Charlotte Balbier

groovy kind of love. a nod to the 1950s for a wedding at the crab & lobster – sara & chris

November 18th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A 1950s Inspired Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Mandy Charlton (8)

Today’s wedding is a real family affair with the couple’s son and daughter almost stealing their mum and dad’s limelight entirely – talk about cute!

But beyond the page boy and flower girl there is much more sweetness to be found in Sara and Chris’ big day.

With images by Mandy Charlton.

A 1950s Inspired Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Mandy Charlton (21)

sara says: We got engaged in July 2010, three months after the birth of our first child – Eoin. There was no romantic proposal as such, I think we both just came to the natural conclusion that since we’d already made the big commitment of raising a mini human together, marriage was the natural next step to make our family ‘official’.

We got married on 10th September 2015. I wanted to get married sooner but life (including buying a house, graduating from university and having another baby) kind of got in the way! We chose September because it’s my favourite time of year, and usually the weather is pretty good (and it really was!)

A 1950s Inspired Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Mandy Charlton (34)

We got married at our local church, St. Peters. My dad is buried there and I was also christened there so it holds a lot of sentimental value. It’s a lovely little church. Our reception was held at The Crab & Lobster in Thirsk. It was the second venue I looked at, and I knew it was perfect the minute I saw the diver’s suit hanging from the ceiling! It’s very quirky and intimate, with beautiful gardens, without feeling pretentious. John, the wedding planner, was also so welcoming and lovely with our children; it felt like it was a home from home.

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made with love. a pretty homemade wedding at saltmarshe hall – jennifer & robert

October 26th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Pretty Homemade Wedding at Saltmarshe Hall (c) Sarah Beth Photography (43)

It might be Monday morning but today we’re sharing with you Jennifer and Robert’s stunning Yorkshire wedding, brimming with so much prettiness, that it’s bound to turn any frown upside-down.

Talented bride Jennifer, assisted by her uber helpful mum, crafted all the gorgeous decorations and the beautiful flower arrangements themselves to create a homemade wedding that is elegant through and through. Huge kudos ladies!

With images by Sarah Beth Photography.

A Pretty Homemade Wedding at Saltmarshe Hall (c) Sarah Beth Photography (3)

jennifer says: We got engaged on Christmas Day in 2008.  We were at home opening our presents and Rob handed me a little present and when I opened it there was my ring and he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was so surprised and so happy. It was extra special as we were expecting our baby in the January.

A Pretty Homemade Wedding at Saltmarshe Hall (c) Sarah Beth Photography (7)

Our wedding date was Friday 24 July 2015. We chose this date as we wanted a summer wedding and we had to fit in with the school holidays as Rob is a teacher and our daughter Isabelle is at school.  Also we wanted to go on our honeymoon soon after the wedding so this date worked perfectly.

We had our whole wedding at Saltmarshe Hall, near Howden, Yorkshire. Rob goes road biking and he found the hall when he was biking in the area.  We went to see the hall soon after and we knew it was just what we were looking for. We chose the venue as the hall itself is beautiful inside and out and the surrounding gardens are lovely and very picturesque.

A Pretty Homemade Wedding at Saltmarshe Hall (c) Sarah Beth Photography (9)

We did not have a theme as such, I just wanted a homemade feel to everything and something that was simple but classic which made it possible for me and my mum to do all the decorations ourselves for the whole wedding.

The colours I decided on were pinks, greens, nudes and ivories because I wanted to go for natural pastel colours which were summery and went with our homemade theme.

A Pretty Homemade Wedding at Saltmarshe Hall (c) Sarah Beth Photography (15)

I chose a ball gown style dress by Jasmine which had a heavy laced bodice and a tulle skirt. I had a drop veil with lace around the edges which went perfect with my dress bodice. I got my dress and my veil from The Wedding Collection in Beverley.  I always wanted a simple and elegant dress and when I saw my dress in the shop I knew it was ‘the one’.

Vicci my bridesmaid did my make-up and Zoe of Toni & Guy did mine and my bridesmaids’ hair, which all looked beautiful on the day.

A Pretty Homemade Wedding at Saltmarshe Hall (c) Sarah Beth Photography (11)

Rob wore a dark blue three piece suit from Slaters with a tailored white shirt with a pink and blue striped tie which fitted in with the colour scheme. He also wore brown shoes from Slaters which went well with his suit.

I had four bridesmaids, our daughter Isabelle who was ‘chief’ and three older bridesmaids: Lizzie, Vicci and Jane. Isabelle wore an ivory dress with a ruffled top and tulle skirt. The older bridesmaids wore beautiful nude dresses from Little Mistress at House of Fraser. All of the dresses had high necklines which were similar to mine. I bought each of the girls a pearl bracelet to wear on the day as a thank you grift and they went perfectly with their dresses.

