September 26th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Hey, hey its only bloomin’ Friday! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a breather.
Lets get out in the fresh air and join Joanne and Brendan for their fresh and vibrant countryside wedding.
Just what the doctor ordered.
With images by Brides Up North Featured Supplier, James Tracey Photography.
Joanne says: We got engaged at The Abode Hotel, Chester on the 17th February 2012.
Brendan left for work early one morning as normal. I got up an hour later, walked to the bathroom and found an envelope taped to the door! In the envelope was a letter from Brendan explaining how I wasn’t going to work that day as he had booked it off for me (with the help of my friend at work). I was told to pack a bag for a night away and would be picked up at 11am. Brendan had even included the weather forecast for the mystery location so I could plan as well as a menu for a restaurant we were going to that night! Brendan picked me up as planned (he’d had to hang around in Tesco for four hours!) and we set off…I still didn’t know where we were going. Eventually it became clear we were heading for Chester.
We went for an amazing lunch at Piccolino’s, complete with Prosecco! We then made our way to The Abode Hotel by the racecourse, checking into an amazing luxury bedroom! I started unpacking my bag and could hear Brendan rustling through his and I thought “What is he doing?!” Next thing I hear is Brendan say, “Joanne”. I turned around and he was on one knee! “You know I don’t have a way with words…will you marry me?”
Brendan has since told me that he got a bit worried because it took a while for me to say yes between the tears!
We got married at St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Chorley, Lancashire on Friday 20th June 2014. The church has always been special to me as my Grandma used to take me there when I young and her funeral was held there as well as our Niece’s Christening. The inside of the Church is absolutely gorgeous and Father Stanley is really down to earth and approachable.
We had our reception at Marsh Farm Hall in Great Eccleston. We went for this venue due to Brendan wanting to organise all of the catering at the wedding himself! Brendan has worked in the catering industry all of his life and has run so many weddings, so his had to be the best he’s ever done. Marsh Farm Hall allowed him to plan the whole food service from scratch!
We went for a vintage/shabby chic look to fit in with the style of our reception venue. The hall itself is a gorgeous bare-stone wall room, with a beautiful bar area. There is so much land surrounding the property, which made it an easy choice to go for natural colours. I made all of the wedding stationery myself with the help of my Sister, using Kraft card, cream lace and hessian string. I can change my mind with colours quite a lot so I didn’t want to go with a colour in case I went off it! We also thought a neutral theme would suit the venue.
My dress was Amanda Wyatt “Felicia”. I had no idea what style I wanted and went with a completely open mind. It worked though as it was the one and only shop I went to! The Felicia was the last dress I spotted on the way to the changing room and the first I tried on… none of the others compared to it (luckily my sister is very honest and would just laugh when a dress didn’t suit me)! I loved everything about it – the fit, the lace overlay and just enough sparkle!
I carried a simple ball of gypsophila (Baby’s Breath) bouquet, from Flowers in Thyme based at Heskin Hall in Chorley.
Brendan got his suit from Slaters in Preston. He went for a grey suit with tails, with a cream waistcoat. To keep it a bit more modern, he opted for a tie instead of cravat. He looked so handsome.
Our bridesmaids (both of Brendan’s sisters, with my sister as maid of honour) wore dresses from Monsoon. They were a cornflower blue. Our flower girl, Eva (our Niece) wore a gorgeous little dress with sewn on flowers with diamantes from Debenhams.
Both of our Dad’s and Brendan’s groomsmen, including our Nephew, Lennon who was pageboy, wore the same suit as Brendan’s but with grey waistcoats. All of their ties and pocket handkerchiefs were specially made to match the bridesmaid colours (it turned out to be a nightmare to try and match the colour).
James Tracey did our photographs. I found James on the internet about a year before the wedding and his photos stood out.
We could not praise or recommend him enough! For a couple who aren’t really comfortable in front of the camera, we chose James for his natural style of photographs, getting the shots without people realising it. He made us feel so relaxed on the day and even managed to get Eva to pose!
We used gypsophila wreaths inside the birdcages (from Dunelm) on the tables. We also had small vases of gypsophila along the top table. I bought the vases from Home Bargains (they definitely were bargains at 50p a vase!) and Flowers in Thyme dressed them for us.
The tables and chairs were dressed by Create and Cherish – Incorporating Cherish Wedding Services from Chorley. As I didn’t want to have a colour in the theme, I wanted to keep things neutral. Kirsten was so helpful in working out which fabrics would work. The room looked amazing! We had lace on the chairs with brooches on each one.
We became a bit stuck about what to get as favours, knowing we wouldn’t really find anything that would suit men and women, so instead we went for something that would look good on the tables and were a bit different! We went to Birkacre Garden Centre in Chorley and ordered a mixture of 60 herb plants. Our Mums then re-potted them into some terracotta pots we bought online. The Groomsmen then had the job to wrap them with cellophane the night before… speedily so they could watch the England match!
Five of our Grandparents are no longer with us, but we wanted them to a part of the day. We got some photos of them all and put them together with a message “We know you’d be here today if Heaven wasn’t so far away”. This was proudly displayed at the entrance door.
The food is where Brendan came into his own! I knew this was where I had to take a step back and completely trust his ideas. We both love our food so Brendan took a lot of time over choosing the perfect menu including Chicken Liver Parfait, Fillet of Beef (accompanied by a Herb Rosti, Glazed Parmentier Potatoes, Chantenay Carrots and Baby Asparagus with a Red Wine Jus) and Lemon Possett, washed down with a selection of cheeses, coffee and chocolates.
With the help from my Dad and his friend Ahmed, Brendan made mini “wine crates” for the starter to be served in. He ordered personalised stencils with “Quirke Dootson Est. 2004 Blackpool” (we met in 2004 in Blackpool). They were amazing! They also doubled up as another favour for guests to take away.
The meal absolutely blew everyone away! Paul (the chef) did us so proud and we could not have had a more perfect meal!
Our guests had red and white wine on the tables. The white was Quirky Bird Chenin Blanc Semillon Muscat – I spotted it in Tesco and loved the fact I was about to become a “Quirky Bird” (surname Quirke!) so had to have it! It turned out to be quite a nice wine too! Our red was the only wine I have managed to get Brendan to drink with me…Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva.
