May 20th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Is there anywhere more romantic to pop the question than Paris? Ok, so I’m a little biased, as that’s where my other half got down on one knee, but another proposal in the French city of love is how today’s story begins.
After a dream engagement Emma and John bagged their dream venue Thornton Manor, for their big day and got the preparations underway.
They agreed they wanted the wedding to have a classic feel to suit the venue and we think you’ll agree that everything from Emma’s lace dress, to the maids’ pastel blue gowns and simple blooms say elegance.
Looking at the wedding snaps it’s easy to see why Emma and John had their hearts set on this venue – the reception room is nothing short of incredible!
With images by Matt Parry Photography.
emma says: We got engaged outside Montmartre cathedral in Paris at midnight on the 28th December 2012. John had planned to propose on New Year’s Eve but had the urge to do it on the first day we got to Paris. We had dinner in our favourite restaurant in Montmartre then John took me up the hill to ‘see the laser show on the Eiffel tower at midnight’.
We wanted a summer wedding, we knew you couldn’t guarantee good weather in England but thought we’d have the best chance in the summer months. The 28th August 2014 was available at our dream venue so we booked it. We married one month after my 26th birthday and the weather was stunning.
We got married at Thornton Manor on the Wirral. We had looked at the venue on the internet but dismissed it as we felt we couldn’t afford it. On a Sunday we were going to a wedding fair but it was awful so we googled if there were any other fairs in the area and there was one at Thornton Manor. When we got there we were welcomed by the owner, Phillip, and we were blown away and instantly knew we would do everything we could to get married there.
We wanted an authentic, classic feel for the wedding and knew we wanted elegance to match the house. We had top hats and 1950’s style bridesmaid dresses.
The main colour was pastel blue. It is my favourite colour and we felt it was perfect for a summer wedding. Our bridesmaids, groomsmen and page boy wore pastel blue. The stationery was ivory and pastel blue.
I chose an ivory David Tutera for Mon Cheri dress. It was a sleeveless soft lace mermaid gown with lace straps with a scoop neckline. The dress had embroidered Swarovski crystals with a spun gold waist.
John wore a charcoal morning suit and grey top hat. His outfit and the groomsmen’s outfits were from Slaters in Liverpool.
The bridesmaids wore a 1950’s pastel blue style dress from Dorothy Rose Bridal in Ellesmere Port. Everybody was blown away by the dresses and the fit was beautiful.
For our wedding transport we had a vintage Bentley in cream and black. It was hired from a company local to the venue.
Matt Parry was our photographer, without a doubt we would recommend him to anybody. Matt made us so comfortable before the day with meetings via Skype to talk about ‘essential’ photos and talk to us about his style etc. On the day John met Matt at the venue a little earlier than expected, Matt was having a look at the venue to get some ideas for his shots. Matt then came and spent a lot of time with me and the girls getting ready before going back to the venue to get those ‘nervy’ shots of John.
Throughout the day Matt wasn’t in anybody’s way, John said he didn’t notice him at all during the speeches but when you see the photographs you wonder how! He was a great friend on the day and we were absolutely overwhelmed when we got our beautiful presentation box through the post with all our gorgeous shots.
My bouquet was made up of ivory roses with Chinese grass loops, arranged by Amore Flowers in Widnes. The bridesmaids had ivory and pastel blue roses.
Amore also did our reception flowers, we would highly recommend them. We gave Joe the florist free reign to do as he pleased within our theme and he did a beautiful job!
We gave out jams and chutneys as favours, which were made by a company called Posh Pickles based in Knutsford. With customized labels and ribbons to match our theme, Rob and Steph did a great job and their Jams and Chutneys are amazing!
We had a four tier lace cake with roses and rose petals in the theme of pastel blue and ivory – the layers were lemon and carrot cake. A friend of mine, Coleen, did the cake – she was great!
The venue had a caterer list that we had to choosefrom to provide our wedding breakfast – we chose Anne Wilson Corden Bleu. We had a pate starter, pork trio main and a trio of deserts – it was so nice!
