September 11th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Though today’s bride Allanah didn’t want an obvious theme or colour scheme for her wedding, the details of the day harmonise together so well that you could be forgiven for thinking this is a styled shoot rather than a couple’s big day.
The clear clue that it’s not a shoot however, is the genuine expressions of joy, excitement and love upon the faces of the bride, groom and their guests.
I’m certain I’d have been smiling from ear to ear if I was present at this wedding too. Just look at the venue, those flowers, that cake and Allanah’s stunning dress, designed by sponsor and friend of Brides Up North no less, the fabulous Charlotte Balbier.
So sit back and allow yourself to be captivated by the beauty!
With images by Kitchener Photography.
allanah says: We got engaged in April 2014 while on holiday in Japan. We were visiting Daigo-Ji in Kyoto and Andy proposed in a garden on the grounds. Cherry blossom season was just starting and the temple itself was very quiet, it was beautiful. That night we celebrated with a special dinner in the Geisha district and we saw the elusive Geishas. The proposal was much unexpected and we enjoyed the rest of the trip keeping the engagement a secret, apart from telling our parents.
Our wedding date was 18th April 2015. We had wanted to get married in the summer but there was only a few dates left at our venue so we ended up with April, which in the end was perfect because we had a really sunny, warm day!
We got married at The Byre at Inchyra in Perthshire. We had gone to a wedding in tipis and loved the idea of having the venue somewhere a bit different. The Byre was still a building site when we went to view it but the space was perfect and we knew right away it was the venue for us so cancelled all other venue appointments! We loved how it was rustic yet had all the mod cons so we didn’t have to worry about adding kitchens or toilets!
We didn’t choose to have a theme but words that came up often when talking to suppliers were rustic, elegant, and informal. We wanted to capture a feeling so directed lots of attention to making our guests have a great time and making it really personal to us. Flowers, dancing and food probably captured the day pretty well!
I love the Sofia Coppola Miss Dior adverts so I was inspired by those where everything looks beautiful and polished but you’re having so much fun, it doesn’t matter if the dress gets dirty or your hair falls out or you forget to do something. If there had been a fountain, I’d have probably gotten in it!
We didn’t really have a colour scheme either, we just went with what we liked. We were definitely led by the flowers and they were whites, pastel pinks and light greens. The crockery was all mismatched and we just went with plain white linen so everything popped against it.
In terms of matching bridesmaids to groomsmen, we just did our own thing and I think it turned out for the best. The bridesmaids wore navy and the groomsmen had dark green ties. Nothing was too ‘matchy matchy’ but the colours blended well against each other.
I wore the Iscoyd dress from Charlotte Balbier, bought at Kudos in Edinburgh. It was the only dress that I felt myself in, the neckline especially reminded me of my favourite LBD and I could dance in it, which was very important (I did a lot of pretend dancing in bridal stores)! I also liked how it had the gold detail and swiss dot lace, lots of little details. I can’t rate the service from Kudos enough, they really provide a 360 degree service and nothing was too much trouble. I would also recommend Charlotte Balbier wholeheartedly, from personal emails from Charlotte to custom making a veil to match the colour of the dress in a length I wanted, plus it’s made in Britain and a sense of ‘buy local’ was important to me.
On the wedding day I also wore a delicate flower crown in my hair made by an artisan crafter in Paris, I trawled for ages looking for something that wasn’t sparkly and came across Lysa Creation. The flowers are made from Japanese resin and they also supply French couture houses with these flowers so if it’s good enough for Chanel!
Andy is a Yorkshireman but chose to wear a tweed kilt from Nicolsons Kiltmakers of Edinburgh. He also wore a buttonhole of ranunculus and eucalyptus. The groomsmen all wore matching kilts with a different tweed jacket to Andy. And the same buttonholes.
The bridesmaids wore navy strapless dresses with a sweetheart neckline from French Connection, which suited all of them. Our flower girl, who is my sister Scarlett, wore the Estelle dress from Monsoon with a little cardigan and a flower crown in her hair – so sweet!
On the day my bridesmaids and I had our makeup done by Emma Motion, who made everyone look exquisite and has a really calm presence. I fully endorse Emma! Our hair was by Gillian of Pin Up Hair Glasgow. Again, Gillian was so much fun to have there on the day and all the girls looked great with subtle braided updos with a hair grip from Anthropologie. For myself I wanted it quite loose, inspired by Katherine Ross in the Graduate with some Priscilla Presley vibes thrown in so we did an epic bow dry.
We chose Kitchener Photography, a husband and wife team, Joanna and Dylan who live in Edinburgh. They’re really known for their stunning elopements and dramatic landscapes so we were thrilled to have them for the day. We both loved their use of natural light, there’s no flash photography, and their documentary style captured so many wonderful moments.
