October 8th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Today’s real wedding feature comes a little later than planned. I’ve been in London attending the Cosmopolitan Wedding Blog Awards alongside fellow leaders in our industry, and travelling back Up North today, East Coast Wifi’s upload speed just ain’t up to scratch for blog business.
This little corner of the internet was proud to be nominated for Best Wedding Blog in last night’s ceremony, and whilst we didn’t take the gong – robbed! – it was great to be recognised for our hard work, and celebrate it in a whirl of Cosmos (what else?), glitter and cupcakes.
A huge thank you to all our readers and supporters who voted for us.
It’s straight back into the pretty here on these pages this evening, as we join reader Vivienne and her new husband Dave for their lovely day at the gorgeously vintage Victoria Baths in Manchester.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor James Tracey Photography.
Vivienne says: I was 8 months pregnant and Dave surprised me with a mini break to Loch Lomond. The proposal came as a total surprise as we had been together for 9 years so had given up dropping hints…. he was very romantic though, we walked to a private beach where he got down on one knee.
We were married on Saturday 12th April 2014. We chose this date because, being a teacher, I needed to fit it in with school holidays. I also love that time of year as it’s when all the fresh flowers start to bloom and sunshine comes out after winter.
We only looked at a few venues, and when we walked into the Victoria Baths, we knew straight away that it was the venue for us. We wanted a venue we could put our own stamp on and make all our own decisions on the details of our day.
We had a vintage fete theme, mostly because we could make all our own decorations and I felt that the colours would suit an April wedding. We tried to use the colours blue and green in order to complement the colours of our venue. However, we really weren’t too prescriptive as I didn’t want to be dashing round shops colour matching in the run up to our day.
We used my grandma’s old table cloths to decorate tables such as where we signed the register. Looking back at photos, they are even more special because of these personal touches.
We used Hipswing Entertainments to hire our beautiful lanterns over the dance floor. They were fantastic and really special when it got darker for our first dance.
As little girls, myself and my sister got bridesmaid dresses from a shop in Edinburgh called Pretty Women. Since that day we have said we will get our own wedding dresses from there and every time we visit family in Edinburgh look forward to seeing what’s new in the window.
I absolutely love Audrey Hepburn and felt inspired by the wedding dress she wears in Funny Face. After trying on a range of dresses, I knew it was the one for me as couldn’t resist spinning round and watching the skirt float round!7
Dave wore a navy 3 piece suit from a brand called Tiger of Sweden.
Our photographer was James Tracey, we saw his photo’s of another wedding at our venue and loved them. We loved how he incorporated the venue into his photographs and caught every emotion during the day.
I would definitely recommend him, in fact a lot of our wedding guests asked if he was a friend we had used as he is so personable and easy to get on with!
As the venue we used was so big, we ordered our flowers directly from a wholesaler. We used Triangle Nursery, I told them the theme of our wedding and they suggested suitable options for us. We then filled paper covered tin cans for the tables and to decorate the venue.
I intended to use the flowers we ordered for my bouquet, however a couple I days before the wedding I walked into Marks and and Spencer and saw the most beautiful bunch of pink tulips. With help from my mum we used these with some gypsophila to create my bouquet.
We had quite strong ideas about the foods we wanted, so chose Thyme Out Deli, Didsbury to do our catering. They took our ideas and made the most delicious foods for us.
We spent weekends cleaning slate so that we could serve local cheeses and ham as a ploughman’s starter board to share. For main we had steak and Manchester ale pie, Thyme Out even painstakingly cut out our initials to put on the top of every pie. We spent further weekends scouring charity shops and making our own vintage cake stands to serve our desserts of macaroons, lemon tarts and brownies on.
My kind and talented friend Hannah Bayliss made our cake. I told her I wanted it to be sage green and was using vintage lace in the wedding, she created the most perfect cake for us!
Our wedding was the weekend before Easter so we gave Lindt bunnies as favours.
My best friend Joanna Łabiak did my make up on the day. I was so pleased to have her with me during an anxious morning and loved the pretty colours of the make up she used on me. Once my make up was complete, Joanna also dashed to our venue to set up and play”Blowers daughter” by Damien Rice on the piano while I walked down the aisle. This is the song we both remember when we first met and it’s been special to us ever since.
We chose a Sheffield band called The Bootleggers, one of our friends had seen them at a wedding and said they were brilliant and everyone was up on the dance floor. They definitely didn’t disappoint!
Walking back down the aisle with our daughter Ava was definitely my favourite part of the day.
Our guests kindly contributed to our honeymoon in Las Vegas. When looking for a honeymoon destination, we realised that this would be the last opportunity for a child free holiday so felt Las Vegas was perfect! We had an amazing week, some days spent simply lying by the pool, recuperating from all the wedding chaos!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be don’t become too fixated on thing such as colour schemes. Go with what you like and it will all come together on the day and be personal to you. Make sure you use family and friends to help out too as this will make the day even more special.
June 13th, 2014 | Julia Braime
When Brides Up North reader Stef first contacted me asking if I’d like to share her Real Wedding memories, she made it clear that she was extremely proud to have planned her big day whilst sticking to quite a narrow budget (in comparison to the “average” spend), and very much wanted to show other Brides Up North that you can have the day of your dreams without getting yourself into debt.
It might mean that there aren’t any “getting ready” shots or images of Stef and Rich’s wedding breakfast to share today (they had mates ready with a camera for those bits instead) but it did mean that they start their lives together money-worry free. An excellent trade off, in my opinion. They don’t seem particularly put out by the lack of all those “details” that we are conditioned to think should make up a good wedding either.
C’mon, I’m a wedding blogger – it goes without saying that I love a huge blowout bash – but I like a refreshing (and savvy) approach too. Don’t be afraid to work out a budget for your big day and then – here’s the clever part – stick to it. If there’s money in the pot and you want to, go large (and send me the photos!), but if you’d rather save a few pennies for rainier days, that’s fine too.
Kudos to you Stef, your wedding looks like it was awesome.
With images by Emilia Smith.
Stef says: We got engaged on holiday in Bulgaria. We went on holiday with a group of friends, their children and my step daughter. Rich said he wanted to take me out for a meal on our own.
Next thing I know a horse and carriage pulls up. I knew instantly what he was up to. I was so nervous… but very happy. He asked me on the carriage. We didn’t go for dinner as we decided to go back to the hotel, buy champagne and celebrate with our friends and later we all went for a wonderful meal on the beach.
The ring was perfect! So different and so perfectly me.
Our wedding date was 29th March 2014. I ran York marathon in October 2013 and after the marathon we walked round York and saw York Registry Office. We went in and had a look. We both instantly knew that was where we wanted our small ceremony to be. We paid the deposit without a second thought.
We picked vintage blues and pinks and went for a tea party style. I love pink and we like to coordinate outfits a lot (yawn!) so we naturally went for pink and blue.
I wanted a tea length 50’s style dress. I found it at Deborah Moore Bridal and it was by Pronovias. I was originally going to get a high street dress or a bridesmaid dress as our budget was so small but I went with my best friend to try on dresses and saw “my dress”. It was in the sale at more than half price but it was a full length gown. We played around with some pins and I decided to buy it and alter it. I was so delighted with it and it is still hanging over my bed! It fits with my style perfectly… it’s different but still elegant and very “weddingy”.
My husband got his suit from the internet. It was extremely cheap but we ordered it and had it altered. He wore all blue with a blue dickie bow and his favourite blue suede brogues.
As we were on a strict budget we asked all our guests to wear what they wanted and informed them of the colour scheme and theme of the wedding. Our friends and family know us well and all followed our wishes.
I had my beautiful step daughter as my flower girl. We got her (unworn) dress from a second hand bridal shop called Bridal Reloved in Beverley. She wanted a dress similar to mine and we wore matching shoes that we won on an auction site and I bought pink near shoe clips to jazz them up.
My photographer was a friend of a friend. Her name is Emilia smith (freelance). She was brilliant and we had such a wonderful experience with her
I wanted silk flowers mainly to keep them forever but also as they cost much much less. I found a lady who makes bouquets on Etsy and I emailed asking for a custom order. I sent her pictures of our shoes and general theme and ordered two bouquets, a hair clip, and a button hole for my husband.
I made button holes for the guests from wool and pipe cleaners. I was super pleased with how it all turned out. The registry office had flowers of their own and we didn’t feel the need to have any more.
My mum made wooden spoons with bells and ribbons on… this was for the guests to shake and wave when we came out of the ceremony room. They were a fun and quirky idea and the kids loved them.
We opted for a champagne afternoon tea at the Grange Hotel, York.
I was very informal, with no seating plan. We arranged sofas and comfy chairs so people could sit with who they wished and it was very relaxed.
For our evening shindig we served curry and cake. We had such a wonderful peaceful day – we wanted our night party to be a good knees up and it was!
The best part of the day for me was having the photographs in the city with just me and my husband.
We got a lot of attention and it was so much fun. We wanted the photos to be fun and capture our personalities and we wanted them to be natural. The weather was fantastic and it was such a wonderful buzz. We were on cloud nine!
We went to Tunisia for our honeymoon. Again we were on a budget and we shopped around. We did lots of activities like wine tasting, camel riding and had a spa day. It was a lovely hotel and as it was “out of season” the value for money was unbelievable… ultimately all that mattered to us was a bit of sun and seven days to be together. Everything else was a bonus.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to do what you want and don’t do things because they are expected. We feel that people spend a lot of money on things that are forgotten. We had a budget of £3000 and that had to include the honeymoon. We had a wonderful experience and we are now married and we don’t have any debts to pay. Don’t be afraid to ask friends for favours… we did and it was the best move we made, and also included them in our day.
Congratulations Stef & Rich!
Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Emilia Smith
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March 13th, 2014 | Julia Braime
This afternoon I’m proud to welcome designers Rachel and Issy of Hazaar of London to our pages. The duo design adaptable bridal gowns that can take a bride from day to evening without the need for a second dress. Clever and beautiful.
Please introduce Hazaar of London and tell us a little about your brand?
The idea of Hazaar of London began to form when we met at the London College of Fashion while studying Costume design for the performing arts.
The concept of designing adaptable bridal gowns came from seeing our friends feeling frustrated with their long gowns by the evening, and having to change out of their perfect wedding dress and into a different, shorter dress so they could enjoy the rest of their day unrestricted. We felt that brides should be able to stay in their dream dress for as long as possible on their wedding day so we designed gowns around that concept.
What is your style philosophy?
Our background is in historical costume design and dress making and we are continuously influenced by classic style icons and designers – some of our absolute favourites being the classic elegance of 50s Dior and icons Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn. This means that our design style naturally includes elements of vintage styling, but with a modern take on what bridal wear means to brides today.
Tell us about the collection by Hazaar of London? What were your inspirations behind this beautiful collection?
Our Rose Blush collection is a combination of classic design and delicate detailing, with a touch of rose blush tones, creating an exciting blend of warmth and detail.
The new collection of adaptable gowns has evolved to offer our brides the chance to find their perfect wedding day look, by choosing a fusion of their favourite pieces to create their own style.
Where do you look for inspiration?
We find inspiration in the most unlikely of places. We never stop designing and are always talking about new ideas and plans for future collections.
What sort of woman do you design for, did you have a specific “muse” for this collection?
We design for brides who are looking for something classically beautiful with a modern twist that not only allows them the freedom to enjoy the evening celebrations, but holds a surprise for their guests and groom! We always love to hear stories from our brides about their wedding guests’ excited reactions to their change of look.
Our ‘muse’ and inspiration for this collection was classic English beauty, which is why we chose our beautiful ‘English Rose’ model for the Rose Blush shoot.
What fabrics and embellishments were chosen for the new collection and why?
We chose flowing duchess satins and soft blush chiffons, with overlays of delicate lace and pretty beaded detail to create the pretty and feminine designs of our new Rose Blush collection. Fabric choice is very important to us and we take care to choose fabrics that will create perfect movement and structure.
Do you have a personal favourite from the new collection? Which piece and why?
We find it hard to choose favourites as we only design gowns that we really love and talk about them as if they were people! However, Rachel is planning her wedding for 2014 and is currently besotted with our fusion of the short lace Violet dress with our duchess satin Ruby skirt.
What jewellery would you pair with pieces from your new collection? Why?
We are drawn towards vintage jewellery and accessories and have seen some beautiful jewelled head pieces and earrings that would work well with any of our gowns. However, accessory styling is very personal to each bride and we encourage our brides to express their individual style in every way.
How do you decide on the “names” for your gowns?
The names for our gowns come from the inspiration behind each collection. We named the gowns in our first ‘Grace’ collection after the names of women from Shakespearean plays. This was partly to do with our theatrical background and was a nod to historical design and British heritage. When designing the Rose Blush collection, we were inspired by natural English beauty and classic styling so we named our gowns after pretty English names.
What sizes are available in your gowns? Are your pieces made to measure?
Our gowns are made to order and are available in sizes 8-18.
What is the process for your clients from finding “the one” to the final fitting?
We carefully choose our stockists and are fortunate to work with some fantastic boutiques who offer a very attentive and personal service. Once a bride finds her perfect gown, it is hand made to order and personally checked and finished by us before being sent to our stockist for fittings.
What is the retail price range for your designs?
Our gowns range from £1,500 – £2,345.
What sets Hazaar of London apart from other bridal wear brands?
The adaptability of our gowns enables brides to be playful, change their look on the day and even create their perfect gown by choosing their favourite pieces. Hazaar brides can walk down the aisle looking classically beautiful and go on to enjoy their wedding reception looking equally perfect but ready for the celebration.
How did you get into wedding dress design – what is your story?
Wedding dress design was a natural progression for us. Throughout our costume degree and into our careers in the costume industry, we found we most enjoyed working with and designing exquisite women’s wear, ball gowns and evening wear.
We love bridal design and we believe that a wedding dress is more than just a dress. The perfect dress complements a brides’ personality and makes them feel unique and utterly beautiful on their special day, and we love being a part of that.
Is this your dream career?
We love bridal and everything wedding related. We both previously worked in costume in the theatre, film and music industry which we did enjoy, but bridal is what we are truly passionate about.
What would “a day in the life” at Hazaar of London HQ be like?
A day at Hazaar of London is never the same! Typically we will start the day by answering emails and checking up on orders. We then decide on the rest of the day depending on what we are working towards. Earlier this year it was all about the White Gallery and now we are working on our plans for the National Wedding Show at Earl’s Court in September. We’re really excited as it’s our first major retail show and we can’t wait to meet lots of brides and showcase our unique collection of adaptable gowns.
Where do you go and what do you do to relax?
We head to the spa at any opportunity and have been known to hold meetings in the sauna! However, when we aren’t on Hazaar duty, we tend to either spend time with the men in our lives or meet up with our friends. We also attend ballet classes (we both love ballet and danced a lot when we were younger) and we have just started doing pilates.
How can Brides Up North readers get in touch with you/ see more of your designs?
Do you have any Northern stockists – how can Brides Up North find them?
We are currently searching for the perfect Northern stockists for our brand. There are lots of fantastic boutiques who we would love to work with, so will hopefully be available soon! Currently, our nearest stockist is the beautiful Anais Bridal Couture in Glasgow.
Is there anything else that we should know?
All of our gowns are hand made to order in the EU and we personally choose and check every detail of each gown. Each design is adaptable but can be made as a single gown, and although our Rose Blush collection has been designed using soft pink tones, we are happy for brides to order in ivory. We like to think that our collection is playful and offers brides the chance to customise their gown to create their perfect wedding day look – without paying bespoke prices!
This is not a sponsored post
March 6th, 2014 | Julia Braime
So here’s an interesting thing. These images of Charlotte and Pete’s cute and funky city centre wedding feature almost no “detail” (in the traditional sense… centrepieces, stationery, favours) at all. But I’d bet that you’re still feeling inspired?!
So where’s the wedding inspiration at? Right there. In the “feeling” of it all. In their cool style choices, their city centre location, their hugely fun looking friends and family, their beaming smiles and their made-for-each-other kisses. Their wedding was their wedding, no question about it.
Have fun, be yourselves and be inspired to plan your wedding your way. If it’s even half as cool as Charlotte and Pete’s day, you’re doing alright.
With images by Lucie & Bruce.
Charlotte says: We got engaged in June 2011 in our kitchen! Pete put the ring in a Krispy Kreme donut! We were married on 8th June 2013 at Manchester Registry Office.
We wanted a city centre wedding rather than a country house and chose a black and red colour scheme.
The girls stayed in Malmaison Manchester the night before and we all walked down to M.A.C at House Of Fraser in the morning for our make up – they got to keep the make up they liked as a gift from me.
My hair was by Hayley Staniland.
Once we were ready we hopped in a black cab to the registry office.
My favourite part of the day was walking into the registry office to a string version of Coldplay’s Paradise, and seeing Pete choking up when he saw me.
Following the wedding we all went for a meal at Grill On The Alley.
Our cake was a stack of Krispy Kreme doughnuts and after dinner we had a disco night at Malmaison with a photobooth from Bloom Pics – we made our own entertainment!
My dad’s speeches were really special. He read an email from my brother in Oz who couldn’t be there. I think everyone shed a tear at that!
For our honeymoon, we went to Tavira in Portugal in a beautiful villa with the kids and my parents. They helped so much with the kids and we got to have a few luxury days to ourselves. Our bridesmaids and groomsmen also bought us a night in a stunning hotel. Very nice!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to relax! Nobody notices the tiny details. The people you invite make your wedding.
Congratulations Charlotte & Pete!
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November 5th, 2013 | Julia Braime
This afternoon we are fusing country wedding pretty with city glamour as we join Lucy and Darren for their gorgeous Leeds City Centre Real Wedding. After a major setback (read on) which derailed Lucy’s original plans, this beautiful bride came back fighting to create a celebration that was even better than she’d imagined.
With images by Lissa Alexandra Photography.
Lucy says: We got engaged on 29th February 2012 – it was the leap year so I took the opportunity to propose to him!
I proposed at home, he came home from work to a candlelit bath, the table was set with candles, I had prepared a three course home cooked meal – I bought his wedding ring, put it in his desert bowl & popped the question!
We got married on 29th June 2013 at Leeds Town Hall then the Malmaison Hotel.
We originally booked Anthony’s Piazza Restaurant in the Corn Exchange, but on Friday 21st June (one week before the wedding) they sent me an email to say they were closing the business & could no longer do our ‘event’! So, in a mad panic a very distressed bride to be went in to the Malmaison Hotel in Leeds who said very calmly not to panic and they would sort everything out for me! They took a copy of the menu that Anthony’s were going to produce for us and copied it. They upgraded me to the Suite and the staff were so helpful, I didn’t feel like my wedding collapsed the week before. The wedding ended up being 100% better than what was originally booked.
The wedding had an English rose, vintage, romantic feel with a lilac colour base.
I carried a big bouquet of Peony, Sweet Pea, Hydrangea, Stocks and freesia – I wanted the wild flower look.
We kept it simple at the venue and used lots of candles and low lighting to create a romantic setting.
We bought everyone a Lotto ticket for a favour, held in a brown card holder with a Good Luck verse, tied with brown string and dotted vintage disposable cameras around the tables for our guests to take some snaps.
Our cutting cake was Victoria Sponge and we also had cupcakes in Cherry Bakewell, Lemon Meringue & Chocolate.
My favourite part of the day was seeing all the evening guests arrive & dancing to the band, twirling to the music in my wedding dress!
After the wedding we honeymooned at Loch Long in Scotland. We rented a cottage overlooking the Loch.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to relax & enjoy the day as it goes too quickly!
Congratulations Lucy & Darren!
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