For entertainment we had a DJ in the evening and gave him an extensive playlist – basically every song for the evening! In our RSVP’s we asked our guests to give us a song that would get them on the dance floor.
We also booked a string quartet to play before/after the ceremony and during canapés after the ceremony. They played as I walked down the aisle and also the music John and I walked out of the room to – they were absolutely brilliant and so many people commented on them.
We would definitely recommend our wedding venue to others purely because it’s magical. There is something about the music room that leaves you feeling calm and humble. The Manor House ball room is breath taking and given rain or shine any bride and groom will have the best time of their lives celebrating there.
One of our favourite parts of the day was when our photographer Matt took us off into an old green house to take some unusual shots of us. We loved this part of the day as we were able to spend time together and it was really fun trying not to smile or laugh at the camera. The pictures turned out to be amazing, just what we expected from Matt.
For our honeymoon we decided to go stay on the Palm in Dubai, the hotel was on the beach which was total paradise. We loved our stay and will definitely be returning in the future.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to remember the reasons why you are getting married. I think some brides/grooms can get carried away with making sure absolutely everything is perfect but just remember that you can’t please everyone no matter how much you will try. Remember your wedding day is your day and at the end of it all you’ll always have your best friend beside you so there’s nothing to worry about.
Also try not to spill red wine on your dress!
May 1st, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Sometimes it can be difficult for couples to choose a theme for their wedding and can end up over thinking it. But today’s bride Emma kept things simple by styling her wedding around her favourite flower, gypsophila.
The loved-up couple then picked one of their favourite building in Manchester to act as the backdrop to the celebrations, the city’s stunning town hall.
The combined result is a grand occasion that’s beautiful but without being too fussy. Emma we think we hit the nail on the head.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Lee Brown Photography.
emma says: We got engaged in March 2013 on top of a mountain in the Lake District. Chris’ intention was that there’d be stunning views, but there was a blizzard with almost zero visibility. In the end we were just glad to make it down in one piece.
The date of our wedding was 25th October 2014. A summer wedding wasn’t important to us because our venue and plans dictated that almost all of our time would be indoors. We felt that more friends and family would find it easier to attend this time of you when summer holidays are over and people’s diaries are less full.
We picked Manchester Town Hall as our venue. It’s one of our favourite buildings and its location is convenient to guests from near and far. Those who live locally have many travel options with ample parking, and there are lots of accommodation options for those from further afield. The Great Hall where we had the reception is a spectacular space.
The colour scheme was based around my favourite flower which is gypsophila, so I kept everything very neutral. I opted for a very light gold colour for the bridesmaid’s dress and the male members of the bridal party as well as for some detailing at the reception. Gypsophila was chosen due to the simplicity of the flower and for its bright, clean, natural colours.
The groom, best man, bride’s father, groom’s father and ushers wore navy Prince Edward suits from Slaters with cream waistcoats and gold ruches.
My bridesmaid’s dress was from Agape in Altrincham and was a one-shoulder champagne colour long chiffon dress.
Lee Brown was our photographer – we highly recommend him. Our friends and family, including some amateur photography enthusiasts, have said they are the best wedding photos they’ve seen. We’re absolutely delighted with the results. Lee’s unobtrusive style meant that no-one felt interrupted by his presence and he did everything he could to make us feel at ease and relaxed throughout the course of our wedding day.
Blossom Flowers in Chorlton provided mine and my bridesmaid’s posies, the corsages, and button-holes. They also provided flowers for dressing the service room and the table centrepieces, top-table dressing, and chair covers for the reception.
Favours were vintage candy including pear-drops, aniseed twists, and lemon sherbets. There was also a candy-table with large jars of the same sweets and bags for guests to take candy home for their children.
I made my own cake, which was four tiers covered in ivory icing with white lace edible detailing topped with sugar craft roses. I had fruit, carrot and vanilla sponge.
