January 20th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
As it’s pretty much the weekend we thought we’d take a little trip, heading all the way South to relive Stephanie and Stephen’s big day.
Keen to evoke nostalgic holiday memories whilst saying their “I dos”, the couple picked to travel south from their Lancashire home in search of a venue with sun, sea and champagne!
The Watergate Bay Hotel provided the perfect backdrop for their effortlessly gorgeous wedding in Cornwall, which featured a timeless muted colour scheme with just the right amount of golden sparkle.
So, grab your bucket and spade guys, as we’re off to the beach!
With images by Gemma McAuley Photography
stephanie says: We got engaged when I was nine-months pregnant on New Year’s Eve 2014/15 at midnight in Keswick town centre under the stars and fireworks surrounded by a large crowd of other people celebrating their New Year’s Eve. I was totally surprised and not expecting it at all, so I was in shock when he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him with a beautiful engagement ring! Obviously, I said yes and we had the best New Year’s Eve ever!
Our wedding date was 27th June 2016, which we chose in the hope of a nice sunny day so that we could have pictures taken on the beautiful beach.
Though we live in Lancashire, we got married at The Watergate Bay Hotel, in Cornwall. We chose this venue as it is very special for our family. I used to spend every summer at this hotel when I was little with my parents, sister and grandparents, so we have a lot of special memories there. It was even more exciting as we all hadn’t been there for more than ten years! In this time the hotel had a total renovation and so was more amazing than I remembered.
Myself, Stephen, both our parents and our son Charlie, went down to visit the venue a year before the wedding for a long weekend. The weather was amazing and the hotel was more than we could have imagined. So, we booked the date there and then as it was my idea of a dream wedding venue. Floor to ceiling glass windows overlooking the beach in the ceremony room sealed the deal!
As the venue is so modern and the views are so perfect, I didn’t want to take away from it, and so we went for a natural colour scheme of champagne and ivory, with a splash of glitter for a bit of sparkle.
We didn’t have a wedding style as such, though in the evening we did a casino theme for a bit of fun as it’s one of our favourite fun hobbies. We hired casino tables to get our guest having fun and we also hired an amazing hand magician as Stephen is obsessed with magic and as a child always wanted to be a magician. He was amazing and really entertaining!
When it came to choosing my dress for the wedding, I went for a full lace gown with spaghetti straps and low back. It was more relaxed and beachy due to the venue choice but I still wanted to feel like a bride so it was perfect and I chose a cathedral veil to add a bit of drama. I bought my dress, veil, shoes and headband from Sugared Almonds in Earby, who were so helpful.
September 22nd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
image by Emm & Clau Photography
Here at Brides Up North we’ve noticed that waterside weddings are proving rather popular with our couples; be it a lakeside celebration in Bowness, a seaside wedding in Scarborough or a Tyneside ceremony in Newcastle.
Though the British weather is unpredictable, the various waterside options show that there are many more possibilities beyond the beach, and that getting wed by the water doesn’t have to mean taking the ceremony outdoors.
Some couples opt for venues that have spectacular views of a particular lake or river, while others choose to pitch up a marquee close the water’s edge so they can enjoy the pretty whilst still being protected.
Another idea we’ve seen played out by our brides and grooms, is to incorporate the setting into part of their plans for the day. So for example, they might organise an open-air bus ride down the sea front, book a traditional river boat cruise or take advantage of fab photo opportunities on iconic bridges.
Of course another way to tie in the setting is through the styling a décor of the day, whether couples choose to go all out with an obvious theme or simply opt for a complementary colour palette.
With this in mind, we’re sharing some of our favourite water styling options. So come, sail away with us…
Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by Anna Munro| image source, photography Catherine Rhodes| image source, photography by Bek Grace Photography| image source| image source, photography by First Mate Photo Co| image source, photography by Christine Sara Photography| image source| image source, photography by Katie Kett Photography| image source| image source, photography by Jose Villa.
We love this theme, not only because of its soft, dreamy and modern appearance, but also because you don’t need to be getting hitched waterside to choose it. Basically it’s all about fluidity and beautifully blended, washed out colours.
Couples can choose to stick with just one hue, or instead pick a mixture of two or more shades. Elegant pastels such as baby pink, powder blue and lilac work particularly well, but so too do more punchy colours, such as magenta and tangerine.
Stationery is particularly helpful in getting the theme across to guests, with save the dates and invitations in pretty washed ink designs. The look can then be continued on the day with correlating name places, table numbers and menus.