Rob’s best man, Chris, wore a matching dark blue suit and the rest of the groomsmen wore blue suits and brown shoes with matching ties.

A Pretty Homemade Wedding at Saltmarshe Hall (c) Sarah Beth Photography (26)

Sarah Beth Photography was our photographer. She had already done our pre-wedding pictures which were brilliant so we knew our wedding photos would be the same. Sarah is a very talented photographer who takes natural/relaxed photos which was just what we wanted. We would highly recommend Sarah as she is very friendly, easy to work with and put us at ease.

A Pretty Homemade Wedding at Saltmarshe Hall (c) Sarah Beth Photography (24)

For mine and Isabelle’s flowers my mum made us a hand tied bouquet of avalanche roses and gypsophila with hessian and ribbon around the stems. For the other bridesmaids she made hand tied bouquets of gypsophila, which also had hessian and ribbon around the stems. My mum ordered the flowers from a local wholesaler and put them together on the morning of the wedding.  She practiced the bouquets numerous times before the wedding so she knew exactly what she was doing.

We wanted to use natural petal confetti which we ordered online from Shropshire Petals. We filled cones with petals and put them in a pretty basket for Isabelle to hand out to all the ladies to throw.

For Rob and all the groomsmen I made buttonholes using gypsophila and entwined small pink beads to match the colours we used.

A Pretty Homemade Wedding at Saltmarshe Hall (c) Sarah Beth Photography (33)

As with everything for the wedding I wanted as much homemade as I could so I went for simple ideas and seasonal flowers and plants which I knew, with help from my mum, we could do ourselves.  All the flowers we used were sourced from wholesalers, various garden centres and all the greenery was from my mum’s friend’s garden.

For all the tables we used various sized glass vases, which we personalised by wrapping jute around and tied pretty ribbon bows which we then filled with avalanche and heavenly pink roses and gypsophila.  We also put mirrored plates under the lit hurricane vases for the centre pieces and had lots of glass tea light holders around the tables.

To decorate the hall we used potted hydrangeas and geraniums which when put in large unusual metal hanging baskets, wicker baskets and urns, creating large impressive arrangements in keeping with the hall.

The mantel arrangement on the entrance fire place was bunches of different greenery, hydrangeas and roses which we put together to look like a garland and, with the glass hurricane lanterns on either side, made it quite a feature.

A Pretty Homemade Wedding at Saltmarshe Hall (c) Sarah Beth Photography (38)

My mum made some wicker hearts well before the wedding and to some of them we wired dried hydrangeas and tied jute and ribbon bows on for the staircase. The rest we tied on fresh gypsophila for the chair ends at the ceremony.

As well has making our own arrangements I also made the napkin holders, which I wrapped pieces of hessian and pink ribbon around and tied a luggage tag with the guest’s name on. I made the table plan using a board with jute string attached at both sides and I hung cut-out squares of hessian (name list printed and stuck on) with pegs.

Finally, I decorated a sweet table for everyone to tuck into on the evening. I used a long trestle table and put all the sweets in jars. I put small pink potted flowers on the table and I made the ‘sweets’ banner by cutting out squares of hessian and then using a stencil and white paint to put the letters onto each piece of hessian.

A Pretty Homemade Wedding at Saltmarshe Hall (c) Sarah Beth Photography (40)

For favours, I filled kraft brown pillow boxes from Hobbycraft with Ferrero Rocher and tied raffia around finished off with a small pink artificial rose. These went down well after the wedding breakfast.

We decided not to go for a traditional wedding cake and instead had a vintage style stand with a Victoria sponge cake on the top tier and cupcakes on the bottom tiers. The cupcakes were vanilla, chocolate and lemon. I wanted it to be simple but pretty so the cake was plainly iced, with ribbon around the bottom and a simple rose on the top. The cupcakes were iced with little flowers/sprinkles on the top.  All this was done by Cupcake Carousel who we would definitely recommend as it all tasted delicious.

A Pretty Homemade Wedding at Saltmarshe Hall (c) Sarah Beth Photography (47)

We used Bon Appetit, located in Broughton, as our caterers who supplied a carvery for our wedding breakfast as we wanted something we enjoyed and loved having at home with our families. We followed this with a trio of desserts, which was lovely so we could all have a little of each. For the evening reception we had a fish and chip van (which was a big hit) and had the cupcakes as the dessert.