For the toast we had Blanc de Bleu sparkling wine. My dad and I are huge Manchester City fans, so this was my only way I was allowed to get blue into the wedding!
We bought a few outdoor games, including Twister for the kids (and bigger kids!) to play with to make the most of the nice weather!
We chose a DJ Brendan has worked with quite a lot, so knew how good he was, Paul Atkinson from Ice Entertainment. He was brilliant, even mingled with guests on the dance floor! He got a great mix of music which meant the dance floor was full most of the night!
We also had a photo booth in the evening, from Boothtube. Being a City fan… I sneaked Joe Hart and Yaya Toure masks into the accessories box!
We would definitely recommend Marsh Farm Hall – for any event!
Emma and her family were so helpful, letting Brendan get on with the set up and helping out when needed. We even had comments from family and friends about how nice Emma was and how she couldn’t do enough for everyone on the day.
They even got us a couple of presents – a newspaper from the day we got married and a bottle of wine with a personalised label.
We just need an excuse for another party there!
Our parents were an amazing help running up to the wedding… without them and all of their help the day would not have been as amazing as it was!
For our honeymoon, we had two weeks in Cala Llonga, Ibiza at the Fiesta Hotel Cala Llonga.
Brendan and I went on our first holiday together in Ibiza ten years earlier and fell in love with it! On that holiday, we went on a boat trip round to Cala Llonga one day – after booking the honeymoon we found a picture of Brendan in the sea, with our honeymoon hotel in the background.
As a treat for Brendan, I booked us tickets to watch Lily Allen at Ibiza Rocks. My sister and her partner then gave us some money as our wedding present, with strict instructions to get Tiny Tempah tickets too (my treat!)! We had such a great time on the VIP balcony!
My top tips for other Brides Up North would be to take in every minute! It’s scary how quickly it can all become a blur! Make sure your Groom doesn’t throw out his speech… I would love to be able to read Brendan’s again, and make sure you get plenty of photos (even selfies!) with all your loved ones.
August 6th, 2014 | Julia Braime
This afternoon wedding photographer Samantha Broadley finds herself on the other side of the lens, as she shares her bright and beautiful (destination) wedding in Manchester with Brides Up North.
With images by Victoria Franks Photography.
Samantha says: We were married on 26th July 2013. I’ve always wanted a summer wedding in the hope we might get some sunshine, and we did!
We tied the knot at Manchester Town Hall. Neither of us are from Manchester but it is where we met and where we have started our lives together, so Manchester will always have a special place in our hearts. As well as the exterior of the building the interior is beautiful and believe it or not, not a lot of people have been inside. None of our guests had a clue what it was like, so they were blown away with the grandeur of it all. The reception was at The Mere Golf Resort and Spa, just because it’s quite simply beautiful, and had all the facilities we wanted.
We didn’t have a specific theme, but a lot did revolve around Manchester. My invites and name cards for the tables all had Manchester skyline on them. Our table names were places we’d been together that were special, for example, Brooklyn Bridge as we walked across there for my 21st, Syndey ANZ Stadium as we watched Australia v New Zealand there (Ben’s a big rugby fan) and our top table was of course Manchester Town Hall.
Being a wedding photographer, I have seen lots of different colour themes and I wanted something different. I would have loved to get married abroad but our grandparents wouldn’t have been able to fly and it was important to us to have them there. I wanted to bring the brightness and boldness of a destination wedding to Manchester, so I chose shades of teal with coral and pink flowers.
I chose a Mori Lee dress from The Bridal Collection in Lancaster. I was torn between two dresses, both completely different. One had a lot of lace detail and was a fish tail, the other had more ruffles and had a sweet heart neckline. I decided to go for the ruffles as it reminded me of a Spanish flamenco dress, again bringing the abroad feel back in for me.
Ben wore a light grey three piece suit from Slaters in Manchester. We bought the suits instead of hiring them, after all he’s more likely to wear his suit again than I am to wear my dress.
The Bridesmaid dresses were from In Wedding Dress, I was very conscious of the price of the bridesmaids dresses as I had six attendants, so I spent a lot of time researching.
I’m not very good with flowers, knowing the names and what’s in season. I just found a few pictures of the sort of bouquet I liked, I showed the lovely florists my pictures and colour ideas at Lune Valley Home & Garden Florist and they came up with the rest. My trust in them was well placed my flowers were beautiful.
Decor wise, I bought paper lanterns which were hung in the trees outside in the garden at The Mere Golf Resort with fairy lights wrapped round the terrace. We dotted some vintage style tea light holders around the tables outside. We had table flowers included in our package and I just paid a bit extra to have a few more flowers added. The entertainment was more important to me rather than decorating the room.
For the ceremony and for the arrival drinks we booked a singer and guitarist called Rob Yates, I’ve seen him at a number of other weddings and I’ve always loved what he does.
We also had a singing waiter, Jamie Reeves. After being to so many weddings I know there can be a little lull after the desserts waiting for the speeches and this is when Jamie came in. He was a complete surprise to everyone especially as he’d been serving most of them earlier. Only Ben, my maid of honour and I knew about him, so to see everyone’s faces was so funny.
We knew what we wanted from the very beginning for our favours. Ben sadly lost his Dad when he was 11 to Cancer so instead of spending money on little presents for everyone we donated money to Cancer Research and we had the ribbon badges. It’s lovely looking back at the pictures as everyone’s wearing them so in a way it’s like Ben’s Dad was there.
Ben and I are known for having parties and making Vodka Jellies, so we couldn’t have the biggest party of our lives go without them. They were supposed to be welcome drinks for our evening guests but I don’t think they got a look in!
The transport was very important to me on the day and my dad let us use his pride and joy, his Mercedes SL convertible. I was praying for sunshine so we could have the roof down and it worked. My Dad drove me from The Mere Golf Resort where we got ready to the Town Hall, it was nice as we got time completely on our own. Then after the Ceremony Ben drove me back and my Dad had a ‘Just Married’ reg plate made for the photographs which was a nice surprise.
