March 26th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Avid Brides Up North reader Sarah’s wedding to her new husband Ross was a truly gorgeous affair. From her lace Victoria Jane dress (oh, how we love a gown with beautiful back detailing) to the stately setting and vintage transport, everything about the big day is stunning.
We also absolutely adore the theme for this fabulous North West wedding – love is the key.
So join us as we unlock and relive Sarah and Ross’ big day.
sarah says: We got engaged on 14th August 2013. This was the day before my birthday and Ross had surprised me with a night at Peckforton Castle in Tarporley. Whilst he was checking in, they told him there would be a tour of the hotel before dinner. I was more concerned about traipsing around in my heels but Ross managed to persuade me (as he had planned this it was a good job!) The guy showing us round took us all around the hotel, telling us the history which was great. In the grounds of the castle there is a chapel, as we walked in the whole place was filled with candles and looked beautiful. As I was looking around, Ross had gone down on one knee with a beautiful ring. I was so shocked and lost for words he had to ask me three times if it was a yes! We came out to a champagne reception and had the most amazing meal – it was perfect.
We chose to get married on 15th February 2015. It gave us 18 months to plan which we thought would be about right. We looked at having it on Valentine’s Day but we though guests might want to be on their own that day. Also it means that Ross has to buy me a present for Valentine’s and our anniversary now instead of having a combined one!
We got married at Adlington Hall & Gardens. We looked at a few venues, as we were having a civil ceremony, we knew we didn’t just want to get married in any old hotel room and none we saw were quite right. We made an appointment to view Adlington Hall and as soon as we walked into The Great Hall we were absolutely blown away by how stunning it was, it was the one! We loved the fact the whole place was ours for the day and we were truly treated like royalty. We also loved the fact we had two different venues in one. The ceremony in The Great Hall and wedding breakfast at the Hunting Lodge. From the very first meeting we had, the whole team were amazing professionals. This gave us confidence that the day would go smoothly. It was perfect!
We have two children Scarlett, aged eight, and Oscar, aged three, who were our flower girl and page boy at the wedding. Scarlett did a beautiful reading (A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton) at the ceremony which was very special and there were definitely a few tears shed by all. It was lovely to have them involved.
I came across the quote by Oliver Wendel Holmes – ‘love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness’ – and the whole ‘Love is the Key’ theme was born! I wanted something elegant and vintage that would reflect the history of the venue. Also very romantic with lots of candles, beautiful flowers and pearls.
We chose lilac and ivory as our colour scheme. Purple is my favourite colour and this fitted in nicely for the vintage elegance we were trying to achieve.
I knew I wanted a fitted, mermaid style lace dress but I wanted something at the back of the dress that made it different. As soon as I saw the Victoria Jane Ivy dress I knew that ticked all the boxes! I loved the pearl draping at the back and I thought it looked very elegant and vintage, which is exactly what I was looking for. I teamed this with a beautiful pearl headpiece which reflected the draping on the dress. I got this from a shop on Etsy called Gilded Shadows, it came over from the United States and was perfect. I also wore a crystal edged veil which was my ‘something borrowed’ as it was my wonderful sister Rebecca’s wedding veil she let me use. My diamante encrusted shoes came from Next and matched perfectly.
Ross wore a dark blue suit with grey waistcoat by Paul Costelloe. He teamed this with a grey and lilac tie which brought the whole outfit together. He looked very handsome!
My two sisters wore long lilac chiffon dresses with embellished necklines, which they teamed with a pale lilac feather cape from Coast. They also wore a pearl hair comb from Highland Angel which finished the whole outfit beautifully, they looked stunning!
The three (yes three!) best men and our fathers all wore two-piece navy blue suits from Austin Reed. They teamed this with a lilac tie. My son and three nephews as pageboys wore navy suits from BHS with lilac bow ties and lilac trainers – super cute! My daughter’s dress was by Pearce Fionda, I also got a vintage style diamante brooch to put on the waistband which mirrored my dress.