Additional décor looks effective in delicate paper pompoms, watercolour patterned crockery and tie-dyed like fabrics in table runners, serviettes and bunting.
Flower choices should tally with the colour palette and mirror the gentleness of the theme, so think big, blousy blooms with lots of light petals as well as flowers peppered with tiny buds.
Picking the cake shouldn’t be too hard either as hand painted designs, particularly those of watercolour effect, are a current trend, giving couples plenty of options.
With so many opportunities to project the theme through the above, it’s not necessary for it to be extended to the wedding party’s attire though there are some truly stunning washed out, coloured designs available for both brides and their maids.
Clockwise from top left: image source| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by Green Tea Photography| image source, photography by Laura Murray Photography| image source| image source, photography by Agnes Lopez Photography| image source| image source, photography by Caroline Tran Photography.
A classic, though there is a fine line between tacky and tasteful on this one. The key is to add subtle nautical nods throughout the styling rather than making it look like a seaside town has quite literally exploded all over your big day.
The look should be clean rather than cluttered and the colour theme mainly blue and white. Couples can go for either a deep traditional blue or a lighter, elegant tone. For a softer nautical look, we also like the idea of also adding a pastel shade to the palette, such as peach, diversifying slightly from what’s been seen before.
Décor for this one can be a lot of fun with the opportunity to incorporate shells, sand, anchors, sailing rope, boats and compasses, to help set the scene. Just take care not to overdo it.
Stripes are also associated with the theme and so can be added in fabric choices, cake designs and even attire. Perhaps the groom could wear a striped tie or dicky bow and the bride could slip on some nautical footwear, which might also provide her something blue.
In terms of flowers, most brides opting for this theme tend to stick to fresh white hues bound with stripped ribbon.
deep blue ocean
Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by Elisa Bricker| image source, photography by Emma Lucy Photography| image source, photography by EmmPhotography| image source| image source, photography by Jacqueline Dallimore| image source, photography by Love Life Studios| image source| image source, photography by Gucio Photography| image source, photography by Peach Blossom Photography| image source, photography by Spencer Photography.
Perfect for those who like to keep things simple, this look is based on bringing different colours of the ocean together.
While a plain blue palette can fall flat, this theme enables couples to add interest with varying shades such as turquoise, sky blue and royal blue as well as adding hints of greens and greys. The result should be fresh, relaxed and classy.
To play on the ocean theme couples can add small influences from the themes above, if they so wish. So water coloured style stationery would work well as would small decorative details, such as shells, driftwood and sailing rope knots.
Patterns in decoration can also help to add further interest and ombre details can easily be added to the theme as the varying shades appear to wash in and out of each other, just like waves.
While blue wedding gowns are growing in popularity, the theme can easily be reflected in other areas of the wedding party’s attire, so the bride can remain in traditional white or ivory. Rather than just picking one tone of blue for the groomsmen’s bow ties and pocket squares or the maids’ dresses, different ocean shades can be mixed and matched for a real aqua appearance.
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!
November 27th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
Today’s real wedding kicks-off with an incredibly romantic and festive engagement which is perfect as we’re soon to begin the big Christmas countdown with the help of our advent calendars (some things you are never too old for).
Sam and Fiona agreed on a laid back seaside wedding set around a cute afternoon tea during the day and a rocking party in the evening.
I love that Fiona was brave enough to shun tradition and work a blush pink dress on the aisle, which she looked fabulous in. Not to be left out, the guys also projected some colour with their daring but dashing sky blue bow ties.
So grab your bucket and spade as we journey to the maritime town of Scarborough for Sam and Fiona’s big day.
With images by Photography34
fiona says: I was eight months pregnant with our first child when we got engaged. It was our first Christmas in our first ‘family home’. We set about putting the Christmas tree up on a snowy Saturday afternoon, when Sam announced that he had a special bauble to put the tree. He presented me with a gold gift box tied with red ribbon, and I opened it to find a glass bauble inside. I took it out of the box and realised there was a message engraved on it so I looked closer, and in the meantime Sam got down on one knee. The message on the bauble said “You are the love of my life. Will you marry me?” Of course, I said yes, and the glass bauble has pride of place on our Christmas tree every year.
We chose 26th July 2014 for our wedding day – firstly as it wasn’t during the World Cup, but mainly as it was the anniversary of my beloved Nana’s death in 2009. She was my everything, and after a lot of thought we chose this day so as we could turn a sad day in to a happy day for the family.