To entertain our guests we hired Dave Jones disco to provide a DJ service and had live music from the Cover Cats. I corresponded with a few DJs and Dave gave me the most confidence in his ability to ensure stress-free and smooth-running whilst playing appropriate music. We looked at a number of bands on-line and loved the sound of the Cover Cats and that they had a female vocalist. They did a brilliant job.
Other suppliers that we used for our wedding day and would recommend are Ric Clements of Kegs & Co who supplied draught ale with draught serving system at a low price. Paul Hill of Uplighting Hire who provided good value for money was a pleasure to deal with.
We thoroughly enjoyed the entire day. As the bride and groom, we were very nervous until after the speeches so managed to relax as the day/evening went on.
We went to Bali on our honeymoon which is a superb destination -great weather, beautiful tropical beaches, interesting cultural attractions, wonderful hotels and villas and lovely people.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be pick a venue where the organiser or venue co-ordinator will be helpful, reliable, and ease the pressure on you. Also delegate as much as possible, but only to people you can trust to do what you ask, when you ask.
April 14th, 2015 | Julia Braime
The vintage theme has been popular with wedding couples of late and so we’re used to seeing wonderful weddings featuring this styling landing in the Brides Up North inbox. However, there was something about today’s couple’s wedding that made it stand out that bit more than others – it was pretty (oh so pretty) but it was also personal.
Rather than hiring all the décor from one company to achieve the desired kitsch look, bride Katie rolled up her sleeves (and also called upon those closest to her) to help create beautiful handmade detailing that made the day feel all the more special.
Two stars of the show were Katie and Phil’s mums who sound like they could give Kirstie Allsopp a run for her money when it comes to crafting skills.
Enjoy the pretty…
With images by Katie Byram Photography.
katie says: It was our three year anniversary and also the day we had our offer accepted to buy our first home in London when Phil proposed to me. We were at home having a celebratory meal. I was half way through my chocolate pudding when Philip said he had a surprise for me. When he got down on one knee I couldn’t stop laughing! But eventually managed to say “yes”. I didn’t suspect a thing so was definitely very surprised!
We set the date for 9th August 2014. No particular reason, but we chose August as we thought that it would be the least likely time of year to rain in the North East. It actually did still rain on the day, but definitely didn’t ruin anything.
We got married at St Mary’s Church in Morpeth. I went to this church when I was growing up so it meant a lot to me to get married there.
We chose Eshott Hall as our reception venue. We loved Eshott from the moment we walked in the door on our visit there. We knew from the start that we wanted a venue that could offer us exclusivity. The thing we loved about Eshott was that although it is a beautiful building in itself, it also offered us the opportunity to be really creative and to decorate it as we wanted. We would highly recommend the venue to other wedding couples, we absolutely loved it!
We had a vintage theme, but wanted to be able to add a personal touch. Both of our mums are very creative and helped to make lots of decorations for the venue. My mum sewed the beautiful floral and lace bunting, cushions with our initials on and lace chair sashes. Philip’s mum meanwhile was very busy making all of our vintage style stationery, including the invitations, place tags, table plan, table names, confetti cones and guestbook.
We chose pretty pastel colours and flowery patterns for the main reception room to accompany our theme.
After trying on about 50 dresses in all different styles, I knew what kind of dress I definitely didn’t want but still didn’t have a clear idea of what I did want! I visited YAP in Newcastle and instantly fell in love with the first dress I tried on. I loved the simplicity of the skirt and the lace detail. Once the decision had been made, Jo at YAP popped open a bottle of fizz so that I could celebrate with my mum, mother-in-law and auntie – a really special moment. I added a sash with a vintage flower which was made by Anne at Diva Designs and wore Rachel Simpson shoes in a design called Katie.
My bridesmaids were four of my best friends from school and they wore pale pink Button Belle dresses from YAP with floral sashes and shoe clips made by Anne at Diva Designs.
For transport we chose a silver Bentley hired from Sunderland Wedding Cars. The bridesmaids travelled in a mint green campervan from AllCool Classic VW Camper Hire. We also hired a vintage bus from Weardale Company for our guests to travel on from the church to the reception venue.