My father, my son and I arrived at the venue in a stunning 1930s Beauford. The rest of the bridal party arrived in a Daimler State Limousine.
Our photographer was James Tracey. I had looked at loads of photographers on the internet and James’ images really stood out. We knew we didn’t want the cheesy poses and wanted natural, documentary style images that really told the story of our day. James did not disappoint at all. We met for a pre-wedding shoot which was fantastic as it really helped us to relax in front of the camera when wedding day nerves set in and gave us confidence that the images would be great on the day. The images we have are stunning and have really captured the best moments of the day. James really talked us through every stage but was so unobtrusive on the day, it was perfect. We were both blown away and would highly recommend him. So many of our guests have commented on how amazing the images are too!
I wanted an informal bouquet in lilac and ivory with foliage. I had seen the amnesia rose and knew I wanted them included as they are a beautiful lilac colour and look so vintage. I also included lavender in all the flowers as I love the smell and the colours and style matched perfectly with the day. I also got some vintage style pearl brooches which were put onto mine and my bridesmaids’ bouquets and really finished them off. The flowers were provided by The Wild Bunch in Macclesfield. They were absolutely fantastic and exceeded my expectations in how they translated my vision for the styling of the day.
The Wild Bunch also provided flowers for the decor. I wanted lots of candles and cluster vases with various flowers that tied in with my bouquet. We had this set up for the ceremony table and also the top table. We used some vases which my sister-in-law had used at her wedding last year which was a special touch. It was stunning and took my breath away when I first walked in. The smell of lavender was amazing. The tables had fish bowl centre pieces with matching flowers. I had sourced lots of mercury glass tea light holders as well as some gorgeous antique lilac coloured ones which had pearl details on. There were lots of holders in various shapes and sizes on every table and around the cake. It created such a romantic feel to the day. There were also scatters of table pearls which completed the look.
We gave our guests bottle openers shaped like a vintage key as favours. They seemed to like the practical gift! For the evening we made some hangover kits. I found some small muslin bags on Etsy and had them personalised and sent over from The States. I filled them with mints, plasters and Alka Seltzer and put them over a bottle of water. A lifesaver for those who were celebrating a bit too hard!
My amazing friend Nova made my cake despite being nearly eight months pregnant! It was a three-tier sponge cake of chocolate, lemon and vanilla – delicious! It was lilac and ivory and had lace effect icing on the top two tiers. There were ivory and amnesia roses, foliage and pearl droplets in between the bottom two tiers. I also had an amazing cake topper custom made from Better off Wed on Etsy which said Love is the Key.
Ross and I are massive foodies so this was a really important part of the day. We had a delicious selection of canapés after the ceremony with champagne and mulled wine, which was perfect for a winter wedding. For our wedding breakfast we wanted food that we love and decided on smoked salmon to start, fillet mignon, which was absolutely amazing and perfectly cooked, for main followed by profiteroles with chocolate rum sauce for the gents and raspberry creme brûlée with shortbread biscuit for the ladies with coffee and petit fours to finish. We had a choice of wine and champagne too. For the evening we had bacon, sausage and fish finger sandwiches. Just what was needed! The crepes just about finished us off but I managed to squeeze in a chocolate and Baileys one!
The food was unbelievable, all our guests couldn’t compliment it enough. We also used vintage champagne saucers for the toast. These had been tirelessly scoured for by Ross’ parents and sister Fran and had been used at her wedding last year. It was a lovely finishing touch and was extra special as they were hers.
We used the amazing pianist Guy Porteous, to play from the ceremony right through to the end of the wedding breakfast. He is fantastically talented and was a lovely extra special touch to have him there. In the evening we chose to have a DJ to get the party started. He is the resident DJ at Adlington Hall and did a great job getting everyone dancing with a variety of songs that catered for the varied age range.