We also had the day filmed by Joe from Edinburgh Wedding Videos who did a fantastic job, we’ve had so many compliments on the highlight reel.
I carried a hand tied bouquet of white anemones (my favourite flowers) alongside eucalyptus, pink ranunculus, pink chrysanthemums and white astilbe. They were made by Hannah of Vintage Gathering based in Edinburgh, who was fantastic. We met with her and shared all of our ideas and we shared a lot over Pinterest.
The alter where we got married had a floating flower wall and Hannah dressed the room with lots of foliage, garlands and scatters of daisies and gypsophila. I had no idea she was going to do anything like that. She also made garlands for the Byre pillars and floated flowers in the original stone troughs in The Byre, which were also filled with floating candles.
On tables we had glass jars collected and decorated with antique lace by Andy and myself two nights before the wedding. I wanted to do a little of the flowers myself so my bridesmaids and I, along with my mum and stepmum, arranged them the day before sitting out in the sunshine. We bought buckets of flowers from the Country Garden Company, you provide a colour palette and get flowers to fit – we got anemones, tulips, ranunculus and so many more!
We weren’t really fussed about favours having been to so many weddings where they are left on tables so went with pairs of macarons in glassine bags for everyone – a sugary pick me up!
Our cake was made by our caterer, Lazy Sunday. I was initially going to bake my own cake but decided against adding one more thing to the list and Carole was happy to do it. We didn’t want a traditional cake, instead we had a lemon sponge with buttercream icing and jam filling, covered in buttercream. The cake was beautifully decorated with flowers, and Sepia Smiles from Etsy made the cupids arrow to ‘shoot’ through it.
Carole from Lazy Sunday really had the measure of us! We met her and within days she sent us a sample menu which was perfect. Andy is a really good cook and I come from an Italian background and love to eat family style so Carole put together sharing platters of Scottish charcuterie meats, scallops, langoustines and breads and salads. Followed by the tenderest lamb over lentils – it melted like butter. We then had a dessert table filled with individual posset, meringue, macarons, cheesecakes and brownies! The food was certainly a talking point! I can’t recommend Lazy Sunday enough and I’m bothering her about doing supper clubs just to eat her food again!
Carole also put together an evening snack of macaroni and cheese and pies – which Andy, as a diehard Yorkshireman, insisted upon, though he never got one in the end!
My friend and bridesmaid Kirsty, organised the all wine as she works for a wine merchants. Kirsty also designed the personalised wine bottles for us.
To entertain our guests, we chose a band called Daytura. We did a long trawl for a band and really liked how they made songs their own. They did an excellent job of performing the first dance for us, The Vaccines, I Always Knew.
We did a lot of DIY to make the day all the more personal. I tea-stained luggage tags and crumpled them up to make place settings – my poor hands were stained for days!
Because The Byre is so big, we wanted to be creative with use of space so we created a mini area on the dance floor so people could join in with the band and take a break from dancing. We also had giant gold foil balloons spelling out ‘dance’- a subtle reminder!
The photo table plan was Andy’s pride and joy. His mum sourced the antique gold frame and Andy put it all together. We liked how it made the wedding a bit more intimate rather than names on a piece of paper and had a lot of fun choosing photos. We found Square Snaps to be a really fast supplier!
Andy also made the signs directing people to the wedding with his dad and they even had an appearance at my bridesmaid Jennie’s wedding a few months later and I think Andy’s sister might use them too!
We also had a Polaroid guest book, we just left the camera with lots of film and props in the Stable Room seeing as the flower wall would make a nice backdrop – it’s one of our favourite parts of the wedding, the photos are so funny.
For stationary we used Teri of The Lovely Drawer. Teri was incredibly patient and creative and everyone should follow her blog for home design inspiration! We had everything printed via printed.com to reduce stationary costs and put towards more wine instead!
Finally, our natural confetti was from the Confetti Cone Company and it was definitely top quality for a really reasonable price.
We would most definitely recommend our choice of venue. You can really put your stamp on it. There’s so much flexibility with how you can set it up that no two weddings look the same. You do need to be well organised since there isn’t an event manager and it is a blank canvas venue but Caroline and James are always on hand to answer your questions and were incredible in the lead up to the wedding.
The highlight of the day for me was getting married to Andy and having everyone we love and care about there. We had a humanist ceremony and being able to totally personalise every aspect of the ceremony made it really memorable. Also, spending the day with all our favourite people was amazing. I’ve never laughed or danced so much – we have the best friends and family. People are still telling us how much fun they had and how the food will go down in history!
For our honeymoon we went to Sri Lanka first, for a few days of intense sightseeing, then onto The Maldives for intense relaxation.