Being a photographer the photographs where at the top of my to do list so as soon as I had the venues booked the photographer was next, as I know how soon dates can go. I chose my friend Victoria Franks Photography. I was more than happy with the photographs. On the day she was amazing, it’s so important you get along with your photographer as you do spend a lot of time with them on the day, so it’s good to have someone you can feel relaxed and have a laugh with.
We loved all of it, but I thinkmy favourite moment was the first dance. When Ben proposed he also bought me tickets to see Coldplay at the Etihad in Manchester and it was amazing. We wanted to relive that experience for our first dance so chose ‘Paradise’. Everyone loved it and got involved, all the people you love on one dance first floor, perfect.
We went travelling in 2009 and one of the places we never got to was Malaysia so it was on the top of our list when it came to our honeymoon. As the weather over there isn’t great in July we went to Palma in Majorca for a mini moon for three nights the day after the wedding but I couldn’t wait for the main one. We went away for three weeks over Christmas and New Year. It was nice to have a break between the wedding and the real honeymoon, it meant it wasn’t all over straight away.
We started off in Kuala Lumpur for 3 nights, then over to Langkawi for 8 Days, Penang for Christmas, finishing it off in our favourite place for New Years Eve in Singapore. It was all amazing, if only every holiday could be like that.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to make it as personal as you can, don’t get wrapped up in what a wedding ‘should be’ and do what you both want to do.
June 23rd, 2014 | Julia Braime
Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break to redesign, review and recharge, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely.
Usual service will recommence on Monday 7th July 2014, but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year. Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks.
I loved every moment of putting together Vicky & Paul’s Real Wedding feature back in February this year. You see, the bride and I go way back, as I used to go out with her lovely brother Neil at University. Although it didn’t work out for us (and Neil is now happily married himself to a gorgeous lady!) I’m glad to say that we still keep in touch, and that it did work out ever so well for Neil’s little sister Vicky and one of our Uni mates, Paul.
Knowing Vicky, I knew her wedding celebration was going to be big, colourful and offbeat… and couldn’t wait to see her submission. I was exactly right: Vicky and Paul’s wedding was a fabulous day full of feeling, personality, beauty and fun.
Bravo Mrs Hough!
With images by Andy Gaines.
Vicky says: Paul and I first met when I went to visit my brother Neil at University in 2003. We got together four years later in early 2007 after meeting up again and Paul plucked up the courage to ask my brother if he could go out with me!
Paul and I aren’t a very traditional couple and I suppose it follows that our engagement wasn’t either. One evening out of the blue and in the run up to our five year anniversary, Paul asked me to go online and pick out what my ideal engagement ring would look like. The task itself was easy as like many other girlfriends, I’d been looking at rings for months but this was the first time he’d ever uttered the ‘E’ word and I was beside myself with excitement. The fact, however, that it was a vintage ring not available to buy immediately online was something Paul was not prepared for. His solution was to take me to London to spend a day trying on diamond rings… it was tough, but I accepted the challenge! By a stroke of luck the exact ring I’d seen online was still there and after purchasing I was one happy bunny. However we still weren’t actually engaged yet so back it went into the box.
About a week later, we were getting ready to go out and I was running spectacularly late. Running downstairs with fluffy hair and makeup half on, I noticed that our song was playing, and as I turned the corner into the lounge, Paul was there on one knee. Paul has never been one for grand romantic gestures, and you know what, getting engaged in our little house, listening to our song, with just the two of us, was perfect
Our wedding day was the day of the deluge – 6th September 2013. After decorating the hall in temperatures pushing 30 degrees on the Thursday, my heart sunk when I woke to a total downpour and grey skies on our wedding day. However, once the day got into full flow, the rain added a comedy element (watching people running under the cover of umbrellas), a dramatic element (fabulously moody skies in our photos) and ultimately created a fantastic cosy, party atmosphere for the meal and evening dancing. Plus as my friend texted me ‘Better that 2 beautiful people get married in the rain, than 2 mingers get married in the sun’ – brilliant!
We chose to say “I do” at a beautifully refurbished old barn at East Riddlesden Hall, Yorkshire.
I’m a country lass, growing up in the wilds of Norfolk and I desperately wanted to get married in somewhere I felt had that element of the countryside. Now finding a barn in Norfolk would have pretty easy but our hearts were set on getting wed in the county we had met and begun our lives together. Despite its proximity to the Dales, there are few barns to choose from in reach of Leeds, so we weren’t sure what we’d find at East Riddlesden Hall. Our first trip there was a gloriously sunny day and the place combined a sense of rural beauty and aged grandeur. Emma, who is the wedding planner was so helpful and relaxed, taking on board all our ideas and answering our questions. It is pretty fair to say that we were smitten as soon as we entered the barn. Even undecorated, the place looks stunning; with exposed beams, flagstone floors and whitewashed walls dotted with tiny windows. As a keen crafty-type, the thought of such a beautiful blank canvas to work on was a dream come true. The venue is also run by the National Trust and the thought that we were investing in the future of such a beautiful place was the icing on the cake.
It must be said that the staff at ERH are brilliant and they have put so much work into making this a fantastic wedding venue. Particular thanks go to Emma and Sam who were on hand to chauffeur people and perform emergency cake decorating duties. The in-house bar run by ERH served a great selection of drinks, including locally brewed beers, much to my husband’s delight. Having such dedicated staff all working tirelessly, made a huge difference to the day.
I began by actively rebelling against having a theme as I am, by nature, unable to decide on any one thing (except for a husband of course). Our wedding motto was ‘good music, good food and good times’. I knew I didn’t want anything matchy-matchy (I always think that allowing things to be a little rough round the edges means you can be a bit more flexible!). Plus as we decided to get married in a beautiful old barn, anything too polished would have looked out of place. We just wanted ourselves and our guests to feel relaxed, included and have an awesome time.
As time went on and my Pinterest account bulged with pictures that had caught my eye, I realised that bright colours and handmade details kept appearing in my selections. I decided that whilst I wouldn’t outlaw any particular colours, I would focus on blues, purples, white and add touches of gold (if only to force me in making decisions on decorations). I have always been obsessed by peacock feathers so they played a big role in tying decorations together too.
The glamorous and very lovely Anna Stephenson was a joy to have doing my hair and makeup. We spent the entire trial run chatting and laughing and the final look was exactly as I wanted. Anna and Lucy turned up early and were so flexible with how we wanted to organise the morning, it put me at ease and I absolutely loved the whole getting ready part of the day. Despite a lot of dancing and a bit of limboing, both hair and makeup stayed put the entire day.
The dress! Such a big decision! And one I made in a single day! I spent hours, nay days, looking at dresses – shapes, lengths, decorations, straps – the choice is bewildering and I had absolutely no idea what I wanted. Facing this uncertainty, I decided to leave my first wedding dress shop until my mum could accompany me. Now one of my mum’s best qualities is that she wears her heart on her sleeve. After 14 dresses, none of them were meeting with much excitement. That is until I tried on an ivory crinkle chiffon, one strap, corset dress with sweetheart neckline at Confetti and Lace in Stanningley. After looking in the mirror and deciding I really quite liked this one, I looked up at Mum who had tears rolling down her face. Either I looked bloody awful and she was in despair, or it was ‘the one’. Luckily after a few moments I established it was the latter and I bought it on the spot. The women at Confetti and Lace were fantastic and helped me alter the dress by removing all crystal detailing and the strap, so the individualist in me is quite proud to say my dress is a one off.
With such a clean cut dress, the detailing in my outfit came from a fascinator I made with blue, purple and white flowers decorated with pearls. My shoes were bright blue vintage style sling backs from Rocket Dog. For my jewellery, I decided to wear a gold chain with my grandmothers’ wedding rings hung on it, so I could feel like they were part of the day. As a wedding gift, Mum also gave me a gold heart locket that had belonged to my grandmother who had worn it almost every day. I felt a strange mix of sadness and pride, and the fact the Mum was giving it to me was very, very, special indeed.
Paul wore a gorgeous bright blue fitted 3-piece suit from Reiss with brown brogues from Hudson. I may be biased but I thought he looked pretty damn handsome.
I wanted my bridesmaids to feel comfortable and glamorous so opted for navy blue 1940s style dresses from Phase Eight. I then bought them some amazing chunky necklaces from Ashley at TheEnchantedOwl on Etsy, sent all the way from Georgia, USA. The bright purple looped in the colours from the decorations and the girls all looked beautiful!
The groomsmen all wore grey 3-piece suits hired from Slaters. They were accessorised with purple ties, Hawaiian-print pocket squares and my homemade peacock feather buttonholes tied with navy blue ribbon.
I carried a beautiful mix of flowers by the ever so lovely Lynne of Stems Design. Deep pink Celoxia, bright blue Nigella, light pink astilbe, Blue Veronica, Scabious, Blue Wax, Cornflower, various grasses, tiny succulents and of course, peacock feathers. Lynne was a joy to work with, so enthusiastic and full of ideas – the final result was stunning.
I was originally planning on going down in a taxi with my bridesmaids but my Dad took an uncharacteristic step in intervening. He said that he would arrange my transport but refused to reveal what it would be. I had nightmarish visions of going side-saddle on a horse or riding pillion on a quadbike. As it turns out, my Dad and Brother, Neil (who was also our best man) had spent the previous night decorating Neil’s car with white ribbons, stashing a bottle of champagne in the back seat and recording an eclectic pre-wedding message and playlist. Little did I imagine that the last song I would hear before I entered the world of marriage would be Gangnam Style!
It was a very special time to have with Dad, who drove us. He was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of the year and I am fiercely proud of how he dealt with it with humour and love, having a precious few minutes talking and laughing with just the two of us was very important to me.
Wedding readings were really hard to decide on – we wanted to strike a balance between celebratory, real and emotional but absolutely not smush. After much searching we opted for the lyrics from Noah and the Whale’s ‘Give a Little Love’ and an extract from ‘The Game’. There were many chins a quiver by the end – it really was a memorable moment.
Special thanks must go to Geoff, our fantastic registrar from Keighley Council. He completely put us at ease, conducted the ceremony with heart and humour.
Paul and I are super foodies, not in the foams and micro-herb type of way but in the yummy, fill-you-up type of way. With this in mind, the food at our wedding was pretty important and the fine fayre served up by the people at GFS Catering was exceptionally good. Goat’s cheese tarts for starters, Lamb shanks and mash for mains and chocolate profiteroles for pudding were all delicious crowd-pleasers. An evening buffet of sausage baps and halloumi pittas served to mop up some of the great selection of drinks also served up by GFS with the help of the brilliant Martinez Wines in Ilkley. Special thanks to Alex from GFS who was such a great help on the day, finding alternatives to unknown food allergies and making sure each course flowed into the next seamlessly.
Cake wasn’t high on our priorities so we used up some vouchers and opted for three layers of M&S loveliness. I then decorated with homemade flower crown and mini glitter bunting. All in all a pretty little cake which cost us less than £10! In the end I’m glad we didn’t spend loads on the cake, because by the time it came to try it, it had all gone!
Andy Gaines, our photographer, was the very first wedding-related enquiry I made, even before we had a date or a venue. His photographs are stunning. They have this gritty yet ethereal quality that I find fascinating. Plus Andy himself is a blooming lovely chap – so welcoming, unobtrusive and damn talented. Andy worked like a ninja-trooper on our wedding day, capturing shots whilst keeping out of the way and staying from morning ‘til way past everyone’s bedtimes in order to capture our day. Everyone has commented on how awesome the pictures are, with even my normally-bored-silly-by-photos Dad confessing and I quote, ‘Fantastic photos – absolutely brill. Can’t wait to see the rest!’. Andy’s gone from strength to strength in the two years we’ve known him and it’s not hard to see why.
We employed the fantastic talents of Rachel from Simply Vintage to help us decorate the huge space. Rachel strung a plethora of fairy lights, colourful pom poms with peacock feathers and white lace bunting across the beams. I then decided to make a lot of the decorations myself, including props for the tables, peacock name places and adding little splashes of our personalities across the barn, including photographs of my grandparents on their wedding days. I think however, the biggest and most complex decoration was our sequin LOVE sign. This beast was lovingly crafted out of gold sprayed MDF letters and sequins individually nailed on. It took a hell of a lot of work but looked pretty darn good strung up on the barn beams and glistening in the fairy lights.