Katie Byram was our wedding photographer. She was amazing and photographed the day perfectly. She has a very natural style, capturing candid moments, which was exactly what we wanted. We would highly recommend her.
Lavenders Blue in Morpeth provided my bouquet and the bridesmaids’ bouquets too. We were keen for the flowers to look quite wild and natural, which Lavenders Blue achieved beautifully. I also had sprigs of feverfew (daisies) pushed into the plait in my hair.
Lavenders Blue provided flowers for the table decorations and we hired candelabras and vintage china teacups and saucers from Lavenders Blue too. We hired birdcages from The Finishing Touch Company and our vintage side plates were hired from Flawless Weddings & Events in Morpeth.
We added pink and mint green pom poms to the trees outside of the venue, made by Flawless Weddings & Events. They looked amazing and really magical. Flawless also provided jars and scoops for our sweetie table.
We went to auctions and charity shops in the local area to collect the beautiful lace and embroidered table clothes we used. My bridesmaids and I also spent an afternoon decorating small glass candle holders and jam jars with offcuts of material, old jewellery, buttons and hessian. I love that they added a really personal touch to the tables. On the day we used vintage photo frames as holders for our table names, which I love and will use to display our wedding photographs around our home.
For favours we gave out British Heart Foundation pin badges.
Dreamworld Cakes made our pretty cupcake cake in pastel colours while all the other food and drink was provided by Eshott Hall.
Colin Cook was a fantastic DJ on our wedding day, keeping all our guests entertained. We chose a mixture of our favourite tunes – mainly 90s pop! It was really important to us that the children we invited to our wedding were a special part of the day. To keep them entertained during the speeches we put together colouring books, soft toys and bubbles into canvas backpacks with their names on.
For some extra entertainment we hired a photo booth from Smiley Booth. I would definitely recommend this company. One strip of photographs was stuck into our guestbook so that our guests could write messages next to them and the guests could take the second strip home as a memento of the day. They’re hilarious and we love looking back over them to remind us of the day.
My favourite part of the day was walking into the church and seeing Philip’s face. Philip’s cousin is a professional musician and played Canon in D on the viola as I walked down the aisle. It was a beautiful moment, although I did cry most of way down!
For our honeymoon we went to Santorini and stayed at Absolute Bliss in Imerovigli, a small boutique hotel with a beautiful view over the sea and cliffs. It is a lovely island and we would definitely recommend it.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be that making some of the venue decorations and wedding stationery yourself is a great way to add a personal touch to the day and to save a bit of money. Collect some pieces of pretty material, pop open the fizz and get creative!
April 7th, 2015 | Julia Braime
I love the simple elegance of today’s real wedding set within the grandeur of Eaves Hall in the North West.
The fabulous venue won over bride-to-be Melissa in seconds, and looking at the images below it’s easy to see why. Keen to keep things fresh and classy, Melissa worked with talented suppliers to accomplish her vision with pale pretty blooms, ornate candelabras and twinkling fairy lights.
In addition to the setting, the couple themselves looked stunning with Melissa opting for a gorgeous fishtail gown while her hubby-to-be (and his merry men) donned kilts for the occasion. We do hope it wasn’t a blustery day!
With images by Brides Up North Featured Supplier, Karli Harrison Photography.
melissa says: We got engaged in York, in April 2013. We had been out for a lovely meal and when we got back to our hotel Stuart got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I wasn’t totally surprised as Stuart knows how fussy I am, so had asked me to pick out a ring a couple of weeks before!
We got married on 13th September 2014. The reason for picking this particular date was that we had originally planned to get married in 2015, so when we started looking at venues they were quite booked up for 2014 dates. I went to go and look at Eaves Hall in Clitheroe and completely fell in love with it, and they had a date in September free so with a little persuasion I convinced Stuart to bring the date forward.