After my wedding I was bridesmaid for two of my best friends and my one bit of advice to them, which I would pass on to other Brides Up North, was not to worry about it if things don’t go to plan because at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter and you’re too busy having a good time to really care. Also, one thing we did which has inspired a few others is to request that no-one takes photographs during the ceremony apart from the official photographers. It really makes a difference as everyone is enjoying the moment and not attached to phones. Finally, when planning, record every single pound you’re spending into a spreadsheet.
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June 10th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Rather than having a specific theme, today’s couple chose to head further north, back to the groom’s roots for an elegantly styled wedding with Scottish influences.
Just looking at the idyllic countryside in the photos below it’s easy to see why Scotland makes a truly romantic setting for a couple’s big day (plus going on previous experiences those Scots certainly know how to throw a party!)
And we just love the guy’s tweed suits and tartan kilts, proving that men can be just as well dressed as the girls when it comes to a wedding. Well done boys, we like your style!
With images by Jamie Penfold Photography.
julia says: We got engaged on the morning of Christmas Day 2013. Paul woke me up about 5.30am (which I wasn’t pleased about) to open our presents. We opened our other presents first and we had put some tiny ‘message in a bottle’ ornaments on the Christmas tree which I had bought at a Christmas fair. His message to me was ‘will you marry me?’ and when I looked up he was holding the most beautiful engagement ring. I almost died of shock and burst into tears! Then I said yes!
We decided to set the date for Saturday 28th March 2015 as Paul didn’t want a long engagement so it was 15 months after he proposed. We had actually wanted to get married on Easter weekend but our venue was booked so we went for the weekend before instead.
We got married at Friars Carse Country House Hotel in Auldgirth, just north of Dumfries, Scotland. We hired the venue exclusively and would definitely recommend other couples doing that if they can as it meant the venue could concentrate on just us and we didn’t get any strangers in the photos!
Paul was born in Scotland and has lots of Scottish family so had his heart set on getting married in Scotland (even though I would have preferred a hot sunny beach wedding). We looked at a couple of venues around that area but as soon as we visited Friars Carse Country House we fell in love with it and booked straight away.
We didn’t really have a theme but certain colours featured throughout the wedding; tables/runners were champagne and pearl settings, the bridesmaids dresses were silver/grey full length dresses and the men wore grey tweed kilts.
My dress was a Ronald Joyce Victoria design from Brides Dream in Walkergate, Newcastle. I had tried on so many dresses but when I tried this one it had everything I wanted and was flattering for my curvy figure. It was also quite different to others I’d seen. My bridesmaids wore full-length silver/grey dresses which I ordered online and had adjusted.
As a special touch, I bought myself and the bridesmaids matching pyjama sets to wear when we were getting ready on the morning of the wedding. The night before all the girls came to the bridal suite for fizz and giggles while the boys gathered in the bar/snooker room.
Paul wore a grey tweed kilt set from MacGregor and McDuff in Ayr and his groomsmen wore the same.
Jamie of Jamie Penfold Photography took our wedding photos and we would absolutely recommend him to others! He was amazing from start to finish and worked so hard to ensure the pictures were stunning, and they really are. We are so pleased and can relive the day anytime we want as the pictures tell the story of the day so well.
I carried a round bouquet of cream roses with pearl decoration supplied by Flowers by Fiona in Moffat, Scotland. Fiona also provided the bridesmaids’ flowers and buttonholes for the bridal party.
For the reception, we hired pearl and rose centrepieces, our table runners and chair covers and sashes and brooches from Charlotte Boyd in Dumfries, Scotland. I also ordered cute little blackboards with easels for the name settings and larger ones for the table names from Confetti.co.uk.
We gave our male guests Subbuteo football player bottle openers as favours and the ladies received a heart shaped wine stopper.
When it came to food, we had a three-tier round ivory sponge wedding cake with piping and pearl decorations and roses, which was made by Cakes By Becky in Crawcrook, Newcastle.
To keep guests entertained we hired a fantastic band who Paul had seen locally called The Maverick Rejects. They travelled up to the venue and were absolutely brilliant.
We would definitely recommend our wedding venue to other brides and grooms. It was a fantastic venue and luckily the weather held for our photos! We will definitely return there as the staff were all brilliant.
Walking down the wooden staircase towards the aisle seeing everyone who had made the effort to be there for us, and then seeing Paul break into a huge smile when I got to the front has to be my favourite part of the day. The whole day was amazing though!
For our honeymoon we went to Aquila Elounda Village Hotel in Elounda, Crete, in May. We wanted to have a little gap after the wedding and so booked it as something to look forward to. It was a five star adults-only all-inclusive holiday, so perfect for relaxation!
My top tips to other Bride Up North would be to make sure you have someone there who you can trust to get everything done and make sure the venue are clear the day before on every small thing you want doing, as you won’t be around to manage it all. Luckily the duty manager at our venue (Xavier) was absolutely first class, so between him and my two fab bridesmaids I didn’t have to worry about anything and could just enjoy the day.