We married at St Mark’s Church, Scarborough. My parents literally live over the road from the church and it held a lot of happy childhood memories, including me attending dancing lessons in the church hall every Saturday. Both our daughters were christened there also, so it seemed only right that we be married there too.
For the wedding reception, we decided on Betton Farm, East Ayton. Initially attracted by the love of their afternoon tea, I fell in love with the venue’s scenery and the relaxed vibe. We weren’t restricted to just one area, and that was a huge selling point for me. We had the marquee, the main building and the terraces so people could sit in the thick of it or sit where it was a little more quiet and idyllic.
There was no theme in particular, we wanted a relaxed wedding. We know how hard it is with two small children to sit down for a three-course meal, so we took the whole element of that away and provided our guests with a traditional afternoon tea so as to keep the whole event laid back.
The most important thing was that the people we loved the most could share our happiness with us.
When it came to styling, I was inspired by The Great British Bake Off, which featured an array of colours set in a marquee in the country. I wanted pastel colours, which could be mismatched to create a beautiful pallet.
In my head I wanted a simple, lace style wedding dress. After visiting a number of bridal shops, I made an appointment at Wedding Belles of Scarborough. I picked out a few dresses and after a discussion with the owner, Jackie, she asked if I would consider wearing a pink dress. I said yes, purely to keep my options open and mainly not wanting to appear rude. After trying on half a dozen dresses, the pink dress was next. I nearly said no, but once I stepped in to the gown I knew it was the one for me.
It was a one off Phil Collins bridal gown, which I wore off the peg. I loved the tone, the way it shone gold in the sun. I had never seen anything like it in my life, and despite it being everything that I said I didn’t want, it was the one for me – like a fairytale moment. I complemented the dress with an antique gold toned veil and a burnished gold tiara. I wore Paradox of London peep-toe shoes, but I had these dyed the same blush colour to match the dress. On the day I also wore my grandmother’s topaz ring.
I carried a bouquet of cream astilbe and my bridesmaids carried a similar bouquet of pink astilbe. I wanted the flowers to look handpicked and not too structure. I used Forget Me Not Florists in Scarborough, and after listening to the image of what I wanted, they created the most amazing bouquets.
I also found my mint green adult bridesmaids dresses on eBay for a bargain price of £10 each from a boutique seller. They wore pastel pink heeled shoes from New Look and finished the look off with a cream floral garland and a cream corsage, both of which were purchased from Boyes Department Store’s bridal range in Scarborough.
The flower girls (five in total) wore dresses made by my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law. The fabrics and pattern were purchases from The Sewing Centre in Scarborough, and were adorned with the same flowers which were added to the bridesmaid dresses. Each dress was a different colour, so we had pale pink, coral, buttercup yellow, country green and a deep pink. Together the little ones looked so colourful.
On the day, I walked to the church from my parents as it was over the road. Stopping traffic was fun! To get from the church to Betton Farm, we hired an open-top bus from Shoreline Suncruisers to take us via Scarborough’s North and South Bay. It was such fun, we were all singing and laughing in the sunshine, with tourists on Scarborough beach cheering and applauding us and cars beeping their horns.
Our stunning wedding photographs were done by Photography34. Tony listened to exactly what I wanted and that was relaxed images. I didn’t want any traditional bride’s family and groom’s family pictures; I just wanted pictures capturing the magic of the day, which he did perfectly. I can see the happiness and emotion in the pictures, and that to me is priceless. I cannot thank Tony enough for the amazing memories he has given us of our day – such a talented photographer.
My favourite part of the day was defiantly the bus ride, as it was light hearted and fun. Spurred on by the glorious sunshine and the emotional high of the wedding, we were singing Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside and it was one of the groomsmen’s birthdays so we sang a rendition of happy birthday. It was quite literally a fun bus!
Decorations on the day included bunting in the marquee, which was provided by Betton Farm, who also arranged some vintage-style bits and pieces that I had collected over time. Forget Me Not dressed the tables using wine bottles and jam jars that I up-cycled at home beforehand using twine and antique lace. These were dotted around the tables with wild looking flowers and tea lights. I also hired birdcages from the florist and had these filled with gypsophila, burlap and wild flowers.
We hired a vintage style bike to use as an alternative to a central flower arrangement and the florist moved this up to the farm for the wedding reception.