I had been browsing venues online but hadn’t come across anywhere with the ‘wow’ factor. Eaves Hall was the first venue we looked at and it ticked every box, it was slightly further away from home than we had planned but everything else more than compensated for it. The venue is absolutely beautiful. I would highly recommend it.
We didn’t go for a theme as such, I just wanted everything to be fresh and classy. Stuart is Scottish so he wanted the groomsmen to wear kilts but other than that we just went with what we liked. The venue is a theme within itself so we just added in extra touches to make it personal to ourselves.
I chose sage green for the bridesmaids dresses but didn’t choose to use this colour scheme throughout the wedding. For everything I chose to use ivory with pearl accents.
I chose a fishtail dress by Enzoani from Dreamcatcher Designer Bridal Wear in Kirkham. I had tried on a dress that was a lot fuller but didn’t feel comfortable in it. As I am quite tall I chose the more fitted dress that puffed out at the bottom, which still made it feel like a ‘wedding dress’ but was more flattering to my shape. My veil had a scalloped lace edge and I also wore a diamanté belt to enhance the shape of the dress.
As I mentioned, Stuart is originally from Scotland so it was important to him to have the men in kilts. At first I was dubious but when I saw them on the day they all looked fab. We chose to hire the kilts from Slaters menswear. Stuart chose to wear a black shirt with an ivory tie so that he was different to the groomsmen that wore black kilts with white shirts and sage ties.
My bridesmaids wore Grecian style dresses in sage green, also from Dreamcatcher. It was purely by chance that all the dresses were set out in each style but only shown in certain colours. My bridesmaid Natalie pulled this particular one off the rail and the style and colour was perfect – that pretty much set the tone for the style of the rest of the wedding. I then picked nude shoes and diamante drop earrings. My hair was done by Becky at Kre8 Hair and Beauty, and makeup by Olivia Naylor. They are both perfectionists and made everyone look gorgeous.
Karli Harrison was the photographer we chose. I had researched quite a few before we decided on Karli. A friend of my mum had used her for her daughter’s wedding and she highly recommended her. We looked at her pictures and knew straight away that Karli’s style was perfect for our big day.
We also used Abbey Videos to video the whole day. I’m so glad we captured the day on film as there is so much that you miss and don’t take in.
I carried a bouquet of hydrangeas, white roses, lily of the valley and various other white flowers. These were supplied by Jane at Flower Design in Blackpool, who I also can’t recommend highly enough. I originally wanted a bouquet with just white roses but when Jane made me up a sample and said she thought I would prefer this – she wasn’t wrong. She also recommended perfume and moisturiser to compliment the scent of the flowers.
We used the same flowers in my bouquet but a smaller version for the bridesmaids and flower girl. My bouquet and the bridesmaids also doubled up as top table flower display whilst we had our wedding breakfast. It looked so different yet classy which I was really impressed with. Jane also provided two trees either side of the main entrance with white roses entwined into them and candelabras for the table displays which were decorated with the same flowers used in my bouquet. Jane picked up on the Scottish heritage and incorporated thistle in the button holes for Stuart’s side of the family and the groomsmen. She also took into account what people were wearing and designed them individual button holes which I thought was a really nice touch.
I was particularly anxious about the venue being dressed enough and so used Add a Little Sparkle to help with this. I explained to them the theme I liked and they showed me pictures of previous weddings they had done at Eaves Hall that were similar to my theme. I chose the fairy light curtain and they also provided chair covers, swag for the top table and lanterns down the aisle. Between the team at Flower Design and ‘Mr and Mrs Sparkle’ every last detail was accounted for, down to a rose petals arranged in a heart shape at the end of the aisle.
We provided a free bar for all the guests, day and night, so we decided that we weren’t going to do anything too extravagant for the favours as we were sure our guests would be more than happy with the drinks flowing! So as a little touch we got everybody a scratch card. I got some beautiful cards made that just simply said ‘good luck’ on the front then inside a little message to say ‘thank you for sharing our day love Mr and Mrs Naismith’. For the children I got some personalised colouring books to keep them entertained, which I got off eBay. They came in various colours and designs, the one I picked matched our theme perfectly.