A Pretty Homemade Wedding at Saltmarshe Hall (c) Sarah Beth Photography (46)

For the entertainment on the evening we had a DJ, Andy and Jamie of Ace Disco Party Sounds, as we wanted a room where people could go and have a dance which everyone enjoyed. We used Ace Disco because we have already used them on a previous occasion and they were excellent and again at the wedding they did a brilliant job and the dancefloor was packed all night.

A Pretty Homemade Wedding at Saltmarshe Hall (c) Sarah Beth Photography (52)

We would highly recommend Saltmarshe Hall to other couples as it is a beautiful place and the grounds, which overlook the River Ouse, are amazing. Kate, who owns the hall, and Katie her wedding coordinator, could not have been more accommodating.  We met with Kate and Katie at the hall a number of times before so we could let them know how we wanted our day and they ran through everything with us. On the day they made sure the whole thing ran very smoothly and it went to plan perfectly. We hired the hall for the day and we were able to decorate it just how we wanted. There is also accommodation in the hall and cottages in the grounds for any guests which are wanting to stay over.

A Pretty Homemade Wedding at Saltmarshe Hall (c) Sarah Beth Photography (54)

The ceremony and the approach to the ceremony were my favourite parts of the day as it was so nice to walk down the stairs and through the hall and see all of our hard work put into place and then to walk down the aisle with my dad, daughter and bridesmaids seeing Rob at the end and all of our close family and friends there to celebrate our special day with us.

A Pretty Homemade Wedding at Saltmarshe Hall (c) Sarah Beth Photography (45)

On the Sunday after the wedding, we jetted off to Alcudia in Majorca. It was lovely and relaxing and a perfect way to finish off our wedding celebrations. We took our daughter with us so it was also a lovely family holiday.

It was great doing a lot of the wedding ourselves and made it all the more special on the day, but my top tip to other Brides Up North would be make sure you give yourselves plenty of time to find what you need and to practice beforehand to make sure you get it how you want it. It is worth every minute when you see the finished results!

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falling for autumn: shropshire petals reader discount

October 23rd, 2015 | Rachel Parry Guests throwing confetti from £11.50 per litre (3)

It’s easy to understand why brides and grooms-to-be fall for the autumn season when planning their big day.

Though the temperature drops, the romantic atmosphere increases with candle lit receptions and burnt orange backdrops, not to mention the comforting food options to create a warming wedding breakfast.

So as the leaves start to fall and the dark nights draw in, the experts at natural confetti company Shropshire Petals, are giving us inspiration on which glowing colour mixes work best for those planning an autumnal wedding whilst also pointing out the dos and don’ts of confetti.

And if that wasn’t enough, they’re also offering Brides Up North readers a fabulous 10% off orders over £65. Simply click here to get your exclusive discount code.

So let’s warm up some Pimms and talk pretty petals… Pinch of Plum with Damson Wine £13.50 per litre

shropshire petals say: Autumn is the season of rich, bold colours and including some of these hues on your wedding day can instantly add warmth and glamour to your celebrations.

To help make your day as colourful as the season, we’re sharing our autumnal confetti colour inspiration, which includes opulent oranges, deep purples and divine greens. Going beyond the traditional throwing of confetti, our natural petals can also be used to decorate venues and reception tables, as can our stunning wheat sheaves, which evoke that extra autumnal touch.

very berry

Berries are sure sign of autumn with their rich red and purple colours, making such tones an ideal choice for October and November weddings. Include a subtle hint of berry colours into your confetti with our Pinch of Plum mix. This is a delicate combination of Icing Sugar delphinium petals and Marjoram which creates a beautiful blend of ivory, green and purple. For a bolder splash of colour, some Damson Wine rose petals could be added.

earthy goodness

When you think of autumn, you think of trees changing from green to golden brown.  Include a mix of all of these colours to make your confetti mix really stand out. Opt for a combination of ivory delphinium petals with some stunning brown and gold sunflower petals.

coral reef

Warming red and orange tones can be seen all around at this time of year. To inject such colours into your big day pick a delicate mix of our Candyfloss and Icing Sugar options, which feature pastel pink and ivory with a bold splash of clementine rose petals.

the perfect blend

Pick and mix your confetti choosing an array of autumnal colours. We suggest ivory, orange, black and deep purple, which can be achieved using our Icing Sugar, Ginger Snap, Black Bird, Clementine and Aubergine mixes.

make it monochrome

Complement the darker days with black and ivory petals using our Tuxedo confetti mix. Those wanting to inject a little warmth can do so by adding our Golden Slumber rose petals or perhaps some smaller Honey’b petals. Country Garden Wheat Sheaf as bouquet£27.50 (2)

And to make sure your confetti falls to the ground smoothly, here’s our dos and don’ts of confetti…