I also used Celebrate Balloon Box in Scarborough for several selections of brightly coloured balloons to decorate the tables. They matched the theme perfectly and the colours really stood out in the marquee. Andrea Willis Designs, from Scarborough, was a huge help in making various signs which I used in and around the wedding venue. She also helped to make presents for the bridesmaids.
As we live by the seaside, and as I thought the colours would look amazing, I gave favours of Scarborough rock to my guests purchased from John Bull on the foreshore in Scarborough. I attached a manila luggage tag to each stick of rock which had different messages such as “All You Need Is Love” and “To Have And To Hold”. I tied the seaside theme in by hiring a ‘kiss me quick’ style vintage photo board, which was situated at the entrance of the reception venue. It created fun photo opportunities for everyone and kept the mood light.
My cake was from Bimbles Cake Emporium, Scarborough. I had a three-tier cake, with individual chocolate orange, strawberry sponge and chocolate cream tiers, which was decorated in country green icing. It featured an antique gold ribbon and lace and was topped with the same cream corsage which the bridesmaids wore.
Our afternoon tea was provided by Betton Farm, which is renowned in the local area for its amazing cakes and scones. We toasted the speeches with champagne for all the guests, which was provided as a gift from my father. In the evening, we had a hog roast from Glaves Butchers with all the trimmings.
We wanted a party, a pure and simple party, so we used Spectrum Discos, who was amazing and kept the dance floor full right up until the end of the night. I couldn’t have asked for a better night. He played songs from my playlist and seemed to time the mood right to get the guests up and dancing. Everyone had an amazing time.
Instead of a traditional wedding guest book being passed around all night, I used a battered leather suitcase which had a banner saying “love notes” across it and asked guests to write us a letter on paper and place it in the case. It was amazing to read these messages as they included poems, pictures and words of love. I have made a scrapbook of these and treasure it dearly.
Betton Farm is a beautiful, idyllic and unique setting for a wedding and I’m so happy we chose the venue, especially combined with the weather – it proved to be a spectacular setting. I would recommend the venue to other wedding couples.
We took a mini-moon to Rudding Park Hotel and Spa in Harrogate. We stayed in a Follifoot Suite and the hotel couldn’t have done more for us. We were treated to champagne on arrival and were given the best experience. The hotel is stunning, the food exquisite and the treatments were out of this world. We are planning on taking a honeymoon with our two daughters early in 2015.
My advice to other Brides Up North would simply be to be relaxed. Don’t stress and don’t be afraid to break from tradition. We tailored our day to fit exactly what we wanted and everything was perfect. Enjoy every moment, drink in every emotion, and most of all, have fun as it is the happiest day of your life. When I think if our wedding day, I still grin like a Cheshire cat.
All I wanted was to have fun on my wedding day, and boy, we certainly had that! It was so relaxed and laid back – I couldn’t have dreamt of more.
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September 11th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
There’s something about being by the seaside that causes a welcome state of relaxation.
Nicola and Eamonn chose the pretty seaside town of Scarborough for their laid-back big day which they were proud to show-off to their guests via an open-top bus ride and fabulous sea-front reception venue.
What I love about this wedding is that the bride and groom didn’t get swept up in wedding planning mania, but instead really thought about what they wanted and then executed it to perfection.
This fab real wedding oozes style and sophistication and is topped-off with a good glug of fun.
With photos by Photography34.
Nicola says: We got engaged on Christmas Day 2012 after being together for 11 years. Eamonn surprised me by dropping to one knee in front of our two little girls. It was very romantic as he had written a poem which incorporated all of the favourite places we have travelled to together.
We got married on Saturday 27th July 2013. We chose the 27th as it was Eamonn’s mother Helen’s birthday – she sadly passed in 2010.
Our wedding ceremony was at St Peters RC Church in Scarborough, our girls were baptised here so it was a natural choice. It’s a very beautiful building. I chose for my brother to walk me down the aisle. We celebrated afterwards at the Ambassador Hotel and Spa, which we chose because it’s such a lovely boutique hotel with fab views of Scarborough. The venue was perfect for our requirements. We would have no hesitation in recommending it to future brides and grooms. Kieran there listened to our every request and suggestion and together we made it all work to create our perfect day.