In terms of special touches, I had seen the large light up letters people hire for weddings and thought they made such a great focal point. I hired our LOVE sign from Dressed to Impress at Blakemere and it added a real wow factor, perfect for photo poses! We also had a wish tree as an alternative guest book. I found some tags on eBay which guests wrote their ‘key to a happy marriage’ message on and hung them on the tree. This was decorated with fairy lights, crystals and some vintage keys borrowed from Ross’ parents. I spent ages making escort card tags for the guest seating plan. I attached small keys to each tag and hung them from a mirror on ribbons. The guests then took their own key tag to keep. It was something different and the guests loved it. We hired a crepe station as a surprise for our guests in the evening. Original Crepes were fantastic, they provided a huge choice of sweet and savoury crepes and they tasted delicious. It was something the guests weren’t expecting and everyone loved it!
I had a sign made for our son Oscar to carry down the aisle, it said: ‘Daddy here comes Mummy’. He’d been practicing holding it and walking so steadily and was so proud of himself when he got to the end! We also had framed photographs of both sets of parents on their wedding days, as they have both been married for over 40 years this was a good inspiration!
We hired a videographer as we wanted to capture the day and have a great memento of the action. We used Creative Videos, Barry was fantastic and as he had filmed my sister’s wedding previously, we knew the video would be fantastic.
We would absolutely recommend Adlington Hall! From the moment we walked in we were overwhelmed by how stunning it was. The food amazing, the staff so professional and accommodating. Everything was more than we hoped for, my dream wedding venue!
I think my favourite part of the day was when the doors opened to The Great Hall and I was ready to walk down the aisle. On my dad’s arm, looking at all the most important people in our lives all there just for us was totally overwhelming.
We are going on a family honeymoon with our children in the summer. My next planning project now I have no wedding to plan!
My top tip to other Brides Up North is to utilise the talents of your friends and family. My sisters Rebecca and Jessica did my makeup and hair and my talented friend Nova made our fabulous cake. It was extra special for them to play such an important role. Oh yes, and plenty of waterproof mascara!
From getting engaged Brides up North was my go to for inspiration. I have been an avid reader of the real life weddings and I’m so excited to now be one of them!
adlington hall and gardens, austin reed, better off wed, bhs, brides up north featured supplier, cheshire wedding, coast, creative videos, daniel lloyd, dressed to impress, gilded shadows, guy porteous, highland angel, james tracey photography, original crepes, paul costelloe, pearce fionda, peckforton castle, ronald joyce, the wild bunch, uk wedding blog, victoria jane
November 25th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Karin and Rob’s beautiful wedding day is chic, stylish and filled with the sort of opulent details that we love here at wedding blog HQ. Lace, crystals, blousy blooms and one stunning setting make this a celebration fit for the pages of Vogue magazine. Lucky for you, we snapped it up first.
Let’s raise the bar a little.
It’s getting haute in here…
With images by fabulous Brides Up North Sponsor, Fyzal Photography.
karin says: Unbeknown to me, when the idea of a ski holiday with friends popped up, Rob pushed for the 3 valleys, France and in particular, Meribel for one reason only….it was his ideal setting for a proposal!
When we first got together (November 2008 and after 7 months of Rob trying,) it left us just a month before Rob flew to France for a 5 month ski season. I joined Rob for a weeks holiday in the January and we both knew then our relationship was to last. Meribel was also where Rob told me that he loved me.
January 2012 was eagerly anticipated by Rob, eventually settling for his SLR camera case to hide the ring through airport security. He got it through and I was none the wiser as to what would happen a few days later. Rob planned to pop the question on a particular piste in the next valley, Courcheval. But due to an avalanche, it wasn’t until the last ski day that it was cleared to ski to.
It was called “Les Piste Indiens” where a purpose built Indian village appeared around a corner. We stopped and Rob knelt next to a plastic fox for a rare photo opportunity. It turned out to be very rare as photos later proved, Rob had the ring out trying to propose while I was trying to take his photo.
We tied the knot on 14 June 2014. I (not superstitious at all!) didn’t want to be married in 2013!
We met whilst both working at Jesmond Dene House and when the decision was to be made as to where we were to be married, it had so much history to it and along with our own history there, the decision was simple.