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April 7th, 2015 | Julia Braime
I love the simple elegance of today’s real wedding set within the grandeur of Eaves Hall in the North West.
The fabulous venue won over bride-to-be Melissa in seconds, and looking at the images below it’s easy to see why. Keen to keep things fresh and classy, Melissa worked with talented suppliers to accomplish her vision with pale pretty blooms, ornate candelabras and twinkling fairy lights.
In addition to the setting, the couple themselves looked stunning with Melissa opting for a gorgeous fishtail gown while her hubby-to-be (and his merry men) donned kilts for the occasion. We do hope it wasn’t a blustery day!
With images by Brides Up North Featured Supplier, Karli Harrison Photography.
melissa says: We got engaged in York, in April 2013. We had been out for a lovely meal and when we got back to our hotel Stuart got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I wasn’t totally surprised as Stuart knows how fussy I am, so had asked me to pick out a ring a couple of weeks before!
We got married on 13th September 2014. The reason for picking this particular date was that we had originally planned to get married in 2015, so when we started looking at venues they were quite booked up for 2014 dates. I went to go and look at Eaves Hall in Clitheroe and completely fell in love with it, and they had a date in September free so with a little persuasion I convinced Stuart to bring the date forward.
I had been browsing venues online but hadn’t come across anywhere with the ‘wow’ factor. Eaves Hall was the first venue we looked at and it ticked every box, it was slightly further away from home than we had planned but everything else more than compensated for it. The venue is absolutely beautiful. I would highly recommend it.
We didn’t go for a theme as such, I just wanted everything to be fresh and classy. Stuart is Scottish so he wanted the groomsmen to wear kilts but other than that we just went with what we liked. The venue is a theme within itself so we just added in extra touches to make it personal to ourselves.
I chose sage green for the bridesmaids dresses but didn’t choose to use this colour scheme throughout the wedding. For everything I chose to use ivory with pearl accents.
I chose a fishtail dress by Enzoani from Dreamcatcher Designer Bridal Wear in Kirkham. I had tried on a dress that was a lot fuller but didn’t feel comfortable in it. As I am quite tall I chose the more fitted dress that puffed out at the bottom, which still made it feel like a ‘wedding dress’ but was more flattering to my shape. My veil had a scalloped lace edge and I also wore a diamanté belt to enhance the shape of the dress.
As I mentioned, Stuart is originally from Scotland so it was important to him to have the men in kilts. At first I was dubious but when I saw them on the day they all looked fab. We chose to hire the kilts from Slaters menswear. Stuart chose to wear a black shirt with an ivory tie so that he was different to the groomsmen that wore black kilts with white shirts and sage ties.
My bridesmaids wore Grecian style dresses in sage green, also from Dreamcatcher. It was purely by chance that all the dresses were set out in each style but only shown in certain colours. My bridesmaid Natalie pulled this particular one off the rail and the style and colour was perfect – that pretty much set the tone for the style of the rest of the wedding. I then picked nude shoes and diamante drop earrings. My hair was done by Becky at Kre8 Hair and Beauty, and makeup by Olivia Naylor. They are both perfectionists and made everyone look gorgeous.
Karli Harrison was the photographer we chose. I had researched quite a few before we decided on Karli. A friend of my mum had used her for her daughter’s wedding and she highly recommended her. We looked at her pictures and knew straight away that Karli’s style was perfect for our big day.
We also used Abbey Videos to video the whole day. I’m so glad we captured the day on film as there is so much that you miss and don’t take in.
I carried a bouquet of hydrangeas, white roses, lily of the valley and various other white flowers. These were supplied by Jane at Flower Design in Blackpool, who I also can’t recommend highly enough. I originally wanted a bouquet with just white roses but when Jane made me up a sample and said she thought I would prefer this – she wasn’t wrong. She also recommended perfume and moisturiser to compliment the scent of the flowers.
We used the same flowers in my bouquet but a smaller version for the bridesmaids and flower girl. My bouquet and the bridesmaids also doubled up as top table flower display whilst we had our wedding breakfast. It looked so different yet classy which I was really impressed with. Jane also provided two trees either side of the main entrance with white roses entwined into them and candelabras for the table displays which were decorated with the same flowers used in my bouquet. Jane picked up on the Scottish heritage and incorporated thistle in the button holes for Stuart’s side of the family and the groomsmen. She also took into account what people were wearing and designed them individual button holes which I thought was a really nice touch.
I was particularly anxious about the venue being dressed enough and so used Add a Little Sparkle to help with this. I explained to them the theme I liked and they showed me pictures of previous weddings they had done at Eaves Hall that were similar to my theme. I chose the fairy light curtain and they also provided chair covers, swag for the top table and lanterns down the aisle. Between the team at Flower Design and ‘Mr and Mrs Sparkle’ every last detail was accounted for, down to a rose petals arranged in a heart shape at the end of the aisle.
We provided a free bar for all the guests, day and night, so we decided that we weren’t going to do anything too extravagant for the favours as we were sure our guests would be more than happy with the drinks flowing! So as a little touch we got everybody a scratch card. I got some beautiful cards made that just simply said ‘good luck’ on the front then inside a little message to say ‘thank you for sharing our day love Mr and Mrs Naismith’. For the children I got some personalised colouring books to keep them entertained, which I got off eBay. They came in various colours and designs, the one I picked matched our theme perfectly.
A lady that I work with makes the most delicious chocolate cakes, she really is wasted working in an office! So when it came to the cake I knew it was going to have to be one of Lesley’s cakes. We had four tiers, the bottom was chocolate and then alternated between that and lemon. She decorate it perfectly for us, it was a shame we had to cut it!
The thing I liked about the food at Eaves Hall was that you could give your guests a choice of meals. We went to a tasting event in the April before the wedding which was really good. They set out the room as it would be when you have your wedding breakfast and they brought out one of each meal for your group to try, I was stuffed when we left! It was also good to mingle with other people that were getting married there to swap ideas and experiences. After much deliberation (because it was all so good) we opted for either Cajun salmon starter or chicken and pancetta Caesar salad, then the choice of either roast chicken or roast lamb, then for dessert lemon tart or chocolate torte. Everything was delicious and well received!
Choosing the entertainment was a really big thing for me as I felt like it could make or break the day. I actually booked a couple of people then changed my mind. After hearing a local singer called James Edgar performing, I knew I had to have him at the wedding. He sings with just a guitar and puts his own twist on modern and classic hits, which he performed during the ceremony and wedding breakfast. In between the ceremony and wedding breakfast, the Northern String Quartet played whilst the guests had drinks and canapés. We were so lucky with the weather, so they were able to play outside. For me I think that was one of the highlights of the day,
Then for the evening reception we had the Ian Hooper Band. They were absolutely brilliant! Everybody was dancing the night away. To get everyone in the swing of things they came into the bar with their guitars and got the guests stood on their chairs singing and dancing. They even finished the night off with a Queen sing-song round the grand piano which everyone absolutely loved. We also had a photo booth for the guests which was good fun and we got all the pictures on a memory stick, which was hilarious to look at the next day.
I can’t take credit for this as it was my mum’s idea but we had fire eaters to greet the evening guests. Everyone said how different the idea was and we also got some really good pictures of it!
I would definitely recommend our venue, not just for how it looks, but for the whole experience. Hayley oversaw the day and she made us both feel so at ease, nothing was too much trouble for her.
It’s hard to pick an exact favourite part of the day as I loved every minute of it – I have different favourite parts for different reasons! But everyone singing round the piano was such fun and everyone was talking about it for weeks after.
We went for a short break to Mallorca the week after the wedding. It was lovely to just chill after a year of planning! We said we were going to go on a proper honeymoon this year but we are expecting a baby in May so have decided to go to New York in December and treat that as our honeymoon.
A top tip to other Brides Up North is don’t stress about the small details too much! I spent so much time worrying about various things that I didn’t really need to worry about as everything falls into place on the day, but my main tip would be to get the day filmed.
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October 29th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Stunning scenery, rainbow blooms, tartan trews and spinning a reel… Clair and Nick show how an elegant wedding needn’t be a stuffy affair. Combining traditional charm with modern and personal touches, the couple’s colourful celebration is a bonnie day indeed.
Images by AnnaJoy Photography.
Clair says: Nick and I met while studying at St Andrews in 2008. Our first little holiday together as a couple was to a lovely little guesthouse outside of Ballachulish in the Scottish Highlands. We had a lovely few days together as a fairly new couple. One of the things we both enjoy most is documenting our little adventures – we found an amazing, almost deserted road in Glen Nevis and realised it could be a lot of fun to take a series of stills of the both of us in the road, sort of like the flip books you get where when you look at the images quickly they tell a little story. As our new year celebrations finished in the early hours of 1st Jan 2013 Nick told me he was taking me back to that same guesthouse as a surprise gift! We went back to the same spot on the deserted road to make a new “flip book” of photos of us 4 years later and then Nick got down on one knee. It was beautifully romantic and entirely unique! Those pictures now have even more meaning!
We were married on 12th July 2014. We picked that date because both of us had extremely tight schedules at the time. I was in between graduating for a second time and starting work and had four weeks that I could totally devote to the last minute frantic preparations.
We got married at St Salvator’s Chapel, St Andrews. It’s the chapel associated with the University we both studied at and it just felt right to go back there. I wanted a very traditional service but in a place that was familiar, so the Chapel was perfect! Our reception was across the lawn at Upper and Lower College Hall, a beautiful building from the early 17th century. The grassy lawn in between the Chapel and the Hall was the perfect spot for drinks after the service and for the littlies to tear around. We were on a very tight budget funding the wedding ourselves – the Chapel and College offered the opportunity to put our own stamp on our wedding whilst fitting within a well-rehearsed framework for a very agreeable price.
We decided that our wedding would have a ‘hint’ of vintage but that in order to really work with the venue it also had to be elegant. We decided that additions such as vintage china and pastel handkerchiefs would work with the room whilst I had to forgo the likes of bunting, as it just wouldn’t have worked. We also wanted lots of homemade elements – we are crafty people but also wanted the really personal feel that this adds. It also saves lots of pennies if you can make things yourselves!
We wanted it to be bright. And beyond that I didn’t want to complicate matters by having a colour scheme. As many of the fine details were done by ourselves, it was much easier to have a loose colour scheme for resourcing what we wanted at the price we wanted it for. I wanted my bridesmaids to have dresses they had picked and could wear again and shoes they liked rather than enforcing my choices on them – they all agreed that they would wear navy and between them all picked the same dress! But their shoes were all different. They all had a bright pink shawl and a posy of brightly coloured flowers – many of the same flowers that were elsewhere in the venue. Very loosely we tried to stick to oranges, yellows, pinks and purples but all sorts of other colours crept in too!
The dress I thought I wanted and the one I picked were worlds apart. I have very much a pear shape, and realised that the dresses I thought I liked only accentuated my wide hips and left me feeling frumpy. I ditched my original ideas and in Pretty Woman in Edinburgh riffled through dresses they had hanging. I knew I wanted lace somewhere, and I had realised that something that fit snuggly at the waist but then skimmed out over my hips was going to be most flattering. With new thinking, the first dress I tried on was strapless – something I knew I just didn’t want on its own, but had been told I could add a lace jacket to. It had a sweetheart neckline, fit tightly at the waist and then had layers of tuille and a lot of taffeta to give a very full skirt and chapel length train. The instant I put the jacket on over the top I knew the look was exactly what I wanted. Both were made by Justin Alexander. The girls I was with at the time said it was the first time I had smiled as looked at in the mirror. That was it. I decided there and then that the dress and jacket were the ones I wanted.
Nick wore a pair of McNaughton Muted Tartan Trews I had bought him as a Christmas gift. His father was Scottish and this was his family tartan (McKendrick). His bow tie was in the same tartan to match. The Prince Charlie jacket his Mum had bought him a Christmas later, so that he had a complete outfit. His lovely shoes were Loake – his favourite brand of shoes, and compensation for all the pennies spent on my dress. The dress shirt came from TM Lewin and his copper cufflinks I had bought on Etsy as an engagement gift – they had the co-ordinates on them of the exact spot in Glen Nevis at which he had proposed.
The bridesmaids’ dresses were made by LightInTheBox – a company based in China which make beautiful quality gowns to order. I sent them the girls’ exact measurements and the dresses arrived and needed only the smallest of tweaks. The groomsmen wore a mix of their own Highland wear or suits. We were flexible with what the boys wanted to wear – it fit with the relaxed colour scheme. Each of them had a set of pirate Lego cufflinks – Nick’s stag had been on a boat in the Norfolk Broads that the boys had customised into a pirate ship.
We hired a beautiful Rolls Royce Silver Shadow from Prestige Cars of Fife – a company owned by Tom McKean. The car worked with our loosely vintage theme and was a definite luxury. Tom was the perfect driver, putting our nerves at ease and then drove us around St Andrews for some of our photos after the service.
Our photographer was Anna Hamill of AnnaJoy Photography. She was perfect. We knew at our engagement shoot we had found a real treasure. She was wonderfully discrete but also somehow captured every single moment beautifully. She didn’t mind being punted into taxi’s across town to be a part of everything and in the midst of relative madness, she was calm. There are lots of little touches Anna brings that others don’t – beautiful little business cards with pictures of you on, USB sticks sent with edible goodies, emails that are more friendly than blunt business, and the rights to do with your photos as you wish. And Nick and I would recommend her in a heartbeat for all of this.
My bridesmaids and I carried bouquets of flowers constructed by my beautiful and incredibly talented Mama. We ordered them wholesale from Triangle Nursery who delivered them to where the bridal party had gathered for a few days prior to the wedding. Mum then assembled them into beautiful creations and somehow knew what flowers would work where. She was magical.
Our flowers for the venue came from the same wholesalers. In keeping with as much being made by the people we love most, we got a bunch of my girlfriends, my sister, Nicks Mum and Great Aunt together and led by my Mama they each made one of the decorations. Each one had the same flowers and greenery in, but was assembled however they wanted. And they all looked fantastic. We had peonies, dozens and dozens of roses, freesias, gerbera, chrysanthemums, gypsophila, thistles and more!
We had a wedding tree as an alternative to a guest book – it’s now framed and hanging on our wall as a memory of all of those that joined us. We also asked every guest to bring their favourite recipe so we could create a ‘wedding cookbook’.
Perhaps the most personal thing for us was that our family and closest friends joined us for five days in total – a few days before preparing, and a couple of days after the wedding. Having our favourite people around us for a little bit more time was so important to us both.
We used Gordon’s Cater Hire for our vintage crockery and chairs – I wanted lime-washed chairs as I am not a fan of chair covers or sashes. They were excellent and provided an excellent service.
As favours, we gave ladies vintage handkerchiefs for “happy tears” and men brightly coloured silk pocket squares. Everyone also had a personalised name tag made from salt dough – something else people could take home and hang somewhere if they wanted.
We chose traditional Scottish options for our food. We sent guests a selection of three options for main course and dessert and asked them to get back to us – we wanted our guests to eat food they wanted to eat! St Andrews University created delicious dishes and many of our guests complimented the quality of the food. We sourced our favourite wines from the supermarket – we just waited until they were on offer and bulk bought. We had to pay corkage but felt for the same cost as the cheapest wines on the wine list we had wines we loved and that we thought other people would enjoy.
My favourite cake of all time is the fruit cake that my Mum makes for Christmas and this was the only cake I ever considered for our wedding. She also made a madeira cake for those people that don’t like fruit cake. She decorated them beautifully with hearts and pearls and lace and ribbon. Oh they were gorgeous. And to please Nick, who, if he could only eat one food for the rest of his life it would be cheese, we had a stack-of-cheeses cake. We served the cheeses and cakes as our evening buffet and they went down a treat!
One of our cheeses came from Cote Hill, a farm in Lincolnshire where Nick’s family is from – it was delicious!
We are largely a Scottish family and many of our friends are Scottish. We had been to a friend’s wedding and were amazed at how a ceilidh got everyone up and dancing – so we emailed a dozen bands and eventually settled on one we liked the look of – Ceilidh Sound. We also had a close friend who did a fantastic job of MC during the speeches – he had everyone in stitches.
The whole day was perfect. The moments we had as just the two of us were just as precious as those we shared with our friends and family. Our mothers gave us kisses right before we said our vows, our ‘last kisses’, and dancing with my Dad was one of those moments every little girl wants. The whole day was completely wonderful and we are off to Barbados in just 8 days! We are so excited!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to plan plan plan. It’s never too early. We had all of our big things booked well in advance, including our band, Anna, the venues, the accommodation, my dress, our rings. It meant closer to the time we had plenty of time to focus on the fine details. Also, an Excel spreadsheet is a girl’s best friend.
February 4th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Yes, that really is today’s bride and groom’s married name – Mr & Mrs Perfect. Don’t you love it. No pressure or anything..! Anyway, it turns out that their gorgeous Real Wedding in Manchester was pretty much that – a chic and simple and prettily perfect winter city wedding.
With images by Stella Photography.
Gemma says: Nigel asked me to marry him on 1st December 2012, on Llanmadoc beach in Wales, on a weekend away. It was a beautiful isolated beach on a lovely crisp winter’s day.
We were married on 23rd November 2013. We had the ceremony at Manchester Town Hall, and the reception at The Place Apartment Hotel, a converted cotton warehouse in central Manchester.
We wanted everything to be indoors, firstly because it is Manchester, so it was more than likely to rain, and secondly because of the time of year. We had looked at country locations, but decided that as we had so many guests coming not only from over this country but also from abroad, the city centre would be best for travel from the airport, train or the motorway. Also, we live very close to the city centre, so going in to see our wedding coordinator at the venue, and meeting local suppliers was so much easier than if we had picked somewhere far away. Manchester Town Hall is a stunning old building, with high stained glass windows so we felt it added to the occasion. The Place is beautifully restored, maintaining many original features such as red brick walls and steel columns.
Our theme was simplicity. The venue for the reception made it seem urban chic and we also teamed this with a vintage feel with the flower displays – very natural, in small glass bottles and jars – and hand-tied favours with luggage tag labels.
The wedding was mainly white and ivory, however my husband had decided that he wanted to wear his kilt, in the family tradition, so I picked a dark forest green for the bridesmaids to match this.
My dress was from The Staite Rooms in Huddersfield. It was a Maggie Sottero gown (Geneva), fitted to the waist and slightly over the hips, and had a long train. The top layer was a delicate lace with floral adornments, and a a band in light mocha under the bust, which made it look quite different to any I had seen before. I loved my long train! The dress was strapless which I didn’t think I would like when trying on dresses, but it fit beautifully with a lace-up back.