  • Do check with your church/venue to see if they allow confetti. Most now stipulate that you can only use natural petal confetti, as it is 100% biodegradable and eco-friendly.
  • Do choose the right confetti. There are different colours and sizes of natural petal confetti. The best petals for throwing are small petals, such as delphiniums or wild flowers.
  • Do pick and mix your confetti. Choose from an array of colours and different petal types to create a mix totally unique for your wedding. Our pick and mix tool is perfect for choosing your preferred colours and seeing how they look together.
  • Do work out how much confetti you will need. Depending on the type of confetti moment and photograph you want, you will need to know how much confetti you will need. You can use the Shropshire Petals confetti calculator to help.
  • Do discuss with your photographer. If you want to capture the magical moment your guests shower you with confetti, make sure you plan your confetti shot with your photographer before the big day.


  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with confetti before the big day. Order some free samples and have a play to see what works for you.
  • Don’t forget that confetti isn’t just for throwing. Large and small petals look great when used as table decorations. Natural petals are perfect for creating a romantic petal path or to have for a cute flower girl to scatter down the aisle.
  • Don’t forget to delegate the giving out of confetti. Give a member of your bridal party the job of ensuring confetti is handed out to your guests at the right time for your confetti moment.
  • Don’t forget to order confetti. Many forget about confetti until it is too late, so to avoid disappointment place your order with a delayed delivery to get it ticked off your list. Tuxedo £11.50 per litre

Shropshire Petals produce 100% natural, biodegradable confetti in a variety of colours and petal types.  For more information and inspiration, visit

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vintage vision. augusta jones for a sweet village hall wedding in the north west – claire & matt

August 17th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (23)

Wow, where to start with today’s village hall wedding? It’s absolutely gorgeous, from the bride’s bargain wedding dress to the pretty afternoon tea reception, and all that’s in-between!

As they were footing the bill for the wedding themselves, Claire and Matt where careful to stick to their budget, looking for areas in which they could make savings but without cutting corners, whilst also calling in favours from family and friends along the way.

Their vintage vision came together perfectly and provides so much inspiration for couples wanting to follow in similar themed footsteps. So let’s take a closer look at the pretty…

With images by Andrew Keher Photography.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (7)

claire says: We got engaged on my 30th birthday in November 2013 while in Belfast. I was born in Northern Ireland and my family still live there so Matt wanted to take me home to get engaged. Matt managed to plan the whole thing and keep it a secret – I had no idea! Throughout the day we arrived Matt was secretly recording little videos and pictures and sent them to an email account he set up for me. He later told me he had the ring with him all day but couldn’t find the right moment to ask the big question. He decided to ask me on my birthday so when I woke up he showed me the email account and got me to read all the messages he’d sent through. When I got to the final one he was down on one knee and before I knew it had asked me to marry him. We were both in tears at this point – it was perfect! Plus he chose ‘the ring’ I’d seen – a vintage 1920s engagement ring that was in a local jewellers, Mr Allan’s. Every time we went past we would look at it but then one day I noticed it had been sold – I was sad until I realised he’d saved up and bought it for me!

We set the date for 6th June 2015. We’d been together for nine years on the 4th June 2015 so this was the closest date we could get to that.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (1)

We got married at our church, St Oswald and St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic Church in Ashton-in-Makerfield. We both went to the high school there and some of Matt’s relatives are buried in the church grounds so it has a special connection for us. It’s a beautiful church – the photos from Andy really show off the church at its best. We chose Dunham Massey Village Hall for our reception as we love the area and the nearby National Trust Park. We also loved that it gave us the freedom to do what we wanted with the space. The price was so reasonable it was perfect for us as we were paying for the whole wedding ourselves.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (5)

We went with a vintage theme but it wasn’t really a conscious thing – we just love everything vintage! We were really keen on having afternoon tea which lends itself to the vintage theme really well.

We didn’t really have a set colour scheme. The colour came from the flowers – when we met Clare from The Flower Farm we decided on seasonal flowers with pinks, purples and blues to add some colour to the venue.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (11)

I was set on a dress in a vintage style. I knew I wanted lace and tried on a few styles before I found ‘the one’! I tried Ali by Augusta Jones in a local bridal shop and knew instantly it was the one but it was way out of my budget – £2,000! I tried to find something similar on the high street but couldn’t get this dress out of my mind. In the end I found it for sale for £600 on eBay and arranged with the seller to go and try it on. I would recommend that anyone buying second hand does the same and be 100% sure you’re happy with it before you hand over any money.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (16)

To go with the dress, I wanted some shoes that were special so I knew I’d find something from Rachel Simpson. The Gardenia style in powder blue were just what I wanted and were so comfortable to wear – I kept them on all day. I kept my accessories really simple with a pair of drop pearl earrings from Marks & Spencer and my engagement ring.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (18)

Matt was keen to wear something a little different and special for the big day. After a ‘few’ shopping trips he eventually found his suit in Reiss – the Claymore. After that nothing compared so it had to be that one. He paired this with a slim fit shirt from TM Lewin, navy bow tie from Red Herring, navy braces from Next and tan brogues from Autograph at Marks & Spencer. Matt’s best man wore a navy suit and shirt from Next.