Our wedding was always going to be straight ahead. I still work there as private dining manager and so have a strong relationship with wedding coordinators Abi and Christina, C & B manager Lukasz and everyone else to be involved on the day. Knowing everyone made us feel secure that the day was to perfect.
We chose a romantic shabby chic theme. Apple crates, coffee bean sacks, old leather suitcases, plenty of candles and wicker hearts all suited the Jesmond Dene setting. Since I oversee weddings day in, day out, I knew what would make our day different to others.
Everything was based around pastel lilac and ivory themes. It worked so well with the grandeur of the dark oak of the hotel’s Great Hall. We also tied in the green of Jesmond Dene into all floral arrangements.
I stayed in the hotel the night before with my mother and the bridesmaids, setting up the decorations until 2am while best man and Rob had a beer and a cheeky Chinese takeaway in the room of the best man!
When choosing my dress, I spent hours online looking for local bridal shops and looked at each designer stocked in each shop until I found my dress. When I came across Ronald Joyce ‘Babetta’, I knew no matter what else I saw, I’d be back for the Babetta.
I spent only a short amount of time in Wild Brides at Heart, Durham after a Ronald Joyce designer weekend and I was out in no time after placing the deposit looking forward to my first fitting. The detail in the lace, the open back, and its long train was exactly what I was looking for and nothing else would match it.
I chose not to wear a veil, instead a headpiece, slightly different to the norm. Flown from Canada, it was jewelled, but not over the top. Sarah Walsh was my makeup artist and hair stylist. Highly recommended!
My look was complete after Rob had a few gifts sent up to me with breakfast on the morning of the wedding. I had pointed out a beautiful Swarovski tennis bracelet a few months before and luckily he took the hint! It matched so well with the Swarovski pearl earrings he had also bought me.
I carried lilac and ivory roses with hydrangea. Helen from Bels Flowers provided all floral arrangements. Hats off to Helen, who did a fantastic job and came as a late replacement for florist after we had been let down by another months before the wedding!
My bridesmaids wore “Debut” Grecian lilac dresses from Debenhams and my maid of honour wore an ivory and lilac floral print dress from BHS. I bought all the girls a brooch to wear as a gift to personalise the dresses.
I would highly recommend Fyzal Photography to anyone!
Both Fyzal and his wife Dawn went above and beyond to capture our day how we wanted it with the eye and finesse you would not get from any other photographer! He took us for an “e:shoot” on the beach where we got to know how it all worked. It also helped Rob relax as he’s not big on having his photo taken.
On the day itself, everything was done with military precision after we agreed an itinerary days before. They both made us feel at ease for the entire day knowing we were constantly having photos taken without even realising they were there.
Even months after the day, Fyzal stays in contact and helps to decide the final images for our album.
Our cake was a chocolate croque-em-bouche produced by our friend, Kristian Branch, head pastry chef at the hotel.
We had Jessica Avison, a local acoustic singer/guitarist play during our reception and then The Paul James Band – known for years through Jesmond Dene house performances, started the evening entertainment. We hired a DJ through One Voice Productions for our “after party” and a Snaparazzi photo booth for use as guest book. Ross, Snaparazzi’s director is a friend via the hotel.
We’re biased but we’d definitely recommend Jesmond Dene House, even if we weren’t! Every member of staff gets involved and consumed in every event that they work at. The hotel as a whole puts 100% into each event to put the hotel on the map in the region and to make a name for itself.
My favourite moment of the day was our first dance, choreographed with help of Caroline of Bela Dance School. I wanted a proper first dance, no swaying as most couples do. We had over 20 lessons to perfect the Viennese Waltz to Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years”.
We pre-wedding honeymooned in January to Australia due to work commitments after the wedding. We flew via Hong kong where we spent a few hours walking the streets then onto Melbourne. After a few nights in Melbourne we drove the Great Ocean Road and on to Adelaide via the Grampians (narrowly missing the bush fires) to fly across to Sydney, going into the blue mountains as well as the obligatory Harbour Bridge climb! We then flew to Noosa to spend 10 days with best man and bridesmaid who lived there. Surfing, chilling out and getting stung across the face by a jellyfish! Ouch!
