December 15th, 2016 | Laura McDonagh
Readers, you’re in for a treat. Today’s real wedding is packed with pretty details, from the bride’s stunning Suzanne Neville lace creation to a gorgeous textured bouquet bursting with the best of British colour.
Champagne flowed all day long at this stylish celebration, and the combination of an exquisite menu and live music guaranteed a day to remember for the lovely Lizzy and Toby.
With images by Toni Darcy.
lizzy says: We got engaged on 22nd November 2013 at Split Apple Rock, South Island, New Zealand. We‘d planned a three week trip across New Zealand and this particular place was one of the reasons we went. Before we left, Toby had spoken with my parents to ask them if he could propose and, of course, they said ‘yes!’
We‘d gone to the beach a few days before but I got caught in a wave, so Toby didn’t think it would be best to propose then. So the morning of leaving Split Apple Rock, two weeks into the trip, we went to the beach for the last time with a cup of tea each, sat on the rock together and he asked me to marry him. I was completely shocked and I think he had to ask me twice before I said yes, even though that was my answer on the first asking.
We knew we just didn’t want our wedding day to be one day. Our married friends say the day goes by so quickly, plus I wanted to be married before I was 30, so August bank holiday weekend seemed the perfect weekend to plan for.
We married on Saturday 29th August, allowing us to plan activities for the Friday and Sunday. We married at Saint Peter’s Church in Prestbury, Cheshire, and our celebrations continued at Colshaw Hall. I know that normally the bride marries close to her home, but we decided to be slightly different and marry close to where Toby had grown up. Picturesque surroundings and church were part of the decision but I also wanted my Mum to be able to enjoy the experience and be waited on, rather than having to rush around on the morning of the wedding.
We didn’t really have a particular theme, apart from eat, drink and be merry.
After attending our friends’ weddings, we pinched all the ideas that we really loved and recreated them so that they became our own. Good food, good champagne and good music always lead to lots of fun!
Onto the outfits. My bridesmaids wore soft plum and the groomsmen all wore navy with grey waistcoats. Claret and blue are my favourite colours – Toby reckons it’s because I’m a Burnley girl through and through, but I just think these colours look stunning together!
July 22nd, 2015 | Julia Braime
Back in May 2015, Rachel and I were thrilled to be one of the only UK wedding blogs invited along to British bridal designer Suzanne Neville‘s exclusive event at HM Tower of London, showcasing her 2016 songbird collection.
Suzanne and her team always make us feel so very welcome at their events, and her stunning gowns always leave us speechless (which is hard to do). Suzanne Neville has led the way in the couture bridal and fashion industry for the last 24 years, known for creating elegant fashion forward gowns with a real wow factor. Year on year, each collection just seems more perfect than the next. This is British bridal talent at its very best.
The latest collection of breath taking bridal gowns was inspired by beautiful floral gardens, birdsong and music with dresses in a sumptuous array of fabrics, styles and colours. With all press at the event on an #instaban lockdown, this is a first exclusive sneak peek at the new collection, hot off the catwalk and landing in Suzanne Neville stockist boutiques near you very soon.
suzanne says:I have really enjoyed designing the 2016 Songbird Collection. It is a fusion of beauty, tradition, modernity, yet still classically couture. There are simple styles, some lace and exquisite embroidery for a very eclectic mix of designs, with a dress for every bride. There are many dresses with the trademark corsetry, but also softer dresses for a more relaxed look.
In 24 years, I’ve seen styles change, but our modern bride is a very different bride. She’s more fashion aware, watching many images from all over the world and collating an idea in her mind of her perfect dress and styling the wedding of her dreams.
Over the years, the company has grown, yet we truly believe in keeping production in our studios in London under my watchful eye, so we can make sure every dress has the attention it deserves. Every year, even after all this time, I am still inspired by meeting the brides themselves, and taking all this knowledge into my pattern construction for future collections.
Suzanne Neville has boutiques in Knightsbridge, Wilmslow and Guilford and over fifty stockists in the UK and worldwide.
Visit the Suzanne Neville website for more.
January 7th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Mae by Stephanie Allin
We were recently Highly Commended in the Wedding Blog Awards 2014’s “Best City Wedding Blog” category, and chic cosmopolitan styling is one of our favourite trends for wedding day fashion, like, ever. goodbye meringues! A stylish city ceremony gives brides-to-be the opportunity to rock sleek attire that varies from the wedding norm.