My bridesmaids wore a dress from Debut at Debenhams – it fitted both of them perfectly and was a great find! The silver shrug was from Monsoon.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (24)

We booked a vintage double decker bus from Belle Vue Coaches in Stockport as our transport. I travelled with my bridesmaids and mum to the church in the bus and then we travelled down to the venue after the wedding. Alan the bus driver was a legend – he managed to navigate the small country roads to get us all there in one piece.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (37)

Andrew Keher was our photographer and I would 100% recommend him! Andy was amazing on the day and was fab throughout the whole process of booking and our engagement shoot. Andy does natural really well, we didn’t want to have lots of group shots but wanted to remember those little moments throughout the day. That’s what Andy does so well and after the wedding he posted little sneak peeks to Facebook which kept us going until we received our wooden box in the post. He puts so much thought into what he does and really cares about the whole experience for the couples he works with. Just amazing – money well spent!

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (28)

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (39)

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (32)

On the wedding day I carried a bouquet of wild flowers from The Flower Farm. It was beautiful, smelled amazing and Clare put some peonies in there too, which are my favourite flowers!

To decorate, we bought three buckets of wild flowers from Clare. We had jam jars on the tables so this allowed us to create a rustic feel to the arrangements. Clare also made the bridesmaids bouquets, some flower hair clips and all of the buttonholes. We also bought 100 stems of gypsophila, which we suspended from the ceiling.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (42)

Our venue dresser Harri Bradburn came up with some lovely ideas for the venue which included a little area for our guests where they could take a picture using an Instax camera or write us a message using the typewriter. On the tables she put some advice cards for our guests to give us advice for a happy marriage. There were some interesting ones! Harri spent so much time on the little details that really made the difference on the day.

The room just looked stunning! We had lots of bunting, lace panels with fairy lights and lots of jam jars! Our friends were very generous and we borrowed some beautiful pieces to use in the venue. My friend Kath loaned us the tea trolley that the cake sat on and the stepladders that were adorned with flowers on the stage. At my hen do my friends gave me some little trinkets that we used to dress the venue on the day. My bridesmaids both had some keepsakes made for us so we used those as well. It was lovely to include those little personal touches.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (40)

For our wedding cake we wanted Victoria sponge (as we both love it) and we were really keen on having tiered naked cake. We met with Annalise from One Sweet Day who immediately understood what we wanted. It was even better that I expected and the bunting was a gorgeous finishing touch. It was delicious too!

We knew early on that we wanted afternoon tea for our wedding meal – we’ve become a bit obsessed! My friend Wendy (from work) and Anne were the perfect choice as this is their forte! They also provided all of the vintage china that our guests used. We met with them a few times to decide what we were going to have – the lemon drizzle cake is their speciality and went down a treat on the day!  We also love pizza so early in the planning process we found a few companies that have pizza vans. We knew we had to have one so we contacted Honest Crust who were so lovely and provided us with the best pizza’s we’ve had. The salads were also delicious and went down well. We bought the wine from Majestic Wines and went with a Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinot Blush. Matt was in charge of beer and contacted Dunham Massey Brewery to order a keg of their Summer Meadow ale and cider for our guests. This went down really well especially with the men attending!

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (31)

At the reception Matt and I decided to have a sweetheart table. We were so happy we did this as it gave us some time to ourselves to catch up after the wedding. Everyone says your wedding day goes so fast but I think this helped us to have a moment for just us.

In terms of entertainment, Matt’s mum arranged for the Haydock Male Voice Choir to sing at the church. We chose a few songs for them to sing: Embraceable You, Cwm Rhondda and a few others – everyone was in tears as it was so emotional and sounded amazing.

For the reception we had an outdoor seating area with some hay bales and outdoor games and we booked a DJ, Paul Leffler, on recommendation from one of our friends. We gave him a list of songs we love and he managed to fit them all in and get everyone up dancing. Our first dance was When I Fall in Love by Nat King Cole – we loved that it is a classic and suited us as a couple.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (44)

Others fab suppliers we used on the day included Nicola at Johnson Hairdressing Group in Wigan, who did mine and my bridesmaids’ hair and our makeup was done by the fantastic Mika Johnson. We hired our folding wooden chairs from The Chairman Company, who were very reasonably priced and provided easy delivery to the venue. Our wedding rings were from Mr Allan, the same jewellers that Matt bought my engagement ring from. Matt had his grandad’s ring re-sized and I had a white gold band specially made to fit the round shape of my ring. Our confetti was from Shropshire Petals – we went with the Vintage Daydream mix, which I think this summed up the day perfectly!

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (51)

We would recommend our wedding venue to other couples that want control over what they do on their big day. The location is in the lovely village of Dunham Massey and has some outdoor space that can be used as well. Andrew, the caretaker is so helpful and lives next door so was on hand if we needed any help. I was amazed when we were looking at venues how much money couples are charged for various things (corkage, cake cutting etc.) so if you want to save some money this is a really good way to do it.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (45)

Meeting Matt at the top of the altar was my favourite moment of the day – it was all worth it at that point. I was close to tears all the way up the aisle but managed to keep it together. Matt said his favourite moment was when we were outside on the hay bales with all of our friends.

A Vintage Village Hall Wedding (c) Andrew Keher (46)

We haven’t been on our honeymoon yet but we’re planning on going to Italy at the end of September. We want to go to Florence, Rome and then spend some time on the Amalfi Coast. We’re really looking to it – with all the saving for the wedding we’ve not been away for years! We did manage to get a few nights away after the wedding to chill out. We stayed at The Drawing Room in Powys.

Everyone says this but my top tip to other Brides Up North is to do what makes you happy as a couple – it’s your day. It was a little easier for us to do this as we paid for the wedding so we didn’t feel obliged but I think there are ways to get what you want while keeping everyone else happy. And make sure you have some time to just you on the day.

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true blue. justin alexander for an eclectic wedding at the crab & lobster – ann-marie & matthew

July 16th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (31)

Today’s real wedding took place at a quirky hotel and restaurant that has a sort of anything goes feel to it with its mismatched décor and furnishings. Rather than try and impose a set theme on such an individual venue, bride and groom Ann-Marie and Matthew cleverly blended styles they love into the setting for an elegant yet eclectic wedding day.

We love the 1950s influences in the bride and maid of honour’s dresses as well as the groom’s slightly unusual pale blue suit and patterned tie combo. Elsewhere there are pretty shabby chic touches in the décor and a country garden theme running through the flowers and cake designs.

Oh, and Ann-Marie didn’t just go for one ‘something blue’ but instead lots, with a colour palette made up of varying shades of the cool hue.

With images from Michael Cartwright Photography.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (2)

ann-marie says: We got engaged on 20th April 2013 at Drybeck Farm in Cumbria. It was our anniversary weekend and Matthew had booked a weekend to Drybeck Farm as a surprise. Drybeck was our first weekend away together when we first met so Matthew thought it would be romantic to rekindle the early days. Matthew had been working during the day and came back at lunch time to get ready and go. I jokingly asked him “Have you forgotten anything? Like a ring?” to which he replied “Seriously? You do know there isn’t a ring, don’t you?” That was enough to put me off the scent.

I’d made a lamb stew to take with us that we cooked over an open fire and we sat and drank red wine and ate stew and tiger bread under the stars, wrapped in blankets. Matthew finally popped the question down on one knee on the banks of the River Eden. I of course said a massive yes!

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (3)

We decided on 24th May 2015 as our wedding date and chose The Crab & Lobster near Thirsk, North Yorkshire, as our venue. We knew the hotel and restaurant because of its reputation in fine dining but we had never been to stay before. We went to a wedding open day and suddenly everything fell into place. The gardens are beautiful and the hotel is so wonderfully quirky that we instantly fell in love with it.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (10)

We wanted our wedding to be laid back but still beautiful. One of our major turn offs with all things wedding was the ‘fake grandeur’ that is automatically pushed on brides. We also didn’t like the idea of an outright theme. We preferred just to choose all the things we liked and try to link them together. If we had to try and shoehorn our wedding into any kind of theme I suppose it would be ‘50s shabby chic, English country garden glamour’ (if that can be a theme?).

This eclectic mix of styles matches our personalities and went perfectly with the venue, which is a mismatch of all sorts of memorabilia and oddities.

We chose blue for our colour scheme. We didn’t make any decision on one particular type of blue and decided to have a wonderful mix of shades and hues that all complemented each other. We used white and ivory with a touch of peach to complement the blues. On reason for choosing blue was because of its association with luck at weddings and we thought why stop at one ‘something blue’ when it can all be blue!