My top tip for other Brides Up North is to spend money on the photographer, namely Fyzal, as most of the day is a blur. Only one person can capture it all for you to remember forever, so choose wisely!
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July 10th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
Rosa by Stephanie Allin
From small to big and neat to blousy, bows are everywhere.
A pretty addition to many wedding dresses, ribbons, sashes and bows can be used for delicate detailing or to make one heck of a statement.
Traditionally bows appeared in the back of the dress and were used to cinch in the waist, but today designers are making bolder statements with bows, placing them on the front of the dress, the side, or even on the shoulder.
Honour by Stephanie Allin
Graceful bows feature quite heavily in Stephanie Allin’s Day and Night collection. Rosa, Heaven and Bardot are equally dreamy designs with slim-line bow and ribbon detailing. Allin’s steely toned Masquerade dress also features a delicate bow, but in the back. Meanwhile her Honour dress (which I have swooned over too many times) gives brides the option to tie its stunning sage green sash, complete with fabulous floral corsages, in the front, back or side, depending on their styling preference.
Images: Stephanie Allin
Those looking for simple bow designs will find options in the collections of Ronald Joyce, Ellis and Sassi Holford, including large princess style gowns as well as structured slim-line creations. Ellis’ tea-length fifties 11404 style dress is a cute example as is Sassi Holford’s Martha dress. Those looking for more detailed designs might prefer Ronald Joyce’s Bernice dress. Its slim-line silhouette features a beautiful cowl neck and embroidery detailing, all finished off with a large jewel-centred bow on the side.
Martha by Sassi Holford
Bernice by Ronald Joyce
11404 by Ellis Bridals
Style 67073 by Ronald Joyce
Josephine by Sassi Holford
Megan by Sassi Holford
Fans of structured, rather than blousy, bows should look to Holford’s Josephine gown, which features a wide satin bow belt in the front, and her fabulously feminine Megan dress with slim duchess satin bow belt, which nips in neatly at the waist.
South Pacific Print by Ian Stuart Bride
Blue Bird by Ian Stuart Bride
Finally, for those really wanting to make a statement on the aisle, there‘s only one man for the job – step forward Ian Stuart. His sensational Supernova collection has several dresses featuring bold bows. Blue Bird (from the Killer Queen collection) is a particularly striking design with incredible oversized bowtails that waterfall down the back of the dress into a flowing chapel train. But top of the stand-out stakes has to be South Pacific that features a billowing oversized bow which cascades from the left hip and opens to reveal flowing silk gazar. A must for fashion-forward brides, this dress is also available in striking floral print for that extra wow-factor!
Images: Ian Stuart Bride
Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 as credited
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April 14th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Following the fashion frenzy of the last week (dahlings!), I think it’s about time we got back to basics here at Brides Up North. It’s what we do best – Real Weddings from real Brides Up North and their talented local suppliers. Real, regional and really, really gorgeous. I jolly well hope you’re thinking local for your big day!
This afternoon’s wedding was sent to us by real bride Kirsty and Brides Up North Featured Supplier James Jebson and has all the elements of the best of big days – tons of sparkle, big blooms and lots of laughs.
Kirsty says: We got engaged in October 2012 at Mottram Hall and were married on 14th December 2013 at St Anne’s Church in Woodplumpton by our fabulous village vicar Revd. Brian Whitley, followed by a reception at Beeston Manor in Houghton.
We chose our venue as it just felt very ‘us’. With its countryside setting and manor house feel, Beeston Manor is beautiful. Furthermore the venue was completely private and meant we just shared our day with our family & our guests.
I chose a Mori Lee wedding dress with lace and diamante detail from Dan Kerr Brides. It was a really sparkly dress and I loved it from the moment I put it on. All my jewellery, accessories and my shoes were from Lottie’s Bridal Boutique in Lytham.
