening wedding and didn’t see the need to wait long.
Our venue was the Titanic Hotel and Rum Warehouse in Liverpool. We loved the look of the hotel on the website so decided to go and see it. We didn’t look anywhere else! It was amazing. Exactly what we wanted and we could tailor everything to fit in with us. It wasn’t a traditional wedding and unlike lot of places it didn’t specify that we had to have certain things, like a sit down meal, which we didn’t want.
The Titanic was fabulous, dramatic, unique, and we were the first wedding ceremony and reception to be held there, which made it extra special. We loved the industrial feel of the hotel and that a darker colour scheme would fit perfectly there. They could also accommodate all of our reception guests, which a lot of places couldn’t. A lot of people stayed over at the hotel and it was brilliant for everyone to come through to the Rum Bar after the reception and then to have breakfast with everyone the next day. The presidential suite was fabulous, we made the most of it and stayed for three nights! The staff were amazing and bent over backwards to give us an amazing day, the little touches and attention to detail were incredible. The derelict warehouse opposite made for an incredibly dramatic backdrop to the whole thing too.
Our wedding theme was simple – no white! We loved the venue’s replica of the Titanic staircase and chose to have our ceremony at the bottom of it. The venue is quite dark – lots of grey, black and wood – which we loved, so I decided on a silver dress, then the other colours we added were mainly grey and black with a little navy and a splash of coral. There were a few art deco touches too, which fitted well with the feel of the venue.
I had picked a pale grey dress from Coast as I didn’t want to wear white or ivory, but then I changed my mind a couple of months before the wedding. I knew I still wanted a non-traditional colour so rang a few shops to see if they had any silver or grey dresses in stock (I didn’t have time to order one). Only one shop did and they only had two – I bought one of them on the spot! I loved the soft silver colour and the delicate lace with tiny pearls and crystals on. The dress was from Copplestones Bridal, Liverpool, where I received brilliant service and the wonderful seamstress Maxine, completely redesigned the dress for me.
On the wedding day I wore it with a white birdcage veil, an art deco style hair slide and nude Louboutin shoes. I also had coral nails, a coral and white flower and a coral wrap, which added a bit of colour. Peaches and Cream did a fab job with my hair and makeup, also my mum’s makeup and my bridesmaids’ hair.
Owen wore a navy Reiss suit, grey waistcoat and white shirt. His tan shoes were from Jones and he had a dark grey tie and pocket square handmade by Sasha – our lovely wedding coordinator.
My bridesmaids wore navy Coast Lori Lee knee length dresses and thee groomsmen wore their own suits.
David Walters was our photographer on the day and he was brilliant! He specialises in candid, documentary style photography, which was exactly what we wanted, with a few formal ones thrown in too. We would highly recommend him.
I wasn’t going to have any flowers as I don’t think they would have fitted with the industrial feel of the venue but again, I changed my mind last minute and had some huge paper flowers made for me and my bridesmaids! They chose pink and I had an ombre coral to white effect. They looked brilliant and I had loads of comments about them.
Big Entertainments provided our decorations; hurricane lanterns on the staircase and huge candelabras for the ceremony, which were then moved to the tables for the reception. The venue doesn’t need a lot of decoration as it is so stunning. Big Entertainments also provided lots of blue uplighters to add to the effect, as well as black chair covers with silver hoods for the ceremony.
We didn’t want a traditional wedding cake and so instead, the venue made lemon and poppy seed cupcakes for us.
For the food, we chose pink prosecco and canapés for immediately after the ceremony, then pink prosecco and bottles of beer as welcome drinks, served on salvaged croupier tables. For the meal we had fish and chips and roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, then cupcakes and rum cocktails (which we gave as favours) to finish off. Plus a popcorn and candyfloss cart!
To keep guests entertained, we had a live band called The Clink, they were brilliant and played a range of music to suit everyone. We also had casino tables from Big Entertainments, which helped to keep everyone occupied.
As special touches on the day, we had a wooden drop top guestbook, which required guests to sign wooden hearts and the drop them inside. Also the hotel projected our names and the date on the wall of the venue, which we thought was brilliant.
Following our wedding, we would definitely recommend the venue to others. It’s unique and you can tailor the day exactly how you want it. Sasha the wedding coordinator is worth her weight in gold!
On reflection I’d say the reception was my favourite part of the day – looking around and seeing 240 people who have all made the effort for your day was amazing. Our intimate ceremony with 24 people was also amazing though. Our dads doing surprise speeches on the staircase was brilliant, as was Owen taking the stage before the food and giving a speech too. Lots of favourite parts!
After the wedding we had a minimoon in the UK. We went to Warwick Castle, The Harry Potter Tour and York (where we bought my engagement ring from). We are planning to go to Canada for a proper honeymoon this month.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would simply be – do it your way! Our non-traditional wedding made people dubious about how the day would work at first but everyone has said how much they enjoyed it and that it will be a hard wedding to top
July 22nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
52 skidoo, art deco, art deco wedding, cake chester, cheshire rose bridal, chester wedding, debenhams, doubletree chester, Enzoani, fresh of chester, gray weddings, grosvenor classic cars, hilton, House Of Fraser, jeffery west, mr simms olde sweet shoppe, next, pollyanna vintage, rachel simpson, racoon graphic design, ragdoll photography, reiss, the little homebird
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