A lady that I work with makes the most delicious chocolate cakes, she really is wasted working in an office! So when it came to the cake I knew it was going to have to be one of Lesley’s cakes. We had four tiers, the bottom was chocolate and then alternated between that and lemon. She decorate it perfectly for us, it was a shame we had to cut it!
The thing I liked about the food at Eaves Hall was that you could give your guests a choice of meals. We went to a tasting event in the April before the wedding which was really good. They set out the room as it would be when you have your wedding breakfast and they brought out one of each meal for your group to try, I was stuffed when we left! It was also good to mingle with other people that were getting married there to swap ideas and experiences. After much deliberation (because it was all so good) we opted for either Cajun salmon starter or chicken and pancetta Caesar salad, then the choice of either roast chicken or roast lamb, then for dessert lemon tart or chocolate torte. Everything was delicious and well received!
Choosing the entertainment was a really big thing for me as I felt like it could make or break the day. I actually booked a couple of people then changed my mind. After hearing a local singer called James Edgar performing, I knew I had to have him at the wedding. He sings with just a guitar and puts his own twist on modern and classic hits, which he performed during the ceremony and wedding breakfast. In between the ceremony and wedding breakfast, the Northern String Quartet played whilst the guests had drinks and canapés. We were so lucky with the weather, so they were able to play outside. For me I think that was one of the highlights of the day,
Then for the evening reception we had the Ian Hooper Band. They were absolutely brilliant! Everybody was dancing the night away. To get everyone in the swing of things they came into the bar with their guitars and got the guests stood on their chairs singing and dancing. They even finished the night off with a Queen sing-song round the grand piano which everyone absolutely loved. We also had a photo booth for the guests which was good fun and we got all the pictures on a memory stick, which was hilarious to look at the next day.
I can’t take credit for this as it was my mum’s idea but we had fire eaters to greet the evening guests. Everyone said how different the idea was and we also got some really good pictures of it!
I would definitely recommend our venue, not just for how it looks, but for the whole experience. Hayley oversaw the day and she made us both feel so at ease, nothing was too much trouble for her.
It’s hard to pick an exact favourite part of the day as I loved every minute of it – I have different favourite parts for different reasons! But everyone singing round the piano was such fun and everyone was talking about it for weeks after.
We went for a short break to Mallorca the week after the wedding. It was lovely to just chill after a year of planning! We said we were going to go on a proper honeymoon this year but we are expecting a baby in May so have decided to go to New York in December and treat that as our honeymoon.
A top tip to other Brides Up North is don’t stress about the small details too much! I spent so much time worrying about various things that I didn’t really need to worry about as everything falls into place on the day, but my main tip would be to get the day filmed.
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January 21st, 2015 | Julia Braime
Jancis and Casey’s choice of wedding venue was all about the memories – a special place that they could share with their friends and family on their special day and for years to come.
It’s one of our favourite venues here at Brides Up North HQ too and you can join us for our beautiful wedding exhibition here in April, but for now, let’s celebrate Jancis and Casey’s ‘catch of the day’.
With images by Lissa Alexandra Photography.
jancis says: Just after we met Casey promised that he would one day take me to Rome. Three years later we still hadn’t made it so while we were planning what to do for our anniversary I decided to have a look at flights. I never thought they would be reasonably priced but it worked out less than we could have spent on petrol if we had stayed in the UK. I floated the idea to Casey and with one thought of pizza and Peroni he was sold! We booked the tickets and off we went to a destination I had only dreamed of!
After three days seeing the amazing sights and eating fabulous food it was our third anniversary. We spent the day doing all the things we had wanted to do. We went to Castel Sant’angelo in the morning which had the most spectacular views of the Vatican City. Then walked down to watch the Pope hold his service and went up to St Peters Basillica. Casey had thought about proposing at the top but after the 320 steps and around 100 other people squeezed up there he decided against it.