Our bridesmaids wore gold dresses by Ronald Joyce, again from Dan Kerr Brides. Wayne and the ushers all wore grey suits, ivory waistcoats and ties to match the girls’ dresses from Moss Bros, and the Mother of the Bride and page boys were dressed by Lottie’s Bridal Boutique – along with the bridesmaids’ fur shrugs.
We travelled in a Range Rovers on the day all dressed by our florist Margaret Mason with ivory ribbons – they looked fantastic.
My bouquet was made of mini Calla Lilies and had diamonds amongst the flowers. It was simply stunning
James Jebson, our photographer, was simply sensational on our wedding day. His attention to detail, his professionalism, & his incredibly infectious personality, accompanied with his awesome photography put him in another league. In the words of my new husband James is ”simply a different kind of gravy” and his photography service was extra special from start to finish.
We were over the moon with our wedding pictures as they capture the best day of our lives from every angle. James didn’t miss a thing and even caught images of moments we had missed! We have the most wonderful memories of our wedding and I cannot stress how important a good photographer is. When your wedding is over your photos are the one thing you have left and I cannot thank James enough for our amazing images. He is simply fabulous!
November 14th, 2013 | Julia Braime
Today’s stunning Real Wedding proves that a celebration jam packed with handmade touches and DIY details needn’t look amateur. Kirsty and Tom managed to pull of a gorgeously elegant big day whilst still retaining that personal touch. Be inspired, as we join them for their elegant wedding day in the Lake District.
With images by Lissa Alexandra Photography.
Kirsty says: Tom and I got engaged on 28th October 2011 in New York City and were married on 13th April 2013 at Our Lady of the Wayside, Grasmere with an evening reception at Merewood Country House, Windermere.
We loved our venue from the moment we walked in. We always wanted a country house, with lots of character, where family and friends could stay for the weekend. The Merewood was perfect. Our wedding had a vintage theme inspired by the character of the the property, and a colour scheme of dusky lilac and ivory.
The bridesmaids wore long dusky lilac dresses with a pearl detail necklace and our groomsmen wore traditional black suits accessorised with a grey tweed tie and pocket square.
We genuinely enjoyed every second of our wedding day. If I had to pick one moment it would be walking down the aisle and seeing each other for the first time surrounded by all our family and friends.
Our photographer was the amazing Lissa Alexandra who captured every moment perfectly.
I carried a large bouquet of cream roses tied with lace and the bridesmaids had smaller versions. Tom, the best man and ushers wore a single cream rose to keep it simplistic. At the venue, we had vintage birdcages filled with a lilac, cream and sage flower arrangement.
All our flowers were by Julie Sharrock.
We travelled in a white Rolls Royce Wraith to fit with the vintage theme.
We had a string trio playing in the church and then our evening wedding singer was Phil Fryer of Just To Be Frank who is a Frank Sinatra tribute followed by DJ Ken Harper.
Tom and I love to be creative and really enjoyed making all the personalised touches for our wedding.
We had framed photographs of both of our parents on their wedding day, with a thank you poem on display in the hotel reception. We also had two frames with a personalised ‘He’ and ‘she’ description for each other and a vintage typewriter for people to write us well wishes and words of advice for the guest book.
We bought a polaroid camera and made a vintage pin board for people to capture their own moments which we now have hung up in our hallway.
We handmade tea cup candles for every table (which was a lovely touch when they were lit in the evening) and hand painted table frame numbers and made all the stationery ourselves including our menu and order of service.
We handmade chocolate moustache and lips with a personalised tag for the wedding favours which our nephews handed round to everyone following the wedding breakfast. This created lots of laughs.
Our wedding cake was a three tier classic Victoria sponge cake decorated with real cream rose flowers.This was made at Patisserie Viennoise of Otley, West Yorkshire.
After the wedding we jetted off to Rome on honeymoon.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to make your wedding personal to the both of you, and enjoy every second of it.
Congratulations Kirsty & Tom!
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