November 15th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
Today on Brides Up North, we’re in tipi heaven, as we escape to the wild and wonderful backdrop of High Barn, near Penrith, for a beautiful outdoors wedding weekend. Yes, that’s right – our couple, Emma and Chris, turned their nuptials back in September into a fabulous three-day affair, complete with quiz, fish and chip van, games and Sunday brunch!
There are so many talking points; we don’t know where to start! There’s everything from camper vans and specially made Egyptian jam favours, to a rather tasty selection of pies and pizza, not to mention plenty of bunting, fairy lights and – something a little bit different – dried flowers. And then there’s the picture-perfect rainbow, beautifully captured by their photographer.
Here, we invite Emma to reminisce about all the wonderful details…
With images by Johnny Dent Photography.
emma says: We got engaged on the top of Pendle Hill on New Year’s Eve 2016. I think it’s a really special place but on this particular day the wind was so strong I was worried we’d be swept off the top! I kept asking if we should turn back, but Chris was determined to get to the top. Once we had eventually made it, we had to hunker down on the side of the hill, as the wind would have knocked us off our feet! We were with our little dog, Barney and he did not like it. He was whimpering and wouldn’t stay still, so Chris quickly pulled out a bottle of champagne and asked me if I’d ‘wash some pots with him!’. I said “yes” and we finally cracked the champagne open once we were off the top!
We decided on the 9th September 2017 for the wedding. I love autumn and we figured that for the past few years the summer has been a bit of a washout, and it has seemed to improve in September. We were right! We had a wedding weekend, starting with drinks and a quiz on the Friday and ending with brunch on the Sunday.
We got married at St Cuthbert’s Church, Edenhall, and then had the reception a mile away at High Barn, Edenhall Estate, near Penrith. We had looked round a few places but once we saw High Barn there was no question; it was exactly what we wanted. High Barn is surrounded by the Lakes, the North Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales, in the middle of a field, next to a wood and nothing else. We knew we wanted to do everything ourselves and we were able to do that, a real DIY wedding.
For the main event, we hired two giant tipis from Special Event Tipis. They were fabulous! There is such a special atmosphere inside those amazing structures, and we had lots of fairy lights, bunting, lots and lots of candles and a fire pit to make it even more special. They were a bit of an extravagance, but I’m so glad we got them. They really make an event very special.
As we made a weekend of it, accommodation was a must. There are some cottages on the estate and there is a hotel in the nearby village, but for people who were staying on site, we arranged the Belle Hotel to come up. This is a mobile hotel room, guests book online and when they arrive, there is a beautiful belle tent waiting for them, futons, rugs and bunting too! They look really cool too and people couldn’t stop taking photos of them.
We didn’t have a set wedding theme in mind initially, but as we started to plan, things came together. I suppose you could call it rustic. Our stationery was brown card with twine, we had table decorations of gin bottles full of flowers and candles everywhere; we had teacups, bunting and dried flowers. We didn’t think about it too much and in the end everything seemed to go together just fine.
There wasn’t really a colour scheme either. The boys wore blue jackets, the bridesmaids wore a mink colour and the flowers were a mixture. We just went with what we liked. It worked!
November 28th, 2016 | Laura McDonagh
Today’s real wedding is a testimony to the power of DIY. Louise and David did what so many of us dream of doing (if only we were brave enough!): they hired a village hall on Ullswater in Penrith, created a bright, white blank canvas and went to town with personal touches and pops of pastel colour.
Family is everything to this gorgeous couple and there’s plenty of inspiration here for family-focused wedding planning; from kids’ goody bags to their relaxed honeymoon in Pooley Bridge.
In need of some pretty on this Monday morning? Sit back and enjoy.
With images by Jenna Carpenter Photography.
louise says: We got engaged while on holiday in Tenerife with our little girl Alice and our friends. I had been making several (fairly obvious!) hints to David but he seemed oblivious. One evening we went to a restaurant and everyone was just chatting away when David started talking to me, at first I didn’t realise what he was saying or what he was taking out of his pocket! It didn’t register until our table fell silent and I saw that everyone had massive smiles on their faces. It was so lovely and just the kind of proposal I’d dreamed of. He said some lovely things and I said yes, of course! I later found out that he’d gone to my parents and asked for their blessing and then asked my friend Sarah to take care of the ring for him as we went through the airport!
Our wedding date was Saturday 20th August 2016. We chose it as we thought a summer wedding would be lovely and the date just jumped out at us.
We got married in Ullswater, Penrith at Watermillock Village Hall. We absolutely love the Lake District as a family and have lots of ties with the place so we knew it was meant to be.
The venue we chose was actually where my sister’s wedding reception had been held. We checked that she was ok with it first and thankfully she was. It’s a great little place: completely versatile, large rooms and a nice big field for a marquee for our ceremony.
We used a celebrant on the day as the hall wasn’t licensed for weddings. We had such a personal ceremony conducted by Louise Burns from The Ceremony Company. There were several different ceremonies we could choose from and then personalise and Louise spent lots of time asking questions and finding out about us. We went for a traditional service with the vows included and it all came together in the most amazing service, full of tears and laughter. My sister read from A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton, which was lovely! Louise did an amazing job and we are so thankful for the care and attention she put into our ceremony.
The style of our wedding was laidback and relaxed. We just wanted everyone to have a good time, enjoy the day and let their hair down. I think the theme could perhaps be described as ‘love and fun’ in the end!
Our colour scheme was white with bright pastel colours. I knew straight away that I wanted a bright, white backdrop. Then the pastels could be integrated in different ways, from flowers to table decorations.
andy neen, asos, brides up north featured supplier, brides up north sponsor, diy wedding, greenwheat, humes catering services, jenna carpenter photography, john francis, lake district wedding, marks and spencer, north west letter lights, phil collins bridal, real wedding, special event tipis, tebbey and co, the ceremony company, the cutting room, tipi wedding, watermillock village hall, weddings by annabel and rebecca williams, zoe sykes make up artist
December 1st, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s wedding starts with a simple yet super sweet proposal that gave the bride and groom the theme for their wedding day.
Hannah and Fred then added rustic wedding touches in their décor and styling choices with the help of their wedding planner, in order to create the desired look for their romantic country celebration.
We particularly love the Hannah’s wedding gown with a cute off-the-shoulder lace jacket and also her bridesmaids’ pretty choices of dresses, which fitted the “short and champagne” brief perfectly!
With images by Crieff Photography.
Hannah says: We got engaged at our first home together on the 1st August 2014. It was ‘date night’ and Fred was cooking dinner for us at home. He was cooking his speciality, pie! When he carried it out to the table it was covered, he then got down on one knee and asked if I would do him the honour of cutting the pie! Slightly confused, I took the cover off the pie where ‘Marry Me!’ in pastry was revealed.
We set the date for 26th September 2015. We wanted to get married in Cumbria and September is always a beautiful month in that part of the UK! We also needed to give our Australian family and friends enough notice to plan their trip.
Our ceremony was at Wetheral Church in Cumbria. Wetheral is where Fred grew up and his two sisters also got married at this church too. We then had our reception at Monkhouse Hill Cottages where we had tipis from Special Event Tipis.
September 15th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
The unique venue for Ben and Amanda’s well-planned wedding is what made their big day really stand out to me. The couple and their guests partied through to the small hours in beautifully decorated tipis pitched next to the picturesque back-drop of Lake Coniston. Stunning, just stunning!
Better yet, they stretched their wedding celebrations across three days (hell yeah!) to take full advantage of the breathtaking location.
The couple’s rustic barn/tea party theme came together perfectly with wonderful décor, individual touches and a mouth-watering menu, which was rounded-off with one heck of a party.
So let’s dive straight into the magic with details of the couple’s engagement.
With images by James Stewart Photograpy.
Amanda says: We got engaged on June 26, 2012. Ben chose this date as it’s his birthday and says it’s the only day of the year that he gets to choose what we do! We were camping in Crantock, Cornwall (which is our favourite holiday location). In the days leading up to the engagement we had walked around the headland looking for a nice birthday picnic spot, little did I know that it would actually be the engagement spot. Ben’s insistence on me choosing the exact spot made sense afterwards! We went surfing in the morning then after a nice hot shower, we headed off with our cream tea inspired picnic, with the obligatory champagne and strawberries!
After setting out our picnic blanket Ben made me close my eyes for a ‘surprise’ and when I opened them, he was knelt down with the ring in his hand. Lots of nice words and champagne followed, and then the second surprise of the day was that he’d booked us into Watergate Bay Hotel for the night, so we could enjoy our engagement night in the a bed rather that a tent!
We set the date for June 28, 2014. We’re both in the RAF and have lots of friends in the RAF too, so we always have to plan very far in advance for everything. We wanted to give everyone at least a year’s notice, so drew-up a plot of availability of my bridesmaid being back from Afghanistan and then the big items we needed to hire: tipi, venue, toilets, transport etc, and just chose the date that would work the best.
When deciding on a venue for the wedding, we were always on the lookout for somewhere we could use exclusively, somewhere that was slightly different from the norm, but ultimately somewhere that we could have a relaxed and intimate wedding, which we could hopefully spread out over more than more day.
We’d seen tipis in a wedding magazine and knew straight away that they provided exactly what we wanted, so we then went on an internet hunt for an amazing location; that’s how we found Bank Ground Farm in the Lake District. It’s a working farm, with cottages, a guesthouse, dog kennels, a tea room, boats for hire and bikes for hire, so it had a lot of what we needed under one roof. We didn’t do the legal bits at Bank Ground but it is where the real celebrations happened. We had a civil ceremony at Belmount Hall first which we chose because of its beautifully rustic interior and its proximity to Bank Ground Farm. The farm offered us the intimacy we wanted, gave us the ability to accommodate a large number of our guests and had a very relaxed feel about it. There are lots of different elements to Bank Ground, from the beautifully manicured lawns at the front of the house, the terrace overlooking Old Man Coniston and the lounge areas and bar inside the guesthouse; we were fortunate to be able to utilise all of them over the course of our three-day celebrations.
We didn’t have a specific theme to begin with, but over the course of the planning, we naturally swayed towards a rustic barn type of style. There were exposed beams in the tipis which we covered in fairy lights, we scattered bales of hay around for seats and displays, we up-cycled bottles and jars for flowers and candles, and brought everything together by using lace and burlap throughout. Relaxation had been the driving factor with choices; we didn’t want anything formal or stuffy, we just wanted people to feel that they could kick off their shoes and swap them for flip-flops or even wellies (weather dependent). The tea party food theme came out of our love for cream tea and the link back to our engagement with the champagne, strawberries, scones and clotted cream.
We wanted to keep the colour theme soft and romantic to tie in with the burlap and lace so all colours used were pale pinks, creams and some light gold.
My wedding dress was couture, and pre-loved. I saw it hiding at the back of a rail and was instantly attracted to its big, floaty skirt. The ripples in the skirt made me think of water and the rough edges of the material was in keeping with the relaxed, vintage effect we were creating. I love my sparkles, so the Swarovski pearls and beads that covered the bodice kept it girly and romantic.
Ben wore a very striking navy tweed three-piece suit from Walker Slater, a bespoke tweed outfitter in Edinburgh, along with a white shirt, pink knitted tie, and tan brogues from Kurt Geiger. The groomsmen all wore different tweed waistcoats, all from Walker Slater, white shirts, pink ties (to match Ben’s) and navy chinos.
The bridesmaids and I have a passion for Irregular Choice shoes, so in keeping with the soft colour scheme, the girls wore beautiful champagne lace dresses, but brought a pop of colour to the outfits with some bright Irregular Choice shoes. We all wore the same style, but in a different colour.
We loved how everyone looked together; it was exactly how we’d imagined, just amazing!
My hairdresser was Vikki Nelson and I have to say she had the patience of a saint! The hair for myself, mum and bridesmaids was the one thing I got my knickers in a twist over, as I really wanted it to be perfect. And despite me changing my ideas slightly, and my handmade hairpiece not quite working out as I’d planned, Vikki remained calm and polite while I had a very minor melt down/moan! All of the hairstyles turned out better than planned, and stayed in place well into the early hours.
My make-up was done by my gorgeous and talented cousin Samantha Hill, who runs her own beauty salon Beau Chic Beauty in Latton, on the edge of the Cotswolds/Cirencester. Everyone commented on how flawless it was, and I didn’t even need to do one single touch-up throughout the whole day – just perfect!
On the big day, we travelled in a classic split screen VW camper. This had been one of our ‘must haves’ from the very beginning as we both love the classic VW’s and dream to actually own one someday! Paul Bradburn of Lake District Vintage Wedding Cars was just amazing. He was extremely friendly and very passionate about his VW – he even supplied us with a nice cold bottle of bubbles for the journey.
My favourite part of the day was stood at the stairs to the civil ceremony room, waiting for my entrance music to start, with my mum doing a little dance to make me laugh and hold back the tears, knowing that in less than a few minutes I’d be saying my vows and my life as I knew it would change forever. Knowing that my best friend was about to become my husband and that our next adventures together would soon begin was a wonderful feeling.
We have the bonus of having James Stewart as Ben’s cousin, so there was never any doubt that we would use him as our photographer. We’ve seen a lot of James’ work over the years, from his sporting shots to capturing many happy family events.
James has a very unobtrusive nature and manages to get the shots that you didn’t even notice. A week after the wedding he sent us a little taster of what was to come in the form of a slideshow set to music; shame he hadn’t prepared me to have the tissues at the ready! I’m not sure how he managed it, but his photos feel like they captured all of the emotions of the day magnificently. Quite a few people have commented on needing the tissues when they watched it. We truly couldn’t recommend him enough; thoroughly professional, amazingly talented and a pleasure to have had him as part of our day.
For our wedding flowers we used The Flower Basket in Coniston village. Anne was extremely helpful and totally understood the concept I was aiming for. We basically told her that we wanted it to be soft and relaxed, using mainly creams and pinks. I’d created a scrapbook of magazines pictures over the year, took it to show her and realised that the running theme in my scrapings were peonies, gypsophila and roses. So we gave her artistic licence to use anything else she thought would look good, and she did an absolutely amazing job and totally transformed the tipis and surrounding chill out areas. I really couldn’t have been happier with the end result and couldn’t recommend her enough. I didn’t carry a bouquet, instead choosing to have a wrist corsage, which had some large pink peonies and white roses.
I made a lot of the decorations myself; pom poms, up-cycled jars and bottles, table plan, and napkin cuffs. I also put Ben and his dad to good use with a chain saw, cutting up tree trunks for table centre, and stands for menus and notices. The final touches of vintage glamour came from suretosurpriseyou.co.uk.
We hired all of the vintage crockery, cake stands and other tableware essentials, but the real eye-catchers were all of the vintage items for decoration. My bridesmaid Amy also lent a hand with the table centre arrangements, using her eye for detail to incorporate my items with hers. She helped to make a unique table centre for each table, and helped create a central focal point out of bales of hay, blankets and vintage items.
For our favours I made individuals wine charms for all the guests, but also made boxes so that they could all add their charms to a box, take them home, and carry on using them for their own future parties.
My bridesmaid Amy is an absolute legend in the baking department, and so there was never any other option than to have her mouth-watering delights as our wedding cake. Sticking with the tea party theme, she made the most magnificent four-tier tea party inspired cake. There were edible teacups, real biscuits, edible bunting and a giant Belgium white chocolate teapot on top. Each layer was a different flavour; chocolate, Victoria sponge, carrot and lemon.
Bank Ground Farm made all of our food, using as many local ingredients as possible, even using produce from their own farm. We had a hog roast on the Friday night with lots of gorgeous breads and salads. We also had a barbecue fit for a king on the Sunday afternoon.
The Saturday wedding food started off with a large selection of canapés on the lawn while enjoying bubbles for the girls, and local ales for the boys. The wedding breakfast was simply ‘high tea’, which included Cumbrian honey roast ham sandwiches, local pink roast beef with horseradish, blue cheese and rocket sandwiches, local cheddar with homemade chutney on onion bread sandwiches, free range egg and watercress sandwiches, Cumberland sausage rolls with smoked bacon and mustard, mini vegetable wellingtons and stilton, bacon and spring onion potato skins. Dessert was homemade scones, homemade jam, local fresh strawberries and lashings of clotted cream. Wines and champagnes were served from the bar stock and we had kegs of Loweswater Gold and Esthwaite ales to keep the guys happy.
Ben is massively into his music, so this was one area that he was in charge of completely. We both believe that live music is the making of any event, so he spent hours trawling the internet, listening to bands, and reading reviews. He finally decided on The Rips, who are a five-piece band from Yorkshire. They play anything from The Beatles or Bryan Adams, to Kings of Leon and Maroon 5, so we knew we’d get a good range to keep all ages entertained. Ben’s research certainly paid off because the dance floor was bouncing all night long!
We would wholeheartedly recommend all of our suppliers to other couples. One thing we really loved about Bank Ground Farm is that it isn’t actually a wedding venue. Jonathon there believes that weddings need and deserve a lot of attention and time, therefore doesn’t allow more than a handful of weddings a year, allowing him to dedicate his time and attention to each one, and help to make it unique. This was a real bonus and Jonathon and his staff were like extensions of the family; unbelievably helpful, happy and eager to help things run smoothly.
Other suppliers we’d have to recommend are Special Event Tipis. Kate and Dave from there were fantastic to work with. They are a married couple, who used tipis for their own wedding, fell in love with them and decided to start their own business. You can really tell they have a passion for their job, as they were extremely enthusiastic, passionate and accommodating with everything. They also use very high quality items, which made my job of decorating much easier, as there was such a great starting point with their tipis and interiors.
A special touch to the wedding was certainly having our eight-month-old English Springer Spaniel, Murphy there to play a part in the weekend celebrations. He’s a huge part of our lives. He even had his own tweed collar and lead to match Ben’s outfit.
We went to Thailand on our honeymoon. We had a few nights in Bangkok where we sampled as many delights as possible; tuk tuk rides, street food, coconut water and street markets. We also had some cultural trips; temples, Bridge over the River Kwai, Hellfire Pass and war memorials. We visited the Tiger Temple, which was a dream come true, especially bathing and feeding the baby tigers and we stayed in a glamping site called Hintock River Camp. After these three whirlwind days, we jumped on another flight to Koh Samui, where we checked into a pool villa at Six Senses Samui. This was ultimate luxury; just what we both needed after six months of wedding crafting and preparations. Over the course of the next week we relaxed (a lot), went sightseeing on boats and kayaks, went elephant riding, relaxed some more and ate a lot!
My top tip to other Brides Up North has to be this (even though we still failed to do it) – try, try, try to take ten minutes aside together in the middle of the evening to step back and watch all of your loved ones having a blast. The evening really does just disappear in a heartbeat, and is over before anyone wants it to be!
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February 6th, 2014 | Julia Braime
A tortoise in a tutu, heaps of lace, pearls and roses and a Real Wedding in a tipi in my home town. Thursday mornings don’t get much better than that! Today we join North East couple Kathryn and Dean for their celebration under canvas in County Durham.
With images by SDS Photography.
Kathryn says: We got engaged on Christmas Day 2012. Dean had planned different scenarios on how and where he was going to propose, depending on the weather. Because it didn’t snow outside, he made it snow inside. Dean covered the living room in fake snow and played our favourite Christmas song – there was a big box in the middle of the room filled with lots of smaller boxes (like Russian dolls). I had wanted a watch for Christmas so when I got to the last box, it was quite big so I thought it was the watch, but there was nothing inside it – I looked up and Dean had big sheets of card with the words of our favourite Christmas song “All I want for Christmas is You”, after each card he dropped the cards, one by one; “Love Actually” style. After the last one he got down on one knee and pulled out a ring box with a gorgeous diamond ring in! Needless to say by this point I was in tears and obviously said yes!
We were married on 26th October 2013 at Elvet Methodist Church in Durham followed by a reception in giant tipis in a friend’s field close to Ushaw College.
We had 5 giant tipis supplied by Special Event Tipis, they were joined together to make one huge marquee style space, one of which was the bar and chill out area, and one was for the band and dance floor area, and the other 3 were the main seating area for the meal. We had over 170 guests during the day with an additional 70 in the evening.
We chose to use tipis because we fancied something a little different! My sister and I used to have a business supplying chair covers and sashes for weddings so I had been to most venues in the North East so I wanted something totally different and special!
As soon as I went the visit the tipis, I knew they were exactly what I wanted. Dean wasn’t able to see the tipis before the wedding so he was a little sceptical about the idea, he only saw them the day before the wedding when we were setting them up, but he highly approved, much to my relief.
We went for a natural and vintage feel with lots of lace & pearls. We also had a recurrent theme of logs; from a picture of a tree stump in the corner of our invitations with our initials carved in it, hollowed out tree stumps and logs filled with flowers for the table centre pieces and giant slices of bark covered tree trunk were used as cake stands for our traditional wedding cake and cheese wedding cake.
Our colour scheme was quite neutral with pale gold and ivory.
My dress was from the Wedding Wardrobe at Chester-le-Street and was a Maggie Sottero dress called Grace. It was a very pale gold satin covered in ivory lace. To make it my own, I bought a handmade vintage style necklace and bracelet and had the necklace sewed into the front of my dress under the bust and the bracelet was attached to the top of my veil. I had these removed after the wedding to keep and wear as jewellery.
I had too many close friends and sisters to choose from so decided to only have four small bridesmaids, my nieces. I got their dresses from BHS and teamed them with a cream cardigan from John Lewis. The dresses were pale gold satin with a lace bodice, they matched my dress perfectly!
The men wore dark navy, 3 piece suits which we bought from Next (it proved quite difficult as the men live all over the country) with a white shirt and vintage gold patterned tie form M&S. I also had my nephew as a page boy who wore a navy suit form Monsoon and we had one of the mens’ ties made smaller to fit him.
I had a beautiful bouquet which had white avalanche roses, Roralie roses which were a pale peach/cream colour, talea roses which were a vintage peach/champagne colour, spray snowflake roses, white hydrangea and wax flowers and we also added old brooches which I had collected from antiques fairs and strings of pearls to keep the vintage theme going. All our flowers were by Country Style at Langley Park.
We travelled in a cream VW split screen Campervan from Lovedub Cars called Chaz – he was beautiful.
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