September 1st, 2016 | Julia Braime
There are several elements to today’s real wedding that evoke the word “wow”.
The fabulously planned surprise proposal for one (excellent work Courtney), not to mention the a-maz-ing reception venue, and then the fact that the couple managed to get one of their favourite bands to travel all the way from California to play at their wedding. Impressed? Us too!
Now let’s start by hearing that proposal story…
With images by Yolande De Vries Photography.
courtney says: I proposed to Vicky at Cottage Road Cinema in Leeds on 4th May 2014. Cottage Rd Cinema was one of the places we went to on our first dates and is only a two minute walk from our house.
On the day of the proposal Vicky had planned to meet a group of friends in Headingley for lunch and a few drinks as a belated birthday celebration. I had suggested the two of us go to a student short film festival at Cottage Road Cinema before lunch and told her I had pre booked tickets. When we got to the cinema we were given a glass of prosecco each (we were told it was complimentary with ticket as part of the student film festival). When we got in the previews were already on and we stumbled to a few seats in the back.
When the first “short film” came on it was set to the song Skinnybones by Sea of Bees, which always reminds us of when we first got together. So instantly Vicky knew I was up to something but had no idea it was more than just a film. Part way through the very short film (it was probably only about 20 seconds of footage) text appeared that said, Victoria Hayhurst I adore you. Let’s be together forever? I then pulled out the ring I had designed as a cork popped from a bottle of bubbly, the lights went up and all our friends jumped up and yelled surprise! Vicky burst into tears, when she saw everyone and then again when she saw the ring and realised what was going on. We all had more prosecco, chatted and then walked to the restaurant we were all booked into for lunch and had a lovely day.
Exactly a year later Vicky surprised me on a walk through the woods by giving me my engagement ring at a spot that means a lot to us.
We got married on 27th June 2015, at Leeds Town Hall because I love the building and Leeds is where we met. The reception was held at Left Bank Leeds which is an amazing Grade II* listed former church building near to where Vicky lived as a student and where I rented when I first moved to Leeds. Before we found the venue I had wanted a grand but dilapidated building, with prosecco and exquisite canapés being served and a jazz band playing. Left Bank Leeds wasn’t dilapidated but still had the sense of grandeur I desired.
Our colour scheme was black, white, grey and navy with accents of copper. I chose these because they’re my favourite colours (I don’t really do colour!). I didn’t set a dress code but asked that everyone wore black, white, grey or navy. Everyone looks good in those colours and copper was a colour of the moment and added a bit of contrast for an extra pop.
In terms of my wedding attire, I made my own skirt and drafted the pattern myself. It was a full length, high waited skirt with wide waste band, concealed back zip and side pockets (for my phone) in a French navy silk from Joel & Son Fabrics in London. I chose the fabric with my best friends Vicky, Franny and Alexa. I wore the skirt with a customised white sleeveless top that I bought at Cos when I was in Berlin with Franny and Alexa.
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November 23rd, 2015 | Julia Braime
Buckets and spades at the ready guys, as this morning we’re heading to the North East coastline to relive Amanda and Beth’s beach wedding big day!
Picking a fabulous setting for their chilled-out ceremony – a lighthouse, no less – Amanda and Beth pulled together their seaside scheme with ease using the likes of seashells, rope and net for decor.
We loved the ultra-relaxed vibe to their wedding day and adore how their photographer has captured their personalities and love for one another perfectly.
With images by JPRShah Photography.
amanda says: We got engaged on 26th July 2014, in Australia. We were out there for almost 3three months over summer whilst Beth was on placement but managed to travel quite a lot. Beth had already got the ‘okay’ from my mam before we jetted off; mam was so excited and happy for us but kept it secret from me.