Moving around busy urban areas and climbing staircases of grand city halls and hotels calls for a slim line, fluid number that isn’t going to slow you down or trip you up. And we’re not just talking dresses; a city centre do pushes the style boundaries wide open, inviting fashion forward brides to consider a two-piece skirt and top design, or even an all in jumpsuit, Solange Knowles style.
Those preferring to stick to tradition with a dress can always hitch up their hemline to free their feet ready for stepping out through bustling streets.
Pia by Monique Lhuillier
Monique Lhuillier has some particularly striking options for city brides, including stylish mini-length dresses and sophisticated two-piece designs.
Billie is a particular favourite of mine, not that I would be brave enough to work its cut-away silhouette. But for those that are, its gorgeous crisscross crop top and elegant illusion pencil skirt scream high fashion. Meanwhile, for those planning a more vintage affair, the pretty embroidered Charlotte top and ballerina skirt cover a little more flesh and are still easy to get around in.
Lhuillier’s short-length dresses are also incredibly swoon-worthy options, particularly the Pia and simple yet striking Zelda designs.
Billie by Monique Lhuillier
Zelda by Monique Lhuillier
The princess of prettiness, Stephanie Allin boasts several slim line dresses within her collections that would most definitely stand out in a city scene.
Chicago, Eternal, Ingrid and Olivia are all stunning examples of city simplicity at its best, but for those wanting a more structured design there is the Ashlea or even Mae, which has a detachable skirt, to give brides two equally wonderful looks.
The pièce de résistance has to be Allin’s Garbo jumpsuit as she dares to go where few other designers would. The fabulous sweet-heart neckline and wide-leg design also has an optional lace shrug for that extra piece of prettiness and cover-up where required.
Chicago by Stephanie Allin
Olivia by Stephanie Allin
Eternal by Stephanie Allin
Garbo by Stephanie Allin
Finally, I’d encourage city brides to consider the svetle, sleek lines of Suzanne Neville’s Novello Collection (click here to see a preview on Brides Up North), the fab and flirty frocks in Charlotte Balbier’s Iscoyd Park Collection (click here) or some of Sassi Holford’s cute designs as big day contenders.
For city brides wanting to bring a bit of bling to their big day, well, you can’t go wrong with a beaded Jenny Packham number, can you?
Simone by Jenny Packham
Rio by Jenny Packham
Noa by Jenny Packham
October 20th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Now, I’m a girl who loves her fashion. And bridal fashion? The best type there is.
As a result, one of the highlights of my year is always my annual pilgrimage to the capital every spring, to check out the newest collections from the big name bridal design houses as they debut their latest offerings to assembled trade and press visitors.
FROW. It’s the only way to go (dahlings).
One of the most anticipated openings in my schedule is always the suzanne neville show at the historic Tower of London. What this talented lady delivers with shape, structure and fabric is always delectable, and this season’s ‘Novello’ Collection for 2015 didn’t disappoint.
Suzanne Neville is known for creating elegant fashion forward gowns with a real wow factor. Every couture gown is beautifully hand cut and individually made in London, overseen by Suzanne herself. Frequently requested for red carpet events and television shows, the incredibly flattering dresses are always in demand.
I’m proud to share this beautiful selection of dresses with you today. The images are a selection of official shots and my iPhone candids from my catwalk-side seat back in April.
Suzanne Neville say: Modern clean lines work in harmony with clever construction, in ultimate luxury fabrics with gowns such as the satin bias cut ‘Chelsea’ and the effortlessly chic ‘Brompton’.The detail is in the cut and the design, with fabrics sourced to compliment the fall of the gown in true Suzanne Neville style. Other highlights include gowns such as ‘Grosvenor’ with its classic silk organza skirt and contrasting French lace long sleeved bodice.
For more, and details of Suzanne Neville’s stockists, click here to visit the official site.
May 12th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I’m putting this feature together in my PJs (oh the glamour!) on Sunday night after a great weekend in Cheshire hosting our – absolutely gorgeous – luxury and vintage wedding exhibition for the first time at Hilltop Country House. Rain couldn’t stop play (and I woke rather worryingly to the torrential type on Sunday morning) on what was a properly lovely day of fabulous people, superb talents and beautiful brides in an especially stunning setting. So up my street!
There’s been so many lovely comments on Twitter and Facebook from our visiting brides and exhibitors and it’s lovely to put my feet up and reflect on a job well done. