Charlotte Balbier
Luxury Wedding Fairs

vintage romance. sophia tolli for an elegant wedding at middleton lodge – beccy & craig

September 14th, 2016 | Julia Braime

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Today’s real wedding is the type that calls for some serious pinning, so mood boards at the ready ladies, as this one is brimming with gorgeous inspiration.

Tying the knot at one of our fabulous Sponsor and Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Fair venues, the wonderful Middleton Lodge, Beccy and Craig took cue from the elegant setting planning a sophisticated yet fun wedding weekend, complete with stunning attire, dreamy décor, delicious food and fabulous entertainment. Top marks guys!

With images by Lucy G Photography.

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beccy says: We got engaged on 13th December 2014, just four months after we starting going out (we have known each other for nearly four years though). Craig proposed at my parents’ house, in their dining room! We live in Cheshire but Craig is from Teesside originally. His parents had come to stay with us for the weekend and had brought the engagement ring with them, which he’d bought from Whittakers in Yarm, but didn’t have a way of collecting without me knowing.  He had been thinking about all the different ways to propose and hadn’t decided on the best approach, so when we got to my parents for a joint-family meal Craig managed to get my mum on her own to show her the ring and told her he wasn’t sure when he was going to do it. She told him it didn’t matter where or when because she knew I would say yes.  The parents were all so beside themselves with excitement, Craig thought then was as good a time as any… and beside which, both sets of parents may have spontaneously combusted at any point otherwise! I had been wondering what was wrong with him given that he offered me his dessert and I’ve never seen Craig not finish a meal before!

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Our wedding was on 20th February 2016, as we wanted to get married as soon as we could.  We visited our venue on their open day and asked about availability.  We nearly went for November 2015 but decided that February would be a good time as it would give us something to really look forward to after Christmas and the New Year.  We also knew it would be good weather for where we wanted to go on our honeymoon.

We got married at Middleton Lodge, which is in Middleton Tyas, near Richmond in North Yorkshire. We started looking for venues as soon as we got engaged and were initially thinking of somewhere between Cheshire and Teesdale, like the Lake District, but we didn’t really find anywhere that we loved. We saw Middleton Lodge on hitched.co.uk and we fell in love with it immediately. We went along to an open day there, having not viewed any other venues, and as soon as we saw it, we knew it was the place for us – it was perfect!

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We didn’t really have a theme as such for the wedding, our inspiration stemmed from the venue but also my dress, although Craig didn’t know that of course!  My dress wasn’t white or ivory – it was classed as blush but it was a very, very pale peachy/champagne pink. Given the colour of my dress, I thought that grey would work best for the chief bridesmaid and her dress was really sophisticated and beautiful.  The feel of the venue combined with the look of my dress and my bridesmaid’s dress inspired us to aim for a vintage, glamorous look. We therefore decided to use lots of silver/mercury glass as a key feature. We actually sprayed an awful lot of glass bottles, jars and containers to look like mercury glass ourselves. The glasses had been saved up by us and both sets of parents over the course of a year, so lots of jam had been eaten, along with wine and whiskey drunk, all for the good of the wedding! We dotted these around Middleton Lodge, lighting tea lights in the jars to give off a glow which reflected against the bottles to create a lovely, warm atmosphere. We also had silver candelabras as our centre displays on the guests’ tables with silver candlesticks, which had pearls draped over them. Our wedding stationery also complemented the feel and featured a grey ribbon with a pearl embellishment, as I had lots of pearls on my dress.

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I got my wedding dress was from 7th Heaven in Congleton, where we live. The shop is owned and run by the delightful and totally gorgeous Helen Allen. I feel very honoured and privileged to call this lady my friend. Choosing my dress from 7th Heaven was really special. Helen, her mum Brenda, Leslie and the seamstress Carolyn are just amazing. The shop is beautiful inside and out and you are made to feel incredibly special – you never want to leave! I tried on a number of dresses and was struggling to decide between a few until Helen’s mum came down from her fitting appointment to see how we were getting on. She reminded us that they wanted me to try on the dress on the mannequin in the window because it was a little different. As soon as I put it on my mum cried and I knew that was the one!

I absolutely adored my dress, it was Sophia Tolli and it was called Starling.  I really felt like a princess in it. The dress was very different to those I had previously tried given its colour and detailing. It was a strapless ball gown with a sweetheart neckline in lace and tulle which had a fitted, lace up bodice. It flared out from the hips into a big skirt and had a chapel length train.  The dress was a blush/champagne pink and covered in charcoal grey lace and crystal and pearl beading.  It also had a beautiful and very sparkly satin belt to match that went around the waist.continue reading

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roses & tweed. sophia tolli for a sophisticated wedding at crewe hall – laura & luke

September 5th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

An Elegant Wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Sarah Horton Photography (41)

Monday might have come around too quickly once again, but fear not as we have a stunning real wedding to distract you from the working week ahead.

After falling head over heels in love with the beautiful Crewe Hall in Cheshire, Laura and Luke found picking their venue a doddle. Taking inspiration from its grandeur and class, the two then planned a sophisticated celebration full of pretty pink and purple summer blooms with fabulously fine attire for the wedding party.

With images by Sarah Horton Photography and assistant photographer Hannah Wilson.

An Elegant Wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Sarah Horton Photography (25)

An Elegant Wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Sarah Horton Photography (19)

laura says: We got engaged on my birthday at one of our favourite restaurants, The Swan with Two Necks in Blackbrook, Staffordshire. We’d been away travelling for nearly four months to Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. It turned out that Luke had taken the ring with him but never found the right moment – plus I think everyone was expecting it back home so he didn’t given in!  We got home in March and he proposed in May – which nobody was expecting so it was a complete surprise which made it even more special. Luke was however given some grief about visiting many amazing places while we were away and missing his opportunity.

We set the date for Saturday 25th June 2016, as we wanted a summer wedding.

An Elegant Wedding at Crewe Hall (c) Sarah Horton Photography (29)

Our chosen venue was Crewe Hall in Cheshire. We got married in the library and had the wedding breakfast in the long gallery. We both loved Crewe Hall form the moment we saw it!  We’d been to weddings there before and knew it was the place for us.

We didn’t have a specific theme but we wanted it to be classy and sophisticated to reflect the venue. Our colour scheme was subtle pinks, lilacs and purples.

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effortlessly stylish. an art deco influenced wedding at the bowdon rooms – justine & darren

March 16th, 2016 | Julia Braime

An Art Deco Wedding at The Bowdon Rooms (c) Elbowroom Photography (30)

Beg, steal and borrow is the main advise from this afternoon’s bride who achieved her dream wedding without breaking the bank.

Having found their perfect wedding venue in the form of The Bowdon Rooms in Cheshire, today’s real wedding couple Justine and Darren, set about planning a classy wedding with Art Deco influences, spending the budget on what they felt were the most important elements and then making, blagging and bartering what remained.

Here at Brides Up North HQ we’re more than familiar with just how fabulous this unique wedding venue is as we stage our luxury wedding exhibitions in its stylish surroundings twice a year (the next one is coming up on 17th April 2016, so put it in your dairies!) Excellent choice Justine and Darren!

With images by ER Photography.

An Art Deco Wedding at The Bowdon Rooms (c) Elbowroom Photography (20)

justine says: Darren proposed to me in Barcelona. We had booked the trip for his birthday and knowing our finances inside out I knew there was no way he had an engagement ring. We arrived late to our hotel and were given a beautiful suite with a balcony but it was past midnight and we couldn’t get any alcoholic drinks as we just planned to have a little drink on our veranda. We trekked the darkened street and I used my broken Spanish to ask for crisps and a bottle of rose in a kebab shop. Having conquered the quest for booze – we went back to the balcony where I sat munching cheesy puffs, Darren disappeared into the room saying he was going to hang his clothes up (he’s never done that before). Then he appeared around the curtain holding a beautiful carved wooden ring box and said “I’ve got something you can wear if you like, but you’ll have to wear it for a long time” he then knelt in a puddle and asked me to marry him revealing my dream ring – a bright sapphire flanked by two diamonds which he had designed and made for me. I was in absolute shock that he had managed to hide it all – and of course I said yes.

On wedding was on 5th April 2015. We picked Easter Sunday as we felt the majority of our friends and family would be able to make it and enjoy the festivities over a bank holiday weekend. We were willing to gamble the weather and it paid off with glorious sunshine following a week of hail and snow!

An Art Deco Wedding at The Bowdon Rooms (c) Elbowroom Photography (13)

The Bowdon Rooms, in Cheshire, was our chosen venue. The moment we walked in to The Bowdon Rooms, I knew it was for us. Our co-ordinator and every single member of staff made us feel like a priority. They worked with us on whatever budget I proposed, whatever idea I was exploring with the most genuine enthusiasm. The building is a 1930s music hall with glorious ballroom and jazz club upstairs, it has an unpretentious elegance and wow factor whilst remaining individual and suited us completely. I wouldn’t change my venue for all the tea in china and know how lucky I was to have the staff around me as wonderful as they are there.

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when in Rome. sophia tolli for an italian themed wedding at ashfield house hotel – michelle & gary

February 22nd, 2016 | Julia Braime

An Italian Themed Wedding at Ashfield House Hotel (c) Teresa C Photography (42)

Taking inspiration from one of their favourite countries, today’s bride and groom decided to do as the Italians would do on their wedding day by enjoying a relaxed celebration, complete with excellent company and delicious food.

From the pretty, natural colour scheme and elegant décor to the bespoke menu and dreamy cake, Michelle and Gary executed their italian vision to perfection!

With images by Teresa C Photography.

An Italian Themed Wedding at Ashfield House Hotel (c) Teresa C Photography (11)

michelle says: We got engaged while in Budapest for my 30th birthday. We went on a lovely walking tour, seeing the sights over Budapest from Fisherman’s Bastion, then had lunch at Gerbeaud’s, the inventor of cake and oldest confectioner in Budapest. After, we spent the afternoon in the Szechenyi Baths before heading back to the hotel. The proposal took place at the hotel, just before we were heading out for dinner at a little Italian restaurant right on the River Danube.

We decided on for 28th November 2015 for the wedding. Our anniversary is in November and a winter wedding was always the preferred choice.

An Italian Themed Wedding at Ashfield House Hotel (c) Teresa C Photography (36)

We got married at Ashfield House Hotel, in Standish, Wigan. Gary was extremely keen to keep the wedding local and we wanted an intimate wedding. Ashfield ticked all the boxes as it had the stunning restaurant with wooden floors, chandeliers and neutral décor whilst also having a cosy and masculine feel in the library bar, so it suited us both. As a bonus, they also offered the option to design our own menu, which was a big selling point for us.

We decided on an Italian theme for our wedding. We didn’t want to go over the top with a theme but wanted the overall feel of an Italian wedding – very relaxed with natural décor and all about the food and company. Although we have travelled quite a bit, Italy is the place we feel most at home.

The colour scheme was a blush pink and nude. We wanted something quite timeless so went with blush pink for the bridesmaids and charcoal grey tails for the men.

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by the sea. sophia tolli for an autumnal wedding at newton hall – amanda & phil

December 9th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

An Autumn Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Danny Birrell Photography (57)

Today’s real wedding couple love nothing more than escaping to the beach with their daughter for some quality family time. It was little surprise then that when a wedding venue by the sea was suggested, they booked it straight away.

Taking inspiration from the season, Philip and Amanda’s wedding day featured elegant autumnal touches including some rather unusual white pumpkins that are apparently only available for a few days of the year. Shame, they would suit our office perfectly!

With images by Danny Birrell Photography.

An Autumn Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Danny Birrell Photography (62)

amanda says: We got engaged on 7th December 2013, during a weekend away to York where we met at university (we now live in Whitley Bay). We went for a nice lunch and a few glasses of wine, and got all wrapped up to go for a walk around York. We were in the York Minster Gardens when Phil got down on one knee and popped the question, just as the minster bells began to chime. Everyone around us cheered and it was all very romantic. After seven years together of course I said yes.

An Autumn Wedding at Newton Hall (c) Danny Birrell Photography (65)

We were married on Sunday 18th October 2015. We knew we wanted an autumnal wedding, in October, as that was the month we met nine years previously.

We went for a look around As You Like It in Jesmond, Newcastle, and had a chat with them about their venue. They mentioned a sister venue, Newton Hall in Northumberland, were having an open day soon after, so we went there for a look around, fell in love and reserved the date that day! Newton Hall had a formal, yet relaxed atmosphere that we just loved! All of the little eccentricities just added to the character of the venue, and when we walked into the garden suite, we just knew it was perfect. It was an added bonus it has its very own beach close by!

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understated elegance. sophia tolli for a vintage wedding at whitworth hall – paul & marie

October 13th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (34)

We just love the simplicity of today’s real wedding.

It’s not always about the most extravagant decor, the biggest cake or the most flamboyant flowers (though we do adore details) but simply about the love the bride and groom have for one another.

Paul and Marie’s big day was brimming with elegance but without being OTT thanks to a stunning choice of venue, attractive attire and a pretty colour palette.

We are also totally crushing on all the natural outdoor shots, especially the ones with the deer! Super classy!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Paul Liddement Wedding Stories.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (4)

paul says: I proposed to Marie on her birthday while we were staying in a cottage in the Lake District. I gave her a bunch of silly presents and a wax jacket that she really wanted and I’d put an envelope inside the pocket containing a card asking her to marry me. When she opened it the envelope fell out and she didn’t notice it so I had to grab the card quickly and hand it to her once she’d sat down again. She opened the card and I got on one knee.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (10)

Our wedding was on 20th June, 2015. We booked this date as it seemed far enough away at time of booking to be able to get everything done and we thought the weather should be ok at this time of year.

Both our ceremony and reception were held at Whitworth Hall, Spennymoor. We chose the venue for its location, grounds and layout. Also due to the feeling we got when we visited it.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (13)

We didn’t have a cast iron ‘theme’ but we were working from the vintage end of things, not in a way which restricted us, but that merely gave the appearance of wedding continuity. Examples of this could be seen in our table names and seating plan as they used the same text fonts and floral illustrations as on all of our other stationery, but to add a little personal touch we named the tables after locations from the Lord of the Ring books, which we love. We also went for a vintage mute colour scheme. So overall, vintage meets middle earth subtly.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (20)

Marie wore the Leigh dress designed by Sophia Tolli, which she bought from Elizabeth George in Middlesbrough. On the wedding day her hair was done by her sister Stacy and her makeup was done by her sister Dawn. Marie looked beautiful so I think it would be fair to say we would recommend her sisters.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (32)

I wore a conventionally cut grey suit with a white shirt and silver tie. These were hired from Troughear Suit Hire, Durham. The night before the wedding I had a hot towel shave at Guappo Hair Design in Shotton. It was fantastic and helped to relax me – I’d definitely recommend this to other grooms.

The bridesmaids’ dresses were all from Debenhams.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (33)

As a photographer myself, I was very picky as to who I would pick to capture our day. After some time researching, we chose Paul Liddement because of his style and the obvious quality of his work but mostly because of his approach and the fact that we felt comfortable with him.

On the wedding day Paul was relaxed, focused and very well prepared. He managed to take lots of photographs that we were completely unaware of and seemed very good at catching that moment when you are more yourself. He also fitted in with the guests and spent time getting them at ease with him. We were blown away by our wedding images when we received them. We had high expectations based on the quality of our engagement shoot but the wedding photos far exceeded our expectations and managed to put an extra shine on an already magical day.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (35)

Marie arrived at Whitworth Hall buy classic car, along with her maid of honour and bridesmaids who travelled in a separate car, both of which were hired form Classic Wedding Cars, Durham.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (40)

We designed and made all of the wedding stationery ourselves. A time consuming process as we wanted to get it just right and put a lot of thought into it, but it was the right thing to do as we ended up with exactly what we wanted and it made the wedding more personal. We are immensely proud of the results.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (46)

In terms of flowers, Marie and her bridesmaids had vintage style bouquets and we had corsages for the mothers, female grandparents and the guests who did readings. The groom, best man, ushers, fathers, grandfather and all the male partners of the bridal party then had matching button holes. All were supplied by Elvet Flowers, Durham.

For decoration, we had another small arrangement of flowers on the top table also supplied by Elvet Flowers, Durham. We also had a miniature handmade birdcage made from pages of a book, which was positioned in the middle of the top table. This was made by a friend of ours, Gillian.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (68)

All the other tables at the reception had a vintage bird cage on them, which were put together by Marie and her sister Dawn (although myself and my brother-in-law Jona did put one together each and I think these were the best!) We purchased the materials from a variety of sources including Country Baskets, Home Bargains and eBay.

We handmade all of our favours; historically accurate 13th Century medieval coins for the men and angel charms for the ladies.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (71)

Our wedding cake was a three tiered spice cake. It had a very subtle vintage rose colour icing, with a lace like pattern piped down one side (as if a doily had been draped down on side). There was also an arrangement of icing sugar flowers on the third tier. The cake was made locally by a lady called Vicky who makes them more as a hobby than a business.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (73)

As a special treat we also had a sweetie table, which we put together ourselves. The sweets were bought at B&M and Home Bargains, which is where we also got the giant martini/wine glasses and other glass bowls from that held the sweets.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (54)

To fill the lull period after the meal (while the venue staff rearranged the room for the evening do) we arranged for the medieval re-enactment group The Dawn of Chivalry, of which I’m a member, to put on a combat display for our guests in the venue’s grounds. We chose this as it was something a bit different & again made the wedding more personal to us. For the evening do we had the venue supplied disco, during which my brother-in-law managed to take on a guest DJ spot much to everyone’s (apart from the actual DJ’s) amusement.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (63)

Following our wedding we would definitely recommend Whitworth Hall to others. The venue was brilliant, they were very accommodating and great on the day! The venue has plenty of space for people to mill around and relax and it is possible to find a quiet corner if you need some space providing you are not either the bride or groom, in which case you won’t have time to catch your thoughts! It lends itself very well to weddings as the ceremony room is very tasteful and has plenty of scope for some lovely photo locations without ever having to go too far from your guests.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (77)

Looking back, my favourite part of the day was the moment I first saw my wife-to-be in her dress. I fell in love all over again and then couldn’t see anyone but her.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (79)

We have not yet been on our honeymoon yet as we are planning to go to New Zealand (see Lord of the Rings sneaking in again) and it is currently winter there.

A Natural Wedding in the North East (c) Paul Liddement Wedding Stories (83)

Our top tip for other Brides (and grooms) Up North would be to set a realistic budget then be honest with yourself and really set an actually realistic budget. Look at what you can actually afford and what you really feel is absolutely important. This will help you strip away a lot of the gimmicky, frivolous I wants.

We paid for the majority of the wedding ourselves by saving up and doing over time at work, but we also had some very generous gifts from family members. All in all it’s a party, so look at it as such – people are there for you and not what is on the tables or festooned around the room.

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