Without a doubt the speeches was my favourite part of the day. 2013 was a tough year having had both my Dad and Paul’s Mum diagnosed with cancer within a couple of months of each other. Dad’s speech was emotional – not only because of what we were going through at the time but because it reaffirmed just how much I owe to my fantastic family. He laughed about my unrivalled ability to be untidy, spoke about the time I drew a picture of him stark naked much to the disapproval of my nursery teachers (but to the hilarity of my parents!) and how he was so proud of me despite having no idea what my job title actually means.
Paul’s speech talked of how he did the unthinkable and asked out his best friend’s sister, how darn well it had all worked out and even how despite his hatred of clichés, he thought we were made for each other!
Then it was the turn of my older brother Neil to give the best man’s speech. I wondered if he might take this opportunity for the ultimate teasing of his little sister but I needn’t have worried as he mostly concentrated on his best friend and long-time drinking partner, my husband! Superbly written and with touches of comic brilliance, it was the ultimate tribute to Paul and I being both deeply personal and evoking fantastic memories. I will always be thankful to him for the effort he put into the speech. Oh and not to forget our wedding present – a canvas featuring our Back to Future drinking game– rather nattily named by myself as ‘Flux Incapacitated’ – I thank you!
Music is big in our house, so we always knew it would feature a lot in the wedding. We employed the gorgeous sounds of the Northern String Quartet for the ceremony, playing a mixture of old and new for the waiting guests. I walked down the aisle to ‘Here Comes the Sun’ which was just gorgeous. During the signing were the sublime ‘One Day like this’, God only knows’, and ‘All you need is Love’. Then I entered the world as Mrs Hough to sounds of ‘Hoppipolla’ which was such an uplifting way to end the ceremony.
For the evening, we had the brilliant City Lights who blew our socks off with a great mix of modern tunes and some classic floor fillers, kicking off the set with a stonking rendition of ‘Got my mind set on you’ by George Harrison.
The evening celebrations were added to by some unorthodox entertainment in the form of glow sticks. What was an off the cuff purchase reminiscent of my raving days, became the biggest success of the day. Never did I think I’d witness friends of my parents fighting over who would get the glow bunny ears! The glow stick limbo was a total stroke of genius and made for some memorable photos!
We decided to delay our honeymoon both because we had no money left and the weather in Thailand is much better at this time of the year. So in but a few weeks time, we’ll be heading off to Thai cities and shorelines.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to decide where you want to focus your efforts and your money – for us it was the look and feel of the venue, excellent food and awesome music. Wedding preparation is hard so don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to do too much. I absolutely adored being engaged and putting my heart and soul into planning our wedding day and I’m so glad we had the time to enjoy it all.
Congratulations Vicky & Paul!
Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014
This is not a sponsored post
June 19th, 2014 | Julia Braime
This afternoon we join Sarah & Paul for their sun-drenched, monochrome, marquee celebration in the Lake District. The happy couple kept proceedings classy and sharp before tearing up the dance floor!
With images by Mick Cookson Photography.
Sarah says: We got engaged in August 2013 at The Waterhead Hotel, Coniston. Paul took me away for the weekend as a surprise (as I had spoken about how beautiful the Lake District is). He proposed to me on a small pier over Lake Coniston.
We were married on 17th May 2014. We chose May as it always seems to be nice weather that month! We chose Silverholme Manor or the Graythwaite Estate as they allow you to do whatever you like and the scenery is absolutely gorgeous!
Our theme was music – a passion that Paul & I share! We chose a classy, simple black and white colour scheme.
I chose a fishtail, ivory lace wedding dress from The Wedding Factory Outlet in Bolton. I fell in love with the shape of the gown and it’s open back.
I carried a bouquet of Picasso cala lilies from Deborah’s Florist, and our table decorations were vintage birdcages with floral designs inside them.
Mick Cookson was our photographer. I would definitely recommend him as he takes beautiful, amazing pictures and I didn’t notice him all day. He made feel completely at ease.
For me, seeing Paul’s face as I walked down the aisle was my favourite part. It made me feel complete and full to burst of love.
Our wedding cake was a three tier sponge, decorated with a cascade of roses and lilies from Sugar Ruffles in Barrow-In-Furness.
For our wedding breakfast we used Karen Rhodes Catering. The food was all locally sourced and of very high quality.
James Fletcher Marquee Hire provided our marquee, they were so professional during the lead up to the wedding and when setting up. The black and white dance floor was a must have!
After the wedding they went to St Lucia for a week and stayed at Ansi Chastenet. It was complete paradise! We lounged on the beach all week.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be not to worry too much about your plans, it will all work out on the day!
Congratulations Sarah and Paul!
This is not a sponsored post
May 28th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Today’s Real Wedding is just lovely.
Claire and John’s celebration was cute, stylish, personal and full of fun… with plenty of prosecco! Just the way we like ‘em around these parts.
With images by Andy Hudson Photography.
Claire says: We got engaged in November 2012 when we were on holiday at Clavell Tower in Kimmeridge, Dorset. Clavell Towell is an old observatory folly. It was restored by the Landmark Trust in 2006.
It’s a very special, atmospheric place especially as the tower is perched on the top of a high cliff and there were gale force winds and torrential rain for most of the time we were there! It was a perfect place to enjoy our special time together before sharing our news with family and friends.
We were married on Saturday 1st February 2014. We had our ceremony at St Charles RC Church, Gosforth which was followed by a party at The Biscuit Factory.
We wanted to get married in Newcastle because it is where our home is. Father O’Connor made us feel especially welcome into our local church. We love visiting The Biscuit Factory and it is one of our favourite places. We wanted to share it with our family and friends (especially the ones who do not live in Newcastle). We love eating and the Food Social restaurant had always impressed us. We liked the opportunity to design our own menu with all of our favourite things! We ate Tempura King Prawns, Rosemary and thyme marinated rump of lamb (with garlic mash) and sticky toffee pudding.
We did not have a theme although we did end up using a lot of brown Kraftcard! We stamped our guests names onto luggage labels and our invitations, order of service and menus were printed onto simple Kraftcard.
We wanted the day to be simple and relaxed and most of all fun.
Hilary Whitham did our make-up… she is amazing! My friend Sarah did our hair, which was lovely.
My dad actually recommended this shop to me because he has driven past and thought the window display looked very elegant!
I wasn’t even sure I wanted to wear a ‘wedding dress’ but knew I did not want a strapless dress. The Bronwyn Marie was made of exquisite lace, fitted me perfectly and was very comfortable. I loved the buttons all of the way up the back (and would like to thank my lovely friends Helen, Amy and Megan for helping me get into it on time… Helen can tell you exactly how many buttons there were!)
I did not feel ‘ready’ until I had all of my accessories on. I felt like they were a big part of my whole outfit. I had a clutch bag instead of a bouquet and I also had a long pearl necklace which I bought years ago when I was on holiday with my mum. The talented Kelly from Tantrums and Tiaras made a pearl brooch to match my necklace which I wore on the ribbon belt around my waist.
I usually wear glasses so was a bit nervous about not wearing them (people who always wear glasses will understand this). I felt much more confident with my beautiful cap/birdcage veil from Sasso and even though I had not planned to have any form of veil I felt like it complemented my outfit perfectly.
I also wore a faux fur jacket for getting too and from the church. This is something that I would never usually wear but I loved it.
John wore a three piece navy suit from Slaters in Newcastle. They altered it so it fitted him perfectly. He also had new shoes. He looked very handsome. His best man and ushers wore their own suits.
My sister and John’s sister were our bridesmaids (they are both called Helen which is a bit confusing). They chose their own dresses which were navy blue maxi dresses from Monsoon. We wanted them to feel comfortable on the day.
William our nephew was our page boy and was very trendy and Lily was our beautiful flower girl. Lily also chose her own outfit and even though her mum (our good friend Alex) wanted her to buy a blue bridesmaid dress we thought that Lily’s choice of a sparkly skirt and top with a furry shrug from Monsoon was perfect! She was very excited.
Our friends Carol and Dean gave me and my Dad a lift to the church in their posh white Landrover.
My favourite part of the day was seeing John for the first time (he said ‘wow’). We both also really loved the ceremony itself as Father O’Connor made it relaxed and personal. I enjoyed getting ready in the morning with my lovely friends and family. We loved seeing the Biscuit Factory all prepared for us, eating the amazing food and dancing… so all of it really.
Our photographer was the lovely Andy Hudson. We love the photos and felt that Andy made us and our guests feel very relaxed. We also loved our pre-wedding photos.
We had yummy prosecco in the church porch after the ceremony and a vintage route master bus (booked via Coach Direct Ltd) transported our lovely guests together with us to The Biscuit Factory.
We had lots of mojito cocktails, prosecco and local beer from Wylam Brewery when we arrived at the Biscuit Factory. We knew we were going to have a good party when The Biscuit Factory asked if the could replenish the cocktails within 30 minutes of arriving!
Our beautiful white tulips on the tables were designed and made up by our lovely talented friend Cheryl Ford as a wedding gift. We were utterly speechless when we saw the Biscuit Factory set up for us… it was so much better that we had ever imagined!
We had Polaroid cameras with silly props for people to have fun with and leave us with some very happy memories and we had hired J&C light up letters from Doris Loves and they really suited the industrial look of The Biscuit Factory.
We had a giant Colin the Caterpillar cake from Marks and Spencer!
The fantabulous Maverick Rejects were our chosen band. Their manager Sean was superb and made sure that everything ran smoothly. He even thought of things that we would have never even considered – like setting up during our church ceremony so they would not interrupt our celebrations.
The band were absolutely amazing and full of energy. They rocked the dance floor and were a big part of our day being so much fun.
For our honeymoon we went cross country and downhill skiing in Norway. It was very cold, very snowy and very beautiful. We loved it.
We booked our honeymoon through Ski Safari. Andy Hemingway was very helpful.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to relax… and enjoy having all of your favourite people being in the same place at the same time… just for you!
Congratulations Claire & John!
This is not a sponsored post
March 24th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Welcome to another week Brides Up North! Any “I do”s over the weekend?
This was Team Brides Up North’s first weekend off in quite a long while, and I spent it catching up on sleep, enjoying some quality family time and sampling a few real ales at our village beer festival. Although I still prefer a chilled Sauvignon Blanc, there’s definitely a place in my life for a pint of pale ale, a pork pie and peas and rocking out to a questionable The Killers tribute act with my one year old on my hip of a Saturday afternoon!
However you spent yours, I hope it was glorious.
Talking of great occasions, let’s get things kicked off around here with a trip to Cheshire to celebrate the nuptials of Sarah & Gavin, who wanted a pretty yet modern feel for their big day. Here at wedding blog HQ we are loving Sarah’s gown – which proves that lace and tulle can look contemporary as well as vintage. Just lovely.
With images by Amanda Balmain.
Sarah says: We got engaged on my birthday in January 2012 in Barcelona, where Gav had taken me for a birthday weekend away, and we were married don 26th October 2013 at Statham Lodge Country House Hotel in Lymm, Cheshire.
We wanted a venue where we could hold the whole day and night without doing any travelling and where we and our guests could stay overnight. We looked at lots of places but Statham Lodge was our favourite from the start. The building and grounds were beautiful and we liked that there were different rooms for each part of the day and evening so we felt like we had plenty of space. It has lots of character but as it’s family run it felt quite intimate and not too grand, and the staff were so friendly and couldn’t do enough for us – they really made a difference to the day. We also got an amazing out of season package which included the food, drink, DJ… there wasn’t much we actually had to worry about!
I love lace so that was a thread which ran throughout everything, but I didn’t want to go down the vintage route so tried to keep it quite sleek, modern and laid back. Our colours were deep purple and grey. We really didn’t want ‘Cadbury’s purple’ which is a popular shade for weddings, so trying to find everything in the right shade was a challenge! It’s the one thing I was really particular about!
I chose a Blue by Enzoani dress which I bought from Dreamcatcher Bridal in Kirkham, Preston, and wore it with an amazing belt from Sash & Co. I loved the heavy lace top which was very fitted down to my hips, then the lace faded into a gorgeous tulle skirt which made me feel so special but not too over the top. The belt and lace trim veil I wore were both stunning and were the perfect finishing touches.
Gav and the groomsmen wore light grey three piece suits from Slaters, Liverpool, with deep purple ties and Gav wore a pale grey tie to set him apart from the others. They all looked so smart and the tie, rather than a cravat, made them look and feel much more laid back which is exactly what we wanted.