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (12)

My dress was a 50s style ball gown by Justin Alexander and bought from Just Perfect at Shotton Colliery. It had a boat neckline and pleated sash waist with a small detailing of crystals and pearls. The dress was plain ivory silk and had a train. On my feet I wore peacock blue peep toe shoes from Faith, which had a T-bar encrusted in diamantes and peals.

My headpiece was custom made by The Libertarian. It was an ivory silk flower with crystals and pearls in the centre and a short 50s style veil with a sprinkling of diamantes. The crystals on the flower were my ‘something old’ and had been taken from a necklace my Grandmother left to me. My earrings were custom made by Mobeus in Hartlepool which also used the crystals from my Grandmother’s old necklace. Finally, I wore a jersey pearl bracelet that I borrowed from our daughter (she was bought it as a christening present).

On the big day, Nicholas at Hobson and Holmes in Darlington, did my hair while Jo Leversuch of Makeup by Jo, did my makeup.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (8)

Matthew wore a pale blue suit from Psyche in Middlesbrough with a coordinating dark blue tweed waistcoat from Debenhams. His shirt was plain white from M&S and shoes were brown brogues from Just Perfect Menswear at Shotton Colliery. Matthew’s tie and pocket square were from an online retailer called Dancys.

Our maid of honour wore a royal blue 50s style dress by LouLou Bridal and our flower girl wore an ivory satin and tulle ballerina style dress both bought from Just Perfect at Shotton Colliery. Their head pieces were both custom made by The Libertarian and featured handmade and custom dyed silk flowers.

The groomsmen all wore a suit of their choice with white M&S shirts and ties from Dancys. Our page boys wore pale blue linen suites from Next with coordinating bow-ties from Dancys.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (24)

Michael of Michael Cartwright Photography took our photographs. Michael is an old school friend of mine so we knew that we would be hiring a photographer that could put us at ease and who knew our personalities and tastes. Michael did a fantastic job of capturing the day without lots of posed or staged photos that will age and go out of fashion. We have ended up with a wonderful pictorial story of our day that will stand the test of time. Michael was a true professional and was so great at taking candid photos. We hardly even knew he was there throughout the day but we still got more than 1,000 pictures to choose from.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (32)

I carried a bouquet of wild and garden flowers in a range of blue and lavender tones including forget-me-nots, scabious, cornflowers, roses, lisianthus. They were tied with a bow with long tendrils of multi-coloured ribbons in different widths and textures. The brief to the florist was that I wanted to look like I had walked through a beautiful meadow and country garden and collected my flowers on the way to the ceremony – they did not disappoint.

The flowers were from Flowerhouse in Hartburn, Stockton-on-Tees which until recently was my brother’s business which he and my mum started more than ten years ago. Ever since I was small I have grown up around flowers and flower shops as my mum has been an award winning florist for 50 years. I knew from being a little girl that the most special thing was for my mum to do my wedding flowers and with the help of the staff at Flowerhouse that wish came true and the flowers were spectacular!

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (54)

Our table decorations were lots of smaller bunches of flowers using the same flowers as my bouquet. These were in jam jars which I decorated with ribbons and lace. Again the flowers were from Flowerhouse. We also decorated the tables with smaller jars with tea lights in them and set the table settings with sprigs of lavender and corn from Shropshire Petals, who also supplied our confetti.

I made all the decorations for the day including a number of hand painted signs and more than 30 metres of bunting as well as burlap signs and ribbon wands for the little people to carry. Instead of a guestbook I also made a hand painted canvas which everyone could write their messages on which has given us a beautiful momentum of the day.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (47)

As favours, each guest was given a packet of forget-me-not seeds from Not on the High Street. Due to the huge number of flowers at the wedding, each couple also got to take home a jar of fresh flowers at the end of the night.

We chose a three tier cake with a different flavour for each tier – fruit, chocolate and vanilla. A friend of ours (Jenny) made the cakes and a friend of my mum’s iced them for us. It was decorated with fresh flowers from Flowerhouse and a bunting cake topper from Beautiful Greys, a shop on Facebook.

Additionally we had a cheese and pork pie wedding cake from Earls Cheese Wedding Cakes in Stockton, which doubled as our evening buffet. This was topped with bride and groom mice from Cotton Reel Crafts. We served the wedding cake on the evening as dessert.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (49)

To keep guests entertained we had a jazz duo welcoming everyone to the ceremony and then playing in the gardens afterward. They were the Crab and Lobster resident musicians, Muttonchops, and were a fantastic addition to our day. During the ceremony Matthew’s brother, Robbie, and my friend Angela gave a rendition of Songbird by Oasis which was very special to us. On the evening we decided to have a jukebox instead of a DJ. That way the dancefloor was always full because the music was chosen by the guests.