The one thing Eamonn and I discussed at length though at the start of the planning process was how we wanted the day to play out. We wanted everyone who shared the day with us to be there from the beginning until the end – it did limit us to the number of guests for the day (120) but everyone agreed that the day had a great flow to it. From the moment we were married we all travelled together to the reception (the long way around the Marine Drive at Scarborough so we could take in the stunning views on the open-top bus) and while everyone had their Meze starters outside the venue we snuck away with our photographer Tony for a quick photo shoot. We’ve all been to weddings where there is a pause in the day for photos and then another while the evening guests arrive and we didn’t want that. We chose to have the wedding a little later in the afternoon at 3pm which did put us on a tighter timescale than most weddings but we wanted the day to be one continual celebration with a natural flow and relaxed feel. As a result of the thought and planning that we put into the scheduling of the day it all played out really well and all of the guests thought that it had happened by chance.
There was no particular colour theme from the start – it all kind of just pulled itself together. Once we found the taupe bridesmaid dresses it cemented the spectrum of colours we used, from the invitation to the cake and the flowers.
I was quite nervous about shopping for my wedding dress. I was completely out of my comfort zone but with the help of my trusty bridesmaids and the ladies at The Wedding Room in Scarborough we picked out about seven dresses in all sorts of cuts and styles to work out what I might like. The first dress I tried was beautiful – big, full and very princess like (I thought this might be the type I would go for) but when I stepped out in it and looked in the mirror I was overwhelmed with the size of it! I cried and wanted to turn and run. But the ladies at the Wedding Rooms had obviously seen this before and whipped me straight back into the changing rooms to get out of it and encouraged me to try on something not so huge. Gypsy bride it wasn’t, but it just didn’t feel right for me. I tried a couple more on and they were all beautiful but I couldn’t pick between them. Then I tried on the fourth dress – it was a very detailed fishtail dress with lace, sequins, pearls and bugle beads by Justin Alexander. The moment it went over my head and I looked in the mirror I knew it was the one. I just loved the way I felt in it and when I walked out to show my bridesmaids I cried again – this time with happiness – their faces confirmed what I was feeling. It was so disappointing to put on my own clothes after wearing such a fabulous dress.
Eamonn wore a tailored suit from Mullen and Mullen in York. He chose a dark navy blue colour suit with a waistcoat. The suit jacket had a taupe colour lining to complement the bridesmaid dresses and he got our initials and the wedding date 27.07.13 stitched into the lining which was a lovely touch. I always thought Eamonn wore a suit well but have to say seeing him in a tailored suit made him look particularly dashing!
My flowers came from the very talented Kirsty Berridge from Minnie Bee’s Floral Design. I didn’t have a clue about flowers but I used my wedding board on Pinterest to show Kirsty what type of flowers and colours I liked. She was fabulous and brought lots of pictures of previous bouquets she had done to show me. She came up with my fabulous hand-tied bouquet of gypsophila, soft vintage pink hydrangea, dahlias, peonies and English grown roses in soft pinks, peaches and cream. We had two fabulous pedestal arrangements in the church and the tables at the reception venue again featured the same flowers, although we went for a much brighter tone of colours and displayed them in jam jars all supplied by Minnie Bee’s.
The bridesmaids all carried hand-tied bouquets of gypsophila and the flower girls carried small pomander balls of gypsophila and the groomsmen had button holes made of the same. Kirsty also supplied gypsophila on bits of wire to add to the bridesmaids’ and flower girls’ hair.
I had five bridesmaids and two flower girls (my daughters Stella and Grace), plus my mum and my brother to get from the hotel to the church so Ozzy the camper van from Scarborough Kombi Van Hire was the perfect solution. We had a lot of guests from out of town and abroad who we wanted to see the beauty of Scarborough while they were here, plus parking can be quite tricky around the church, so hiring an open top bus from Shoreline Suncruisers to take us all to the reception made perfect sense – and it was great fun!
Our photographer was our good friend Tony Wilson from Photography34 who has documented a number of our special days over the last couple of years, our daughters’ baptism being one of the first. Tony does such a great job of translating the feel of the day into pictures. We will be forever grateful for the precious moments that Tony has captured for us – we will always have them to look back on. He was also a guest at our wedding so he can definitely multitask.
The cake was provided by Gemma Flood at Cotton House Cakes. It was a four-tier chocolate fudge cake topped with Italian meringue butter cream. The colour graduated from light to dark – another spot on Pinterest.