After spending most of the day on our feet we decided to go back to the hotel room for a rest and to get ready for a lovely meal to celebrate our anniversary. We got all dressed up in our best clothes and Casey asked me to open a bottle of prosecco. We toasted three years together and Casey sat me down on the edge of the bed and started talking about how thankful he was and how much he had enjoyed the past three years. Before I knew it he was down on one knee asking me to marry him. I didn’t need to think about it the words just spilled out: “Of course I will!”
We were married on 25th May 2014. We chose this date as it was a bank holiday Sunday and we were asking our guests to travel from far and wide across the UK and the world to celebrate with us. We knew this would mean most of them wouldn’t need to take too much time off work, if any at all, or like us, they would be able to make the celebration into a week long holiday.
We were married at The Alnwick Garden, It is one of our favourite places to visit. Casey first took me there on a spur of the moment weekend away. I has been having a really hard time at work and got home one Friday night to him looking up b&b’s in Northumberland, a place I’d never been. He whisked me away to Warkworth, a village we have both now fallen in love with, for the weekend and decided to make the trip the gardens for the day. We both love that it is a charity, run by donations from other people who love to visit and enjoy the flowers and of course the fountain.
We wanted a venue where we felt like we were contributing to the local community and somewhere in the future we will be able to take our children and relive our special day.
We had been to a wedding in America the year before where the bride and groom had their first look before the ceremony. The photos were very personal and it meant that they got to spend their cocktail hour with their guests. Casey and I decided to do the same. Around 3 miles from our venue is a beach where we have spent a lot of time. We decided to head down there before the ceremony and have a first look moment. We took our wedding party to the beach and one of the bridesmaids cleared the area for us. A group of people started forming so it wasn’t the most intimate moment however it felt special and we will always have the memories of that moment.
The style we went for came from the venue we chose. The Garden is full of bright colours and earthy tones so we chose green, white and brown for our wedding colours inspired by the plants, the water and the hessian sacks the compost came in. Then when I found my dress I knew we had to include lace in the wedding and it added that much needed feminine touch to our plans.
We brought the garden inside with our centre pieces which we made ourselves, in fact almost all of the decorations were made by us. The table squares were hand cut and the lace added by Casey, the centre piece boxes were made by Casey, painted by me and planted together (the flowers from each box are now planted in gardens around the UK!), the bunting was homemade, the signs were homemade and even the favours too!
Less than a month after we were engaged I spotted a dress in Debenhams and decided to try it on just for fun. As soon as I put it on I felt beautiful and graceful (something I’m usually not!) and with the manageable price tag I bought it there and then. When I returned home I excitedly called my mum, unfortunately she was fairly disappointed she hadn’t been there so insisted she take me shopping with my bridesmaids so I could have the wedding dress shopping experience every mother dreams of having with her daughter. I agreed but told her I wouldn’t find one I liked as much.
On the day it felt like I tried on every dress in the shop so the lady who was helping me asked for three words to describe what I was looking for, “elegant, fishtail and lacy” I replied. The lady wouldn’t let me look in the mirror as she dressed me so when I walked out of the dressing room I hadn’t seen what I looked like. All of my bridesmaids were speechless and my mum burst into tears. A pretty good reaction when you don’t know what you’re wearing!
Unfortunately the dress was strapless and I didn’t like that feature so for the next half hour the shop assistants brought me lace, ribbon and readymade straps to try on with it. None felt right so I came away with just the dress and a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach that even though it was the one, it wasn’t. It took me another 12 months to find the right material to make straps but I loved them when I did.
I carried a gypsophila and hydrangea bouquet tied with brown string and green ribbon which matched my bridesmaids’ dresses. They were supplied by Simply Flowers of Alnwick.
My bridesmaids wore a long, strapless green chiffon dress which was bought over the internet from a specialist bridesmaid dress designer.