To make the day all the more special we added a few individual touches, including inviting our guests to take part in a competition at The Crab and Lobster’s one-hole golf course to win a bottle of bubbles. It was a fun little addition and everyone had a go at getting their ball closest to the flag.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (70)

We would recommend all of our suppliers, they each provided exactly what we wished for and were full of professionalism. We would also definitely recommend our venue to other couples. It was so fantastic in every way. The staff were wonderfully attentive and understood our vision from the outset and ensured that everything went swimmingly. They were very willing for us to completely take over and decorate everything in sight and change things around as we saw fit. The wedding coordinator, John Lacey, was fantastic and couldn’t do enough for us – from helping me to change my shoes, to standing up ladders hanging bunting, carving up enormous pork pies and helping our daughter up and down the patio steps.

I don’t think we could pick a favourite part of the day as it was all absolutely amazing. That said, our highlights would include; seeing each other for the first time, spending an entire day with all the people we love and dancing the night away to a plethora of retro tunes!

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (72)

For our honeymoon we had four nights at Peacock Pavilions just outside of Marrakech in Morocco. It was a wonderfully relaxing break full of delicious food and exploration. We were fully spoilt at Peacock Pavilions with private dining in a hand painted Berber tent, a private screening of Casablanca in an outdoor cinema with cocktails and a bridal henna party for me. No stone was unturned at this wonderful quirky little oasis. Pure bliss!

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to start early! If you are anything like us and want to do a lot of work yourself or are interested in the finer details you need as much time as possible. We spent two years planning and it was only just enough time. We had an amazing day and all of the extra effort, hard work and sometimes stress was worth it all for the perfect amazing day.continue reading

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pick your petals. create your own confetti bar

July 7th, 2015 | Julia Braime Guests throwing confetti from £11.50 per litre (5)

Whether you’re planning a big blow out wedding or a small intimate affair, the day wouldn’t be complete without the throwing of confetti.  Confetti symbolises the union of a couple getting married, so why not make it extra special and let your guests choose the confetti to shower you with?

Brides Up North Sponsor Shropshire Petals grow and produce natural petal confetti on their Shropshire farm.  They produce an array of beautiful petals in a range of colours and petal types.  Here are their tips on how you can make your own confetti bar, like a sort of pretty petal pic n mix… we love it!

Shropshire Petals are offering Brides Up North the chance to save 10% off orders over £65 by using your unique Brides Up North discount code here. Handful of Highland Fling £11.50 per litre.jpg

shropshire petals say: A confetti bar enables your guests to choose from a range of colours to ensure your confetti moment is a magical surprise.  Not only will you get an amazing and fun confetti shot, a confetti bar is a great way of providing some entertainment for your guests. Pick and Mix - Midnight Blue, Icing Sugar, Raspberry Fool, Honey'b and Frosted Blue £11.50 per litre each .jpg

rainbow brite

Choose individual colours and mixtures of petals to match or contrast your wedding theme. Consider where you will be having your confetti moment to ensure that the petals are going to stand out when your photographer captures your guests throwing confetti over you.

Pick as many colours as you like, and you can even order samples to try out at home before you decide which will give you an idea of how your chosen petals will look when thrown together.

For a light and colourful confetti mix, choosing a variety of pastel colours mixed together is perfect for summer.  The popular Summer Nights confetti is a delicate mix of light blue, pale pink and ivory petals.

We recommend smaller petals such as delphiniums and wildflowers as these are lighter and create a gentle flutter as they fall.  To add some extra colour and texture, you can select some larger petals to mix in with the smaller ones.

If you are looking for even more of a colour splash, pick and mix your own confetti using the pick and mix tool online. Handful of Summer Nights £11.50 per litre 2

style it pretty

Choose a range of containers to display your confetti in, including Kilner jars, vases, buckets, vintage boxes, wooden crates or anything you like to suit your style and wedding theme. Mix it Up Confetti in cones £60 for 10 litres

fill ’em up

Place each of your individual colours or mixes of confetti into your chosen containers and put them in a prominent position where you will be having your confetti moment. Don’t worry about doing this yourself, pre-fill containers and delegate a member of the bridal party to set this up on the big day. Use the online confetti calculator to work out how much you’ll need. Pick and Mix - Candyfloss, Icing Sugar and Lady Grey£11.50 per litre each

do it themselves

Before the big day, make a cute sign to go next to your confetti bar to explain to guests what they need to do.

pick n mix

Let your guests pick and mix confetti from the confetti bar when its time and enjoy your magical confetti moment. Get set… throw! Confetti explosion - confetti from £11.50 per litre (6)

For more information and inspiration, visit

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