Beth and I had always wanted to visit Whitsunday Islands, the beaches there are among the best in the world so we thought it would be absolute bliss to visit. Beth had booked a hotel on Hamilton Island, and it was bliss. One morning we got up to watch sunrise. Beth drove us (in our hired golf-buggy, the only way to get around on the island) up to a view point called ‘One Tree Hill’ (which is also a fav TV show of mine too). She insisted we got out and sat on the grass but it looked too dewy for my liking so I said I’d stay in the golf buggy. To my absolute surprise she got down on one knee (on the gravely ground) and asked me to marry her…over the moon was an under-statement.
April 23rd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s stunning couple had Northumberland’s first same sex marriage, and the stylish ladies certainly made sure it would be an event to remember.
Michelle and Nikki chose a gorgeous seaside location for their romantic celebration, complete with pretty floral decorations and vintage touches.
Nikki looked gorgeous in her lace Essense of Australia gown while Michelle rocked a sophisticated Marc Jacobs fitted suit during their summer ceremony.
Following the “I dos” there were cocktails, delicious food and a host of live entertainment, what more could you want from a wedding?
With images by Erika Tanith Photography.
nikki says: We went travelling around Australia together and got engaged just after midnight on 1st January 2010 on Sydney Harbour. We were enjoying celebrating the New Year out on a boat in the lightshow next to the Opera House when I asked Michelle to marry me.
We were married on 14th July 2014. We picked the date as it is in-between both our birthdays and we really wanted summer wedding.
We chose to marry at Newton Hall. As soon as we visited we knew we wouldn’t find anywhere else that compared. The hall and grounds were exclusive to us all day and night. The location was perfect with a beach nearby and we often visit Northumberland for day trips.
We didn’t have a particular theme as such but we quite liked the vintage look with a quirky twist to match the venue. We chose a pastel teal colour scheme as it would go nice with the venue, the season and complement the men’s’ light grey suits.
I chose a dress from Essense of Australia, it was a very light ivory dress with a lace dress over the top – I picked it to match the vintage theme. The dress was light and comfortable. When shopping for my dress I couldn’t believe how heavy most of the gowns were and being a summer wedding was relieved when I found my dress which was much lighter. Michelle wore a fitted black suit and blouse from Marc Jacobs.
Our hair and makeup artist was a very talented lady called Maxine Ayre. She did a wonderful job of the hair and makeup for everyone in the bridal party. It is very rare that you find someone who can do both hair pinups and makeup to such a high standard. Would highly recommend – couldn’t have wished for a nicer person and who made us feel so relaxed on the morning too knowing we were in good hands.
Erika Tanith was our photographer, we would certainly recommend her. The quality and creativity of her photos were stunning and she felt like part of the family on the day.
I carried memory lane and avalanche roses in my bouquet which was made by talented florists at Floral Quarter. Throughout the planning of the wedding we purchased various quirky items we thought the floral decorations would look good, from miniature teapots to jam jars and wooden boxes. Floral Quarter provided the flowers and arrangements within these and really pulled everything together beyond our expectations. Would highly recommend them.
As favours we gave ‘little bags of happiness’ which we made and put together ourselves.
The cake was three tiers, each with a different flavour, simply decorated with some falling roses. It was provided by Lilly Jack Cakes.
We attended a few wedding open days at Newton Hall where they give out free cocktails and showcased the evening food options. We were also treated to a complimentary menu taster session at the As You Like It restaurant to help us choose or favourite food and drink for the big day.
To entertain our guests while we were getting photographs taken down at the nearby beach we hired Magic Paul, a very talented magician. We also hired two sets of musical entertainment from AMV Music. Annabelle Pattinson played acoustic guitar and sang before and after the ceremony. For the evening entertainment we had a seven-piece band called Livewire. We did a lot of research on the entertainment as Michelle comes from a musical family (her mum was a singer in the North East) so it was going to be a big part of our day. Once we discovered them we knew immediately they were for us. Livewire were fantastic – they learnt our first dance song, let us choose their playlist and even allowed Michelle and her mum to sing a couple of songs!
To add some special touches we hired ‘Love’ lights from Coco Luminaire to set the room off. Instead of a traditional guest book we had a fingerprint tree for our family and friends to stamp their finger prints. We now have this framed in our living room as a daily reminder or our special day. We also had photographs of our parents and grandparents on their wedding day and a candle to remember those that couldn’t be with us. We set up a large vintage picture frame hung by ropes from a tree which our guests loved getting their photos taken at.
We would definitely recommend our wedding venue o other couples. We were made to feel so special and the staff went above and beyond to make everything flow without us even noticing. They were amazing!
We couldn’t pick a favourite part of the day – we loved all of it! Truly, from the moment Michelle arrived through to the ceremony, the photos, meal, toast and then the evening – it was just fantastic! After the ceremony it was great to go to the beach just the two of us with Erika and spend quality time together taking everything in.
The day after our wedding we went on honeymoon to Punta Cana in the Dominican for two weeks. It was beautiful, just like you imagine the Caribbean to be – the staff treated us to champagne, wine and cakes for our occasion. It was very special – we also visited Saona Island where the bounty advert was filmed, total paradise!
Our top tip to other Brides Up North is to enjoy every minute and don’t worry what may go wrong – it really won’t matter on the day! We just couldn’t believe how quickly the day went by after over a year of planning. Savour every moment!
February 11th, 2015 | Julia Braime
I was overjoyed when same sex marriage (actual marriage, not just civil partnership) became legal in the UK, but it’s only when I get to feature beautiful couples like Rachel and Emma that the enormity and awesomeness of that change actually hits home.
These girls were looking for a day filled with warmth, openness and togetherness, and that’s exactly what they got. How very Hygge!
All will be explained…
With images by Leighton Bainbridge Photography.
the girls say: We got engaged while staying in Northumberland in May 2013. In 2012 we had attended Peace Camp at Dunstanburgh Castle; white tents covered the grounds surrounding the ruins and we arrived at dawn where love poems were played from illuminated tents. Both of us were desperate to propose, unbeknown to the other! Unfortunately finances had restricted our opportunity at this time. Emma decided to re-enact this experience on our favourite beach, Beadnell on the 25th May 2014. She had recruited friends and family to erect a white tee-pee on the beach through the night for us to arrive at dawn. An excellent plan depended on excellent weather; and we had experience torrential rain and gale force winds up until hours beforehand!
The plan did however turn out perfectly; despite a slightly later arrival on the beach following the “scenic route’!
Emma got down onto one knee and became for the first time, lost for words!
We were married at Newton Hall in Northumberland om 23rd December 2014/. Rachel had spent a huge amount of time in Northumberland throughout her childhood and it is a very important place to her family. We spent a lot of time together in Beadnell and the surrounding area and it feels like home. We had come across Newton Hall at a wedding fayre before it hosted ceremonies but it began to develop into a fabulous one-in-one venue over the years. We visited the venue just after our engagement and looked no further! We loved the style of the venue and the fact we could have exclusive use of this house. From the window in the bridal suite, Beadnell bay where we got engaged is visible and everything just seemed to fall into place!
Due to the date we booked, a Christmas theme began to develop. After initially booking Rachel looked into a honeymoon destination to leave the next morning, Christmas Eve. Copenhagen was one of the stand-out destinations and doing research into Copenhagen at Christmas gave us the word Hygge. In Danish it means “The art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open hearted and alive. To create well-being, connection and warmth. A feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other” We used this phrase on our invitations and the wedding was completely Hygge!
The colour scheme was natural fabrics and colours with a small amount of metallic touches. We wanted it to be cosy and festive without over-using red and green!
Rachel had spent a long time looking at dresses on the internet and we both tried a few on in a local shop to work out which style suited us best.
Rachel found a strapless, corset style diamond white Maggie Sottero gown on eBay from a woman the same measurements and we took a chance! We drove down and collected it at a service station in Yorkshire and called at The Bridal Factory Outlet in Northallerton on the way home to try some on for Emma. Emma chose the third dress she tried on, an ivory lace Mori Lee and although it needed alterations it complemented the Maggie Sottero perfectly. Rachel managed to try her dress on for the first time in the changing rooms with Emma and thankfully it fit and was just perfect! We managed to have our dresses a week after booking our wedding date!
Our bridesmaids wore navy twist front maxi dresses by Debut at Debenhams. Our boys wore navy suits with tweed waistcoats, red ties and white shirts, all from Moss Bros who were fantastic with everyone from dads to younger brothers!
We feel so lucky to be able to get married – we waited until it could be a wedding rather than a civil partnership and we are very fortunate that while planning this wedding all we have experienced from all suppliers, shops and others has been excitement and kindness. We were entirely overwhelmed with the love we experienced from our friends and families and that was the best thing about our wedding.
Leighton Bainbridge was our photographer. Photography was one of the biggest decisions for us. Emma is a keen photographer and we spent a lot of time looking at wedding photos to find out what style we were after. We found it difficult to find examples of lesbian weddings! When we met Leighton we knew he’d be perfect; we arrived armed with an album of photographs we liked from various sources and he took on this on board! He was quiet and polite; we were confident Leighton would fit into our day and produce excellent photographs to treasure.
We had great difficulty finding flowers which would be available in December but found dried bouquets by The Artisan Dried Flower Company. We used their winter theme and ordered matching hair pins, buttonholes and bouquets for all of the bridal party. The bonus is we can keep our bouquets forever!
We also ordered some dried flowers for the milkchurns at the ends of the aisle from The Artisan Dried Flower Company. We used wish trees to suspend our wedding favours which were glass baubles which we filled with different sequins, feathers and other sparkles hoping to make one to suit each person. We used fake snow and tiny crystals around the bases on the tables and battery fair lights on the trees themselves.
We used an antique map of Northumberland with buttons and string for our table plan. This was made by Rachel and again finished the evening before!
Emma’s mother, Sarah, ordered the material to dress the chairs and Aunty Helen helped with the sizing and preparation. The venue were brilliant; all of our various decorations were boxed up and left with them the evening before following a short meeting with their fantastic wedding coordinator Jane.
A friend from Emma’s work, Andrea made the cake, which fit with the winter theme again. It tasted fantastic! Lemon, Chocolate fudge and Fruit cake in layers.
We chose a string quartet for before, during and after the ceremony and a ceilidh for the evening, which was fantastic. North East Soiree provided the entertainment and they were fantastic. We wanted a ceilidh to encourage the guests to relax and break that initial first dance ice!
Our ceremony with the string quartet was lovely, “Annie’s Song” for our entrance and we walked out to “Fairytale of New York”. Rachel had suggested riding in on her horse – which was disallowed!
We involved our dog, Rowan as ring bearer in the wedding. She was perfectly behaved through the day, enjoying the wedding breakfast on Emma’s knee sharing Rachel’s chicken!
Our “best people” made a beautiful speech including photographs of both of us as children, the last seven years together and then our engagement photographs. The master of ceremonies stated it was one of the most emotional weddings he had seen; it felt like a long time coming!
Our first dance was to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. We finally decided on the song the evening before the wedding and choreographed the routine at 10pm in our PJs in our hotel room!
The venue was fantastic. They were so well practised and nothing was too much of a problem. We felt comfortable and looked after all day. Jane our coordinator on the day was fantastic – even stitching out dresses up before the first dance when we realised we were going to struggle! The master of ceremonies John was lovely and other staff were friendly and professional. Although it was only the third same-sex marriage at the venue, the staff were great. We did change the format from a normal wedding slightly to suit our situation but this was never a problem. They are very flexible!
At the end of the evening, the close friends and family staying retired to the bar in the main house. Rachel took her hair out and was sat on the floor, we were all sat with coffees and tea and wedding cake discussing the day. It was truly Hygge!
We were pretty early to bed and we sat in the bath together and opened our cards. We later found out that had we looked out of the window from our free-standing bath in the Beadnell bay room we would have probably seen a fantastic show of the Northern Lights! Every part of the day was wonderful but those moments when we were alone were special; we repeatedly said how magical the day had been and how loved we felt.
We flew to Copenhagen on Christmas Eve morning and arrived at the Hotel Neptun at tea-time. We were asked to join the duty manager and his wife (and dog!) in Christmas Eve dinner where we sampled Danish desserts and tea and our new friends gave us tips on where to visit! The next morning we woke up to snow on Christmas day! We spent five days in Copenhagen visiting the local sights and enjoyed the Nutcracker Ballet at Tivoli gardens. Copenhagen was a winter wonderland – a beautiful city with friendly people and amazing food! We cannot wait to return!
Our top tip for Brides Up North is to make sure the wedding is your own kind of special. We had a tiny wedding guest list and we were pretty ruthless on who we invited to make sure that everyone could be comfortable on the day. This was excellent because it meant we did spend time away from our guests without worrying they were missing us! By having a small wedding party, it took the pressure off and we enjoyed the company of everyone there.
March 17th, 2014 | Julia Braime
BIG LOVE to our brilliant and talented exhibitors, fabulous brides and goody bag touting grooms who supported our event in Leeds yesterday. The Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibition at The Mansion was glorious! Thank you to everyone involved for your support and attendance, our team loved every minute of it. Roll on our next show at this favourite venue of mine… in the diary for 19th October! More on that later.
Meanwhile, it’s still a March Monday on these pretty pages, and I’ve got something rather lovely in store for you this morning. Today we are celebrating with not one stylish Bride Up North but two, as we join Adele and Donna for their bright, balmy and beautiful Real Wedding celebration in Lancashire.
With images by Catharine Noble Photography.
Donna says: We got engaged in May 2010. One Saturday morning there was a knock on the door. I was faced with a big bunch of flowers and a card saying ‘Will you marry me?’ and as I was reading this Adele produced a lovely white gold diamond ring in the shape of a flower.
We were married on 3rd August 2013 at Heskin Hall Tudor manor house in Chorley, Lancashire. We had looked at an array of venues in the area and didn’t come across any that understood us as a couple and understood what we wanted our wedding day to be like. The venue was perfect and just what we had in mind.
From the onset we had a 1950’s vintage theme. This included a VW Camper Van from Cheshire Campervan Hire as our transport, dapper floral shirts and dickie bows for the men and boys, vintage ice cream van from Every Day Is Like Sundae, high tea with vintage mismatched china, bunting, birdcages and heart shaped table confetti made from old sonnets. We collected jam jars, tied lace around these and added meadow flowers to them. We also had lawn games for our guests including croquet. Our motto – Live, Laugh, Love – was also featured throughout our ceremony and celebrations.
We visited our local mill and our bridesmaids selected the same print in a different colour each to be made into the same dresses. Our little flower girl Elise wore a simple flower girl dress from BHS, which matched perfectly with the theme. The page boys wore matching floral shirts from Debenhams and waist coat and trousers from BHS. My father also wore a matching suit and shirt from Debenhams. All the boys wore dickie bows and 50’s style shoes.
We both chose a similar style of dress even though we hadn’t consulted each other. Our local bridal shop and dress maker Something Special based in Horwich made both our dresses and bridesmaid dresses simply from a couple of pictures and ideas.
We carried simple but elegant meadow flowers and tea roses by Fleur De Lyn Cooper. I had a Scottish thistle within my bouquet in memory of my grandma who was from Scotland.
We had a male soloist on a guitar who learned all our favourite songs and sang these straight after the ceremony on the lawn and also while we were having high tea.
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