June 8th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
The sentiment of today’s real wedding between Isis and Martyn is this: on the day, it doesn’t matter how many days, weeks and months you’ve spent organising the perfect wedding, the most important element is the exchanging of the vows, witnessed by all the people who love you. In the end, that’s the fairy tale and it’s worth reminding ourselves sometimes, when the ink has smudged on the invitations or the band we love is already booked, that love conquers all that stuff.
Having made the inspired decision to research the weather of their chosen wedding date over the previous ten years, only to find that each year it had offered up blue skies and sunshine, Isis and Martyn secured their March wedding date and were not disappointed with the forecast. With a focus on the ceremony, they crafted their own vows as a truly special touch and ensured there was not a dry eye in the house as they emerged into the spring sunshine as husband and wife.
Isis made all the decorations herself, even assembling the cake from individual tiers and adding the decorations. Despite not following a colour scheme, the couple chose a delicate palette of blue and sage green, which toned beautifully and offered echoes of spring to complement the time of year. Tell us more, Isis…
With images by Jess Yarwood.
isis says: Martyn and I got engaged in the Cairngorms in Scotland. I was studying for a degree and was one exam away from finishing. I had secured training at Manchester University to become a teacher and just needed to complete my degree with high scores. Martyn booked a weekend away in advance of me getting the results I needed, so that we could celebrate (there was no reason to think I wouldn’t get the results I needed). At the time, Martyn was living in Manchester and I was in Scunthorpe at the other end of the country, so I needed to pass so I could move over to be with him. The day we left, I got the terrible news that I hadn’t got the results I needed and wouldn’t be able to move over or go to Manchester University. I spent the whole seven-hour drive to Scotland in tears.
We arrived, and Martyn had booked a stunning country house on the river with its own private sauna and hot tub. The next morning, I woke up to an email saying there had been a mistake and I actually had received the results I needed! We spent the day exploring the area and, in the afternoon, I came out of the kitchen to a trail of rose petals. I followed them out into the garden to the river bank, where Martyn was waiting on one knee. It was completely unexpected and so romantic. Just the two of us with nobody else to see – perfect.
We got married on Saturday 24th March 2018. We chose the date after choosing the venue. We checked out the weather on that date for the last ten years and every year it had been warm and sunny. We took the risk and booked it. We made the right decision because our day was beautiful – blue skies and warm spring sunshine.
Our venue for the ceremony and reception was Samlesbury Hall in Preston. It was the first (and only) venue we visited and we both fell in love with it straight away. Not being religious, a church ceremony wasn’t something we would consider and we didn’t want a hotel or country house. Samlesbury Hall was perfect – a traditional Tudor home with loads of original features and open fires, which were lit at night. Everyone loved it and commented on what a unique and beautiful venue we had chosen. The staff were amazing – so friendly – and would literally do anything for you. The venue is beautiful and the grounds are gorgeous too.
We are the least fussy people you could imagine and wanted something simple, so we didn’t opt for a particular theme or colour scheme. We didn’t want to spend lots of money on things that didn’t really matter to us (like table decorations, flowers, etc.) and instead wanted to focus on the actual ceremony and wedding.
For my dress, I chose a fitted, illusion back dress with lace on the sleeves and the front. I bought it from WED2B in Bolton more than a year-and-a-half before the wedding! I wasn’t going to buy it that early but saw it on the internet and loved it – I knew I had to try it on just in case. It was perfect. I wore it with a full-length veil.
I had my hair done by Marsha Lloyd in Wilmslow, Manchester – my local hairdresser who I trusted, and I did my own makeup.
March 26th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
We may currently be praying for even the tiniest glimpse of spring, but today on the blog we have some breathtakingly beautiful wintery wedding inspiration, perfect for those of you planning a seasonal celebration.
The festivities were in full swing for today’s couple, Suzanne and Bevan, who invited Christmas into their wedding and threw a jewel-coloured, lively celebration that incorporated guest participation, with each guest asked to sing a line from The 12 Days of Christmas during the wedding breakfast.