I knew the most important part of the wedding, apart from getting married of course, for me was the photographer. I am an amateur photographer myself and have photographed a few friends weddings so I knew that I wanted the best of the best to photograph my wedding. I first saw Lissa’s work at a wedding fair in Leeds and fell in love immediately and knew I had to have this person as my photographer. When Lissa came back to the stand she was so lovely and helpful we booked her there and then. Other than getting married in the first place it was the best decision we made!
She was fabulous in the run up to, on the day and afterwards. I would recommend her to anyone looking for a wedding photographer. My guests really enjoyed her company, she made everyone feel at ease and she captured moments that most people didn’t even notice happened. We couldn’t have asked for a better service!
We spent the afternoon before the wedding with a select few of our guests dressing the venue so it was exactly how we wanted it to be. All the effort was worth it, we love how it turned out and the small touches are what our family and friends still talk about!
My brother has set up his own upcycling business and made our ceremony décor, the bulbs with flowers in where his own creation and beautiful they looked too!
We gave out mini shot bottles filled with flavoured vodka. Casey and I met while working at Revolution Bar in Lancaster. Casey was the assistant manager there and I was working on the bar so it felt appropriate to incorporate that into our wedding somehow. We bought the vodka from the actual vodka factory where Revolution make the different flavours of vodka that they sell in their bars and decanted it into smaller bottles. It went down a storm with most of the guests although some found the flavours a little strong for them!
We chose a four layer cake: chocolate, lemon and raspberry, red velvet and fruit cake. All of which are our favourite flavours – we couldn’t choose between them. Our cake was made as a gift by Casey’s cousin Leanne. She is a professional cake maker and brought it all the way from Reading for us! She decorated it in a new style she hadn’t tried before for us so but I think you’ll agree she did an excellent job!
We had been to a wedding a few years ago where they had a live band, after having a brilliant time we decided this was the way forward for us. We spent hours on the internet listening to previews of different bands and finally found a band that made us want to dance.
The Shakedown Band North East made our wedding incredibly special. They kept the dance floor full for the whole evening and we have had numerous people come to us asking for their contact details. We would highly recommend them for a great night of dancing!
Our bridesmaids and a few friends decided to surprise us with a flashmob! They recorded a video and sent it to various family members and friends. On the night they sat us down and on came the three bridesmaids singing the first lines to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” gradually other people joined in and eventually the whole dance floor was filled with our nearest and dearest singing to us.
It was brilliant and the first moment I actually took stock of what the whole day meant to us. All we had wanted was to have the people we loved around us as we made a commitment to each other. Only when we saw how much effort they had gone through for us did we truly realise what they all meant to us.
The venue was stunning- in the day time you felt like you were part of the garden and in the evening with the venue and fountain lit up it felt like being transported into a fairy tale.
We enjoyed all the parts of the garden from the ornamental garden with its huge cast iron gates to the meadow of purple flowers and the castle turrets which make up the garden walls. Each area adds a different feature to the photographs we had taken and allowed our guests to take some time away from the festivities to explore.
My favourite part of the day was hammering the nails into our “Love letter Box”. A box filled with a bottle of wine we bought the day we were engaged and a love letter from each of us. We plan to only open the box if we get to the point of no return or on our 35th wedding anniversary.
Casey says his favourite part of the day was seeing me for the first time on the beach. He said it was a relief that I’d turned up and the first moment he felt calm all day.
We went to Disney World in Florida for the first week of our honeymoon. We like to have fun so decided to “do Disney” one last time. The second week we spent at my aunt’s house in Clearwater, Florida relaxing – if you can call it that! We hired a car, played golf, went sightseeing up and down the coast, and ate out far too many times. The third week we went to the Kennedy Space Centre and Universal Studios.
We had a lot of fun but felt like we needed another holiday afterwards!
Our top tip for other Brides Up North is to take ten minutes together during the evening reception to have a walk through the garden and have a drink together. One of our friends found me and told me to go and find Casey to do this – it was a brilliant tip and I would recommend this to anyone who is getting married. You are pulled in so many directions all day on your wedding day that spending a small amount of time with your husband to reflect on the day is invaluable.
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