For our wedding meal we decided that we didn’t want something that was going to be too gastro, even though Eamonn is a bit of a foodie. We went for a bit of a Greek theme with the food as we enjoy holidaying there and love the food. We chose to have a Greek meze as an informal starter which was served on arrival. We had these instead a formal starter as we didn’t want to be sat inside for a lengthy three-course meal. The Ambassador did a great job of serving these in a way that were easy to eat with fingers and stood up while relaxing outside. We decided to have the speeches before the main meal once everyone was seated indoors – this just seemed like a natural break to fit in the best man’s and groom’s speeches. We continued with the Greek theme for the main meal opting for a choice of beef stifado or vegetable moussaka. We kept the wedding cake as a dessert and then had a selection of cheeses that were brought to each of the tables so everyone could nibble throughout the evening.
We wanted a relaxed theme so didn’t go heavy on the entertainment. We did want some music for when we arrived at The Ambassador in the open-top bus and while we had the drinks reception and starters. We had discussed various live acts but Eamonn saw a young jazz band busking in town and booked them for the wedding! The Jelly Jolly Jazz Band fronted by a young musician called Laurence Marshall were just great, they played some really uplifting jazz which set everyone off on the right tone for the day. For the evening we opted for Spectrum Discos, who were great! We had a few particulars we wanted playing but were pretty relaxed with the play list. Our first dance was a Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrel classic You’re All I Need to Get By, which was just perfect!
To keep our young guests entertained, I ordered some small cardboard suitcases and filled them with colouring books and quiet toys. I also asked The Ambassador to add a small pack-up so the children could tuck in as soon as we sat down. They could then run around the dance floor after the speeches had taken place while the adults enjoyed their stifado!
We chose to have circular tables for everyone, so no top table – just to avoid any issues with who might feel they should be sat on it! We had paper pom poms, added by Alex Anderson from Homebird House, hanging from the ceiling above our table just to make it a focal point. They were also hung above the table for wedding cards which we decorated ourselves with an old suitcase, a beach towel, ball, bucket and spade.
Eamonn and I had told all of our guests that we didn’t expect any gifts as many people were already travelling great distances to attend the wedding but any gifts of money we did receive would be used on what we were calling a ‘familymoon’.
We couldn’t choose a favourite part of our wedding – we loved the whole day! We really thought about what we wanted and what was important for us and we made it happen. All of our guests really got that the day was a reflection of us and enjoyed it as much as we did!
Our top tip to other Brides Up North would be not to get sucked into everything that’s on offer. We had a very traditional church wedding but personally picked everything that went around that, including flipping around the proceedings of the day and for us that really worked. Everyone is different but it’s so easy to get pulled into ‘the perfect Pinterest wedding’ which can be daunting and crazy expensive. We decided that we wanted a simple wedding which was about Eamonn and I standing up in front of our loved ones and saying ‘this is us forever’ followed by great food and drink and a kick ass party!
July 17th, 2014 | Julia Braime
PJ and James’ Real Wedding is all about location, location, location. Engaged at the Tynemouth Lighthouse, what better place to return to tie the knot… along with their friends (of the four legged variety too!) and family?
One slap up Italian meal later and everyone’s happy!
With images by Little Miss Boyco.
PJ says: I had just about given up hope of James ever proposing to me when it happened very unexpectedly.
Being from Tynemouth, I moved to the Midlands when I was 6 years old and went to St Mary’s Lighthouse very often. It has always been my favourite place in the world. I have lots of fond memories of walking from Tynemouth to St Mary’s with my Poppa and going around the rocks with my brother Jonny.
James had heard a lot about the north east and had never been so I booked a little cottage in the village for a long weekend. I really wanted to show him all of the great places and things around Tynemouth that I remember and see them with adult eyes.
Before getting engaged we quite rarely went back up north and enjoyed the coast. We only really went for family gatherings so I wanted to spend time up there doing things I used to love.
Anyway, the top thing on my list of things to do was walk on the beaches from Tynemouth up Longsands all the way to the lighthouse like I used to with Pop’s. We had a fantastic walk and finally got to the lighthouse and I started retracing my childhood steps around those rocks.
James veered off towards the sea and we saw a seal, then James knelt down… I thought he was just trying to stop our dog Tinker from bothering the seal. But then he got on one knee and said ‘Me and Tinker have brought you here today to ask if you will be my wife?’. I was in shock. Then he produced a beautiful sapphire and diamond ring which I immediately recognised as being my Granny’s.