My bridesmaids wore full length forest green chiffon dresses from Fairytale Occasions in Bury. The groomsmen wore kilts in a similar style to my husband, our fathers wore black suits to match the kilt jackets. These were all hired from Slaters.
I had a fantastic hair & makeup artist come to make up myself, my bridesmaids, my mother and mother-in-law at the hotel, Jodie Smith, also based in Manchester.
August 6th, 2013 | Julia Braime
I’m such a tease aren’t I?! After pressing publish on Monday morning’s blog post, I knew that it would be cruel not to share the rest of the gorgeous shots from Sam and Kenny’s beautiful Real Wedding at The Alnwick Garden on the blog. After all, it’s one of the prettiest days I’ve seen. Could these two be any more photogenic?
So, the purpose of yesterday’s post was to alert you to a very special event coming up very, very soon – opening our autumn season, in fact – The Brides Up North Luxury & Vintage Wedding Exhibition at The Alnwick Garden on Sunday 1st September 2013. To get the full lowdown and register for completely free VIP Bride To Be entry and your goody bag, click here.
Once you’ve been there, done that, some back to share the rest of Sam and Kenny’s big day. With images by the ever talented Sean Elliott Photography (who’ll be joining us on September 1st too), this is one to remember.
Sam says: We got engaged in Dubai, in September 2009. Kenny wrote ‘Marry me?’ in rose petals on the bed whilst I was at the pool sunbathing… quite the romantic!
We tied the knot in June at The Alnwick Garden in the Pavilion Room. We felt that the Garden was somewhere different, with stunning grounds for the perfect photos. It’s also a memorable venue for people who hadn’t been before – the grand cascade as the main viewpoint throughout the ceremony, the rose garden, bamboo maze, the tree house and all of the water features gave guests that little something extra, over and above a wedding in a hotel or stately home.
We didn’t have a theme, we just wanted to keep it simple and relaxed – a bit like us! We chose a colour scheme of black and white with pinks and whites in the bouquets and button holes adding a splash of colour.
I wore the Maggie Sottero “Reece” dress from Blush Bridal Boutique in Uppermill, Saddleworth and Kenny wore a kilt, in Morrison Clan tartan… sticking to family tradition. He had it hand-made at Nicholson Kiltmakers in Edinburgh.
The bridesmaids and I had peony rose bouquets with a mix of pinks and some white roses and Kenny had a pink peony buttonhole (to match my bouquet) with Scottish thistles.
Getting ready with my mum and the bridesmaids was great fun, very relaxed and involved quite a lot of champagne!
Guests were taken to the venue by Dreadnought Coaches in the 1952 Leyland Titan. The guests and groomsmen travelled in more style than the bridal party! When boarding the bus, the groom, best man and ushers gave everyone a glass of fizz to get the celebrations started. I think it’s fair to say the journey for the guests was a real social event!
Arco String Quartet played some beautiful music for our guests’ arrival, my entrance, signing the register and at end of the ceremony – including Elbow – One Day Like This – and The Beatles – All You Need Is Love.
Kenny’s father made all of the ladies’ favours by hand – strawberry and champagne preserve, with little poem on the labels: “A spoonful of sugar and two sweet kisses, now Kenny and Sam are Mr and Mrs”.
The best man’s speech was brilliant, one of the best I’ve ever seen. He used a video to really take the mick out of Kenny and had everyone in fits of laughter. ‘Mr Lover Man, Shabba’ was the song of choice for the video… very entertaining! It was also great to have all of our nearest and dearest in one room together as it doesn’t happen all that often!
A friend of ours, DJ James Cummings provided the evening entertainment. We had a small part of the night dedicated to a ceilidh too, which went down really well and Sean Elliott got some great action shots!
After the wedding we did a road trip through California – Vegas, San Francisco, Route 1 with various stop offs including Santa Barbara and Carmel, finishing off in LA, going to the Standard Hotel for their famous rooftop party on the last night of our honeymoon… the perfect end!
My top tips for other Brides Up North would be: don’t get stressed, don’t have massively high expectations that you may find impossible to meet, make sure your wedding reflects you as a couple, no-one else (i.e. don’t try to imitate anyone else, or do something just because you think your guests will like it – if you don’t), and just relax and enjoy every single moment, from planning, right through to sending out your thank you cards!
Congratulations Sam & Kenny!
Get the date in your diaries – I might have mentioned it a few times (too many?) but our opening event of the season – The Brides Up North Luxury & Vintage Wedding Exhibition at The Alnwick Garden is on Sunday 1st September 2013 from 11am till 4pm. Pre register now for free entry and your VIP Bride To Be Goody Bag!
This is not a sponsored post
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