My three bridesmaids wore purple chiffon maxi dresses from H&M which were a real bargain and the colour was spot on! My lovely designer friend Amy Saville altered them to fit perfectly, adding an extra layer for length and adding the lace cap sleeves and V insert at the back which tied them in with the lace theme. They all looked so beautiful!
As we had the ceremony, wedding breakfast and evening reception in the same place we didn’t need to travel anywhere. I arrived at the venue with my Mum and Dad which was nice as we got to spend some time alone in the car on the way, and everyone met us there to get ready and start the day at Statham Lodge!
I carried a small teardrop bouquet made up of ivory mini orchids and freesias and a couple of deep purple flowers to match the colour theme. My bridesmaids carried small posies of ivory freesias and the Mum’s and groomsmen all had orchid button holes. Our flowers were by 2lips Florists in Stockton Heath.
The music during the ceremony made it really special for us, as we chose the string versions of some of our favourite songs. I walked down the aisle to the strings version of U2’s “With Or Without You” and it still makes me a bit teary when I hear it now!
Amanda Balmain was our photographer and is a genius at capturing those little moments and the general feeling of the day.
We tried to keep the day as small and personal as possible, so I made a lot myself, including the invitations, centre pieces, place names and favours. I made use of lots of small online retailers to source my many materials! The favours which were wine glass charms with each person’s initial as a charm.
My favourite part of our wedding was the speeches, I loved seeing everyone together, having a good time and enjoying the day. My Dad had been nervous about his speech since the minute we got engaged but I was so proud of him, and of Gav and his best man and brother, Jon, who all got the balance of emotional and funny just right! Gav says his favourite part was when I walked down the aisle, which is very sweet of him and despite concentrating so hard on not crying was also one of my favourite bits.
The casino by Fun Casino Royale before the evening ceremony was a lot of fun and kept that day to evening part really upbeat, and at night we just wanted everyone to dance so had Dave Buck as a DJ, who came as part of the Statham Lodge package and was brilliant!
Our honeymoon really was our trip of a lifetime, we went to San Francisco, Las Vegas, LA and finished with a week of all inclusive luxury in Mexico. It was really important to us to not get carried away and overspend on the wedding so we could go all out on our honeymoon and do a trip that we’ve always wanted to do, and the best decision we made was booking the honeymoon for January so we really stretched out the whole wedding experience and there were no January blues for us!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be: honestly, don’t stress! Do what you want to do and don’t worry too much about all the little details. People are there to see you get married and as long as you’re having the best time, so will they.
Congratulations Sarah & Gavin!
This is not a sponsored post
February 4th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Yes, that really is today’s bride and groom’s married name – Mr & Mrs Perfect. Don’t you love it. No pressure or anything..! Anyway, it turns out that their gorgeous Real Wedding in Manchester was pretty much that – a chic and simple and prettily perfect winter city wedding.
With images by Stella Photography.
Gemma says: Nigel asked me to marry him on 1st December 2012, on Llanmadoc beach in Wales, on a weekend away. It was a beautiful isolated beach on a lovely crisp winter’s day.
We were married on 23rd November 2013. We had the ceremony at Manchester Town Hall, and the reception at The Place Apartment Hotel, a converted cotton warehouse in central Manchester.
We wanted everything to be indoors, firstly because it is Manchester, so it was more than likely to rain, and secondly because of the time of year. We had looked at country locations, but decided that as we had so many guests coming not only from over this country but also from abroad, the city centre would be best for travel from the airport, train or the motorway. Also, we live very close to the city centre, so going in to see our wedding coordinator at the venue, and meeting local suppliers was so much easier than if we had picked somewhere far away. Manchester Town Hall is a stunning old building, with high stained glass windows so we felt it added to the occasion. The Place is beautifully restored, maintaining many original features such as red brick walls and steel columns.
Our theme was simplicity. The venue for the reception made it seem urban chic and we also teamed this with a vintage feel with the flower displays – very natural, in small glass bottles and jars – and hand-tied favours with luggage tag labels.
The wedding was mainly white and ivory, however my husband had decided that he wanted to wear his kilt, in the family tradition, so I picked a dark forest green for the bridesmaids to match this.
My dress was from The Staite Rooms in Huddersfield. It was a Maggie Sottero gown (Geneva), fitted to the waist and slightly over the hips, and had a long train. The top layer was a delicate lace with floral adornments, and a a band in light mocha under the bust, which made it look quite different to any I had seen before. I loved my long train! The dress was strapless which I didn’t think I would like when trying on dresses, but it fit beautifully with a lace-up back.
My bridesmaids wore full length forest green chiffon dresses from Fairytale Occasions in Bury. The groomsmen wore kilts in a similar style to my husband, our fathers wore black suits to match the kilt jackets. These were all hired from Slaters.
I had a fantastic hair & makeup artist come to make up myself, my bridesmaids, my mother and mother-in-law at the hotel, Jodie Smith, also based in Manchester.
January 16th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Things are looking really rosy red this week on Brides Up North aren’t they? First up, the sun baked celebration of Annie and Lee yesterday, and now a complete about turn with today’s stunning winter Real Wedding. Shot by Hayley Baxter Photography, Clare and Lee-John’s big day had all the hallmarks of the perfect Christmas wedding – red berries, a feather cape, a dress to die for, Christmas pudding, a ruby red carriage and a partridge in a pear tree!
Clare says: We got engaged on 16 August 2013, in North Wales and were married on 21 December 2013 at Norcliffe Chapel, Styal with our reception at Quarry Bank Mill.
We visited the National Trust village and Mill in June 2013 and both absolutely loved the church and the imposing architecture of the Mill itself. Mandi and her team at the Mill were so helpful and were happy to assist in any way possible.
We chose a Christmas theme, we sang carols in the church and had mulled wine and mince pies at the drinks reception instead of canapés. We decorated the Mill ourselves with fairy lights, Christmas garlands and Christmas trees, including edible decorations and a gingerbread house. The table centres were hurricane vases with candles, holly, ivy, cinnamon, pine – all natural flowers and seasonal.
The colours were dark green and red. The green was chosen to incorporate the Bride’s Irish roots and the red for the groom’s Welsh roots. The bridesmaids wore dark green and the groomsmen all wore red ties and hankies. The bouquets were gorgeous red and green with grand prix roses for the bride and tulips for the bridesmaids and flower girls.
My dress was called Hazel by Anoushka G. I love it! I bought it from Lace Bridal in Hale who were so helpful. I am not a keen shopper and had given myself one day and two bridal shops to find my dream dress – I didn’t have to search for long… it was the first dress I tried on and it could not be matched! It was cut on the bias with mini capped embroidered sleeves with a cowl scoop at the back.
I had an oyster feather shrug to keep me warm too. I wore my wellies into the church as the path down was muddy and I didn’t want to spoil my Jimmy Choos!
My two adult bridesmaids wore a dark green maxi dress from Coast and the three flower girls wore gorgeous white dressed from Debenhams. They all had gorgeous fur shrugs for warmth and the two littlest flower girls wore White Uggs boots.
The groomsmen wore hired suits from Slaters in Manchester. They were dark grey tails with waistcoat and their own classic white shirts with bright red ties and hankies.
We hired a beautiful red and cream vintage car supplied by Love & Carriage.
January 8th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Brides Up North reader Lois chose a stately pile I know very well for her beautiful wedding celebration this summer: the location for three Brides Up North Luxury Wedding exhibitions in 2012 and 2013 and Ms. Sarah Beeny’s country home – Rise Hall. Good choice Lois!
Photography by Inspire By Kelly.
Lois says: We got engaged soon after we moved into our first home together in February 2012. We were just at home – it was so cute. We were married on 30th August 2013 at Rise Hall, East Yorkshire.
We had looked round several lovely venues in East Riding. I first visited Rise Hall with my mum, because Alex was busy preparing to compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games – so time away from training was difficult to find. We drove down the drive and the view was truly amazing – from that moment, I knew I was going to get married there. We booked it straight away, even without Alex seeing it!
August 6th, 2013 | Julia Braime
I’m such a tease aren’t I?! After pressing publish on Monday morning’s blog post, I knew that it would be cruel not to share the rest of the gorgeous shots from Sam and Kenny’s beautiful Real Wedding at The Alnwick Garden on the blog. After all, it’s one of the prettiest days I’ve seen. Could these two be any more photogenic?
So, the purpose of yesterday’s post was to alert you to a very special event coming up very, very soon – opening our autumn season, in fact – The Brides Up North Luxury & Vintage Wedding Exhibition at The Alnwick Garden on Sunday 1st September 2013. To get the full lowdown and register for completely free VIP Bride To Be entry and your goody bag, click here.
Once you’ve been there, done that, some back to share the rest of Sam and Kenny’s big day. With images by the ever talented Sean Elliott Photography (who’ll be joining us on September 1st too), this is one to remember.
Sam says: We got engaged in Dubai, in September 2009. Kenny wrote ‘Marry me?’ in rose petals on the bed whilst I was at the pool sunbathing… quite the romantic!
We tied the knot in June at The Alnwick Garden in the Pavilion Room. We felt that the Garden was somewhere different, with stunning grounds for the perfect photos. It’s also a memorable venue for people who hadn’t been before – the grand cascade as the main viewpoint throughout the ceremony, the rose garden, bamboo maze, the tree house and all of the water features gave guests that little something extra, over and above a wedding in a hotel or stately home.
We didn’t have a theme, we just wanted to keep it simple and relaxed – a bit like us! We chose a colour scheme of black and white with pinks and whites in the bouquets and button holes adding a splash of colour.
I wore the Maggie Sottero “Reece” dress from Blush Bridal Boutique in Uppermill, Saddleworth and Kenny wore a kilt, in Morrison Clan tartan… sticking to family tradition. He had it hand-made at Nicholson Kiltmakers in Edinburgh.
The bridesmaids and I had peony rose bouquets with a mix of pinks and some white roses and Kenny had a pink peony buttonhole (to match my bouquet) with Scottish thistles.
Getting ready with my mum and the bridesmaids was great fun, very relaxed and involved quite a lot of champagne!
Guests were taken to the venue by Dreadnought Coaches in the 1952 Leyland Titan. The guests and groomsmen travelled in more style than the bridal party! When boarding the bus, the groom, best man and ushers gave everyone a glass of fizz to get the celebrations started. I think it’s fair to say the journey for the guests was a real social event!
Arco String Quartet played some beautiful music for our guests’ arrival, my entrance, signing the register and at end of the ceremony – including Elbow – One Day Like This – and The Beatles – All You Need Is Love.
Kenny’s father made all of the ladies’ favours by hand – strawberry and champagne preserve, with little poem on the labels: “A spoonful of sugar and two sweet kisses, now Kenny and Sam are Mr and Mrs”.
The best man’s speech was brilliant, one of the best I’ve ever seen. He used a video to really take the mick out of Kenny and had everyone in fits of laughter. ‘Mr Lover Man, Shabba’ was the song of choice for the video… very entertaining! It was also great to have all of our nearest and dearest in one room together as it doesn’t happen all that often!
A friend of ours, DJ James Cummings provided the evening entertainment. We had a small part of the night dedicated to a ceilidh too, which went down really well and Sean Elliott got some great action shots!
After the wedding we did a road trip through California – Vegas, San Francisco, Route 1 with various stop offs including Santa Barbara and Carmel, finishing off in LA, going to the Standard Hotel for their famous rooftop party on the last night of our honeymoon… the perfect end!
My top tips for other Brides Up North would be: don’t get stressed, don’t have massively high expectations that you may find impossible to meet, make sure your wedding reflects you as a couple, no-one else (i.e. don’t try to imitate anyone else, or do something just because you think your guests will like it – if you don’t), and just relax and enjoy every single moment, from planning, right through to sending out your thank you cards!
Congratulations Sam & Kenny!
Get the date in your diaries – I might have mentioned it a few times (too many?) but our opening event of the season – The Brides Up North Luxury & Vintage Wedding Exhibition at The Alnwick Garden is on Sunday 1st September 2013 from 11am till 4pm. Pre register now for free entry and your VIP Bride To Be Goody Bag!
This is not a sponsored post