We had a cup of tea and got the bus back to Tynemouth. That night we took the metro to Newcastle where James had booked a nice restaurant… I’ve still got the metro ticket in my purse from 27th April 2013.
When we left the lighthouse having just had the proposal I asked a chap to take our photo together. He said yes but I’ll have to be quick as I’m getting married in a minute!
The seed was sown! James really wanted to get married in the lighthouse and kept on about it. I was reluctant because I worried about how difficult it would be to plan from 200 miles away but it didn’t turn out to be that hard.
We ended up having 3 venues for the day which was quite ambitious! But later the day of the proposal we saw a small wedding in the old Italian restaurant at Tynemouth Station and another seed was sown. After that we made contact with the station and found that Davanti (a popular restaurant in Tynemouth) were taking over the station restaurant. I got in touch with them and we originally wanted to have the reception out on the platform but decided against in case of bad weather.
We had to wait for the restaurant to be completely refurbished but were blown away with the results and booked the reception straight away. The Manageress Helen was absolutely brilliant, she had so many good ideas and spoiled us rotten on the day. The restaurant is called Davanti Classico.
The evening reception was an easy choice at The Grand Hotel in Tynemouth, which was where most of the guests stayed too. My parents had their wedding reception there in the 70’s so it was another sentimental choice.
Because the wedding was away from home we turned it into a bit of a wedding week. We travelled up on Tuesday and were joined by a host of our guests on that day and the other days leading up to the day. The idea stemmed from James wanting to play golf at Tynemouth Golf Club, where my dad played for most of his life and was Captain. James wanted to beat my dad on his home turf. How rude!
The day after the wedding we all went to the beach with the dogs and the lads played boules and drank beer and the girls drank champagne. We went out for another meal that night and stayed up for the first World Cup match, England v Italy. On Sunday it was Fathers Day so we had breakfast together then played crazy golf before we headed off to our ferry.
I arranged afternoon tea at the Grand Hotel for all my girlfriends the day before the wedding, there were about 30 of us in total!
James has blue eyes so we went with blue for our colour scheme. No particular shade as we wanted everything to be really relaxed and informal. The stationery was blue with a bit of a nautical, travel style.
I had a make up artist Laura Gemmell come to do my make up, the bridesmaids and Mum’s. She was absolutely brilliant, everyone loved their make up… one of my friends said I should do my make up like that everyday, if only she knew how long it took to put on! It was a nice treat for everyone though.
We all had our hair done at Headlines Hairdressers in Tynemouth. They were brilliant too, managing to squeeze everyone in.
James bought me a very unexpected but beautiful wedding present which I received on the morning of the wedding, it was a sapphire and diamond necklace to match my ring. I wore it round my wrist on the day but have worn it around my neck ever since.
I bought James a stainless steel shovel which according to him was the only thing he could have wanted.
I tried on hundreds of dresses before I found ‘the one’. I knew from the start that I didn’t want anything too big, so I was looking for a sleek dress.
I found a new designer called Lillian West and one of her dresses looked exactly what I was looking for. I tracked down a stockist near Kidderminster (not exactly close to home either) La Couture Bridal Boutique. They had a designer weekend so I went to try it on but my eye caught another gown in the window and that was the one. Karen and Millie at the shop were so helpful. I wish I could do it all again.
James is a builder so doesn’t dress up often. In fact is scruffiness is part of the attraction. You can’t beat a buff guy in shorts and a tool belt!
Anyway, he wore his own navy M&S suit, bought for a friends wedding last year… so you could say it was vintage! He wore his own shoes and shirt but forgot his tie… fortunately his mum knows him so well that she brought a spare with her so he wore that!
The bridesmaids were tricky because we found that one of them, James’ little sister Vicky was pregnant and that the baby would be about two weeks old for the wedding. We had to choose something which she could wear and was flexible to her size.
We chose some slinky multi-way dresses from Marks & Spencer which were really good value (£55) and looked fantastic. We found some matching shoes by Debut at Debenhams in the sale. I had to go to about five stores to track stock down in the right sizes!
The groomsmen all wore their own suits but were asked to wear a blue tie and they all had matching button holes.
Our dog Tinker was ring bearer in the ceremony. Tink goes to work with James every day so they are best buddies, as soon as we realised we could have Tink with us all day (until the evening reception) we didn’t think twice. When we were at Davanti he just sat on the terrace outside the door and got lots of scraps of pork and crackling!
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