Suzanne’s desire for foliage and no flowers to keep the decorations seasonal shows how incredible a bouquet can look without the traditional floral additions. Another show-stopper is the cake – an exquisite naked confection studded with foliage and feathers, which perfectly complements the Tudor theme of the wedding breakfast. With an artfully dressed chandelier presiding over long tables in the great hall, Suzanne’s love of this bygone period is evident in the evocative yet simple styling. If this was history coursework, we’d give her an A-star!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Chelsea Shoesmith Photography.
suzanne says: Bevan and I met in Singapore on Tinder, despite both living around the corner from each other in London! One of the first places we headed to as a couple when we were back visiting the UK was Grasmere, where we walked up the Lion and the Lamb. So, when Bevan decided he wanted to propose, he took me back to Grasmere and up to the top of the Lion and the Lamb, where he suggested we take a break. He then pulled from his rucksack what appeared to be a Christmas present (Bevan proposed on 21st December 2016). I opened the gift and it was a book entitled ‘Our Adventures’. Each page was a different picture of our life together so far. When I reached the final page, there was a picture of a jewellery shop with the caption, “I want to ask you to begin another adventure with me” and the next page said, “Will you marry me?” Bevan got down on one knee with a vintage engagement ring – a 1930s blue sapphire with two diamonds either side.
We got married on 22nd December 2017, at Samlesbury Hall in Lancashire. As we live overseas, we tried to pick a date when our overseas friends would also be back in the UK. We liked the idea of making the day a big Christmas party. The venue is in my home town of Preston and I love history, especially the Tudor period, so a Tudor house seemed ideal. The ceremony was in the old chapel, the drinks reception in the antechamber and the wedding breakfast in the great hall. Some of our guests stayed overnight in the shepherd’s huts, which are located in the grounds of Samlesbury Hall. Angela, who runs the venue, is amazing at making your day run smoothly and the venue is bursting with character.
The wedding was not a religious ceremony. However, the ceremony itself was very personal to us. We used Cate Baines at The Ceremony Company and she was fantastic. She really set the scene with a flamboyant explanation of how we met.
In terms of a theme, I was keen to have a vintage feel to my dress because of my engagement ring but we didn’t really have a specific theme, other than telling everybody it was first and foremost a Christmas party.
For the colour scheme, I went with champagne (because of my dress having that vintage look), dark green, dark red and dark blue. I wanted to keep the colours simple and in tune with Christmas.
My dress was designed for me by an Irish designer based in Singapore called Elizabeth Gregory Couture. It was great working with Elizabeth. She designed my dress around my engagement ring and she also designed and made my fake fur stole, which I finished off with a vintage brooch that belonged to Bevan’s great grandmother. I added a back necklace by Tilly Thomas Lux and matching hairpins. I’d like to give a shout out to Chloe and Sarah for the fantastic hair and makeup – two lovely working mummies!
Bevan wore a suit, also designed and made by Elizabeth. Her suit brand is called Elizabeth Grace. Bevan wore navy with a beautiful grey waistcoat sporting bright red lining.
February 17th, 2016 | Julia Braime
This morning’s real wedding is all about the elegance, with bride Abigail deciding on a sophisticated theme of lace & pearls for her and Peter’s big day.
Having found their dream venue in the historic Samlesbury Hall, Abigail and Peter kept things simple with a classic cream colour scheme and picked details that would complement, rather than detract, from the stunning setting.
Prepare for romance & history to collide…
With images by Toni Darcy Photography.
abigail says: Peter’s proposal was a rather public one. He used the big screen at Manchester’s Christmas Market to pop the question – in front of 7,000 people!
We got married on 4th July 2015, which was three years to the day from when we had our very first date. Our chosen wedding venue was Samlesbury Hall, in Preston. We fell in love with it because it was the most beautiful and characteristic venue that we came across during our search.
We decided on a wedding theme of cream, lace and pearl which we felt would match the personality of the venue and give an overall feel of elegance to the day. In keeping with the theme, our colour palette was cream and pearly shades.
August 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime
This is another one if those weddings that’s so pretty we actually gasped when we first saw the images.
We adore Donna’s choice of a delicate lace Claire Pettibone dress, which complements her soft colour scheme of pale cornflower blue and antique pink to a tee.
Keeping things simple, Donna and Ric didn’t go OTT with their décor, instead opting for dreamy floral arrangements to bring the colour and leaving the rest of the detail to the venue. For us, this is pure perfection!
With images by Hayley Baxter Photography.
donna says: We got engaged in May 2014 on our hotel balcony in Montmartre, Paris. Ric was hoping to pop the question in Jardins du Luxembourg earlier in the day during a picnic, but as it was a sunny bank holiday Sunday in Paris, there were crowds and never quite the right moment! We celebrated on Monday with a gastro lunch on Bateaux Parisiens cruise on the Seine, which was fantastic.
We set the date for 18th July 2015, hoping for a sunny summer’s day and our chosen venue, Samlesbury Hall in Lancashire, only had two Saturday dates left in 2015.
We chose the venue as we wanted a civil ceremony, and also somewhere with history and where we could show our family in years to come. As a historic home with bags of character and a really welcoming team, we knew Samlesbury was for us. The Whittaker Room where we were married was the old family chapel of the family that used to live there, so felt so special and unique.
We didn’t want a clear theme as such. However, soon into planning our marriage, we tended to like vintage glamour, antique type styles. We also wanted to reflect the summer and a relaxed, elegant style. We also noticed a ‘scallop’ theme emerging in our choices – our stationery pattern, the lace in my dress and my jewellery.
Our colour scheme was pale cornflower blue (Dessy – Larkspur) and pale antique pink. We both love cornflower, and it fitted perfectly against the backdrop of Samlesbury’s black and white buildings and green lawns.
A wonderful friend of ours Nikki Graeme is director of The White Closet in West Didsbury, and it was top of my list for dress shopping! I did look at a number of different designs before making my choice. The new gown Estelle in Claire Pettibone’s Romantique collection just felt right as soon as I tried it on. I wanted something that was light and comfortable whilst also elegant with a touch of glamour. When I tried it on Sweet Disposition came on the radio and I found myself twirling around in the dressing room, so I knew it was the one!
My two bridesmaids Imogen and Jen wore knee length Dessy dresses in Larkspur and our flower girls wore ivory satin dresses with netted skirts with Dessy accessories to match the older bridesmaids.
Our hair and makeup artists was Nathan Hynes. We couldn’t recommend him enough, such a lovely friendly guy and really creative and talented with hair and makeup using Charlotte Tilbury products.
On the day of the wedding, my mum, two bridesmaids and I travelled in a silver Bentley Flying Spur from David Anthony Chauffeur Services in Manchester. They were wonderful and incredibly reliable and professional.
Hayley Baxter was our photographer and she was truly exceptional. From the moment we met Hayley on our pre-wedding shoot at Dunham Massey, we felt totally relaxed in her company, and really confident in her professionalism and technical skills.
On the big day Hayley arrived at our home whilst we were having hair and make-up done, she subtly starting capturing special moments, and felt like part of the day immediately. Hayley was so discreet, yet in these quiet moments was brilliantly capturing the details of the day. Hayley has a real knack of making sure the photographs progress swiftly, whilst being charming and friendly and put all our family and friends at ease. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her.
I had a loose bouquet of summer flowers, including peonies and roses. I cried when I saw them, they were so beautiful! We also had a flower arch over the doorway at Samlesbury Hall which looked beautiful too. The Flower Lounge provided these as well as our floral decorations for the reception. We had silver candelabras with the same theme of peonies and roses on each of our top tables.
We used Amanda at Love Invited, who was wonderful, for all our stationery using her ‘Hollywood Glamour’ designs. She was thoroughly professional and the quality of her stationery was fantastic.
To continue our Parisian theme we gave our guests favours of colourful sweet Macaroons from Sam Joseph chocolatiers in Altrincham Market. They are a local supplier who we had seen at our local market and their macaroons were exquisite!
For our wedding cake, we decided to go for a simple iced sponge cake with three tiers of different flavours: orange and raspberry, blueberry and walnut, and lemon on top. This again was from a local supplier who we have tried and tested in the past from visits to The White Closet – The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon on Burton Road. We chose a ‘The Smiths’ cake topper from Not on the High Street for a bit of fun.
There was plenty of choice on the wedding breakfast menu from Samlesbury’s chef. At our tasting we loved the lamb, so this was an obvious choice for us. Starters and dessert were a bit more of a challenge, however we went for a summery Caprese salad with parma ham to start, and finished with our favourite – an unseasonal sticky toffee pudding!
Music was a really important element of the wedding to us and so we chose John Gilmore to play live Saxophone outside on the lawn during our canapés. We also chose songs during signing of the register and walking back down the aisle which were light hearted and set the mood of the day – happiness and celebrations.
Rick Cropper was our DJ for the evening entertainment. We met him back in September at Samlesbury Hall and were impressed by his friendly relaxed style. The dance floor was busy all night! We provided some fun kiddies packs for the little ones to keep them entertained too.
My favourite part of the day was saying our vows in front of family and friends and looking into Ric’s eyes – it was magical. For Ric it was (apparently) me walking down the aisle with my dad Peter! And the first dance, which was lots of fun and very improvised.
Following the wedding, we had a lovely relaxing minimoon in North Yorkshire, near Helmsley, in a little cottage. We are lucky enough to be visiting South Africa (Safari, Capetown and the Winelands) and Dubai next month for a longer break.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to remember that however challenging the planning might feel at times (when working long hours and decorating a new house, it can be tough) it will all be worth it the moment your day begins and all your hard work and vision pays off. You should relax and enjoy it – a few people commented that we both seemed very relaxed and involved in enjoying our day. That was absolutely the case and this was due to wonderful suppliers and time invested up front.
My other top tip would be to leave a couple of days before the wedding when you literally are all planned out and have time to relax. We finished all of the final details the weekend before so I had two days with my bridesmaids and my mum and had time to write cards, wrap presents and be pampered!
March 31st, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s couple Tessa and Joe dreamt of a grand setting for their big day, and boy did they land on their feet when they discovered Samlesbury Hall.
Roaring open fires, historic wood panelling and regal chandeliers all contributed to this atmospheric winter wedding in the North West.
So join us as we cross the threshold of the gorgeous Samlesbury mansion to relive Tess and Joe’s fabulous day.
With images from Rachel Joyce Photography.
tessa says: Joe proposed to me on the 9th September 2014 in our front room. It is a funny story as we had just bought a house and were due to move the very next day. So it was a bit of a chaotic time and I came home expecting to see some progress made on the packing. I walked in the front door and saw that nothing had been done so started to tell him I wasn’t too impressed. I had barely started to speak when I noticed he was down on one knee. He had planned to have Ed Sheeran Thinking Out Loud playing when he asked but had accidentally muted it so was trying frantically to unmute it to be able to propose. To be honest I was so shocked I hardly noticed. I was so happy, even though he hadn’t packed a thing. Joe jokes that he needed an excuse to get out of packing. We then celebrated with lots of champagne!
We set the date for 7th February 2015. We had originally wanted a summer wedding. Neither of us liked the idea of a long engagement so had approached the venue thinking June/July for it. But they were booked up! So they showed us their dates and we noticed there was late availability for a February wedding. This was perfect for us as it meant a good price on the venue and we could have an open fire going during the wedding breakfast which looked gorgeous.
We got married at Samlesbury Hall in Preston, Lancashire. Like most people we had dreamed of the grandeur of a castle or the beautiful interior of a church, but obviously a castle isn’t always possible and a religious service was not what we wanted. So we thought we would struggle to get the real idyllic surrounding we wanted. We looked at a couple of venues in the south as that is where I’m from, but nothing seemed right. Joe and I stumbled across Samlesbury and thought we would have a visit and see. Well we fell in love with it straight away. It is a fantastic old Tudor style mansion with wooden beamed ceilings, open fire places, original furniture and an excellent story connected to it. It had the ceremony room (which used to be a chapel), then a parlour space for meet and greet, and then a fantastic great hall for the meal. We were smitten with it.
We didn’t really have a special theme instead we just chose colours we liked to style the day. Because we chose February as the month it meant that we had imagined a more wintery wedding. The building and the open fires added to this and so we went with a navy blue and champagne scheme to complement the venue and time of year.
I chose a traditional ivory wedding dress with a lace top and chiffon bottom. The keyhole back was the best part of the dress as it fit perfectly to my shape. I went dress shopping at Anne Whittaker Bridal Wear in Accrington with some friends who helped choose the dress for me, I remember it was one of the first ones they picked out. At first I wasn’t sure if it was the type of dress I wanted but as soon as I tried it on I loved it. Lindsay, from Anne Whittaker’s, was really helpful. Nothing was ever too much and she gave her honest opinion about each dress I tried without being pushy. I was very impressed with her prices and would definitely recommend her to any bride-to-be.
Joe chose a Prince Edward mid-grey suit with a white waistcoat and navy cravat. He also used Ann Whittaker’s as they had great outfits and offered a discount because we got my wedding dress from them.
The bridesmaids wore full-length navy dresses from Very.co.uk. I bought silver pashminas for my bridesmaid and grey for my maids of honour. The groomsmen wore the same as Joe, but had a different flower for the buttonhole.
I travelled in an ivory Morris Minor with navy ribbons to fit with the theme. It’s mine and my dad’s favourite car. He has owned one for as long as I can remember. I couldn’t dream of arriving in anything else. We hired it from Regent Classics. Geraldine was really helpful and thought of all the little details, for example having a ‘Just Married’ sign for photos after the ceremony and even provided a bottle of sparkling wine for us.
We used Rachel Joyce Photography for the wedding photography. We would absolutely recommend Rachel to anyone, we already have recommended her to three other couples. Rachel was an absolute pleasure to spend the day with, not obtrusive and so easy to get on with. Her photos speak for themselves.
I had a bouquet of red Tulips (my favourite flowers) with some leaves and wrapped in ivory voile. They were provided by Garlands Florist. Rachel and Simon from Garlands were absolutely fantastic. They made the day very beautiful and the whole process was easy. I’d definitely recommend them to anyone looking for flowers. Garlands also provided us with candelabras decorated with tulips, leaves and thistles for each table as well as a gorgeous top table flower arrangement and hurricane vases to line the ceremony room, which were just amazing.
We hired Wedding Creations to do the tables and chairs. We chose white and champagne for this to keep it elegant and simple. Jane from Wedding Creations was a dream to work with, she was very attentive and made everything a pleasure. She also provided us with a post box for the wedding gifts and some festoon lighting for the great hall.
A first we couldn’t think what to give as favours but then I thought it would be a cute idea to give everyone a scratch card. We partnered this with some heart shaped chocolate and put it inside a pillow box on everyone’s table space.
My mother-in-law made our wedding cake. She did fruit cake and sponge cake and decorated it with flowers and ribbon topping it off with a bride and groom Dalmatian cake topper (my absolute favourite dog). It was a gorgeous cake for which we were very grateful.
Samlesbury Hall did the catering for the wedding and it was outstanding. We also had canapés and fizz in the parlour room during the photos. For the evening they put on a great spread of chilli con carne or Lancashire hot pot, which our guests absolutely loved.
We had Simon from Garlands playing the piano for our ceremony, he was excellent. Joe, as a lover of jazz music, wanted to have some live jazz playing during the breakfast. So we hired a piano and saxophone duo who were absolutely tremendous. These guys we found through Dream Day Music. Then for the evening we hired Dave Lee to be the DJ. We cannot recommend Dave enough. He not only played the music we wanted, but was an excellent MC for the evening. He had a portal space set up for the months leading up to the wedding where we could select songs that we wanted for the do. It worked perfectly and everyone spent a long time dancing!
Joe contributed several special touches to our day. He’s a Blackburn Rovers fan and as such we had famous Blackburn players as the table names (people like Shearer and Colin Hendry) we also had Blackburn Rovers branded salt and pepper pots (sorry to any brides who now have their other halves asking for the same). From my side I had kept our exit music quiet from everyone in the build-up. We had chosen the Friends theme tune as it is my favourite TV show and holds a lot of good memories for me and my friends. When that came on we all had a giggle.
We would, and have already on a number of occasions, recommended our wedding venue to others. There aren’t many truly hidden gems left any more, but this is one of them. The team at Samlesbury: Beth, Lauren and Angela were amazing. The venue was so pretty and the food was brilliant. Even at the more popular prices of the summer we would have definitely chosen this venue. We will never forget our day at Samlesbury Hall.
We can’t name a favourite part of the day. The ceremony was so intimate and gorgeous. Obviously being walked down the aisle by my father was emotional. We had a moment when walking out of the ceremony room and into the parlour when it was just us two and we had just got married and were holding each other’s hands and a glass of fizz each – it was bliss.
For our honeymoon we went to Sri Lanka and then the Maldives. We spent seven nights in Sri Lanka where we visited temples, experienced real wildlife in the national parks and rode elephants. The hotel was metres from the beach and the sea. It was stunning and we really indulged in food and cocktails. In the Maldives we stayed at an island resort that measured just 500m x 500m. It was paradise. Here we just relaxed and enjoyed the 30 degree weather with great food, drinks and water activities. If you haven’t thought of visiting Sri Lanka, absolutely do it! You will not be disappointed. I think everyone has wanted to visit the Maldives and our advice is just go, you will have the time of your life.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be just relax about the process. Your day will be perfect as long you are next to your new wife or husband. I always said to my friends I don’t really mind what is around me, what the venue is, the dress or anything else as long as I am married to Joe at the end of it (and of course as long as we are sat on a beach in Sri Lanka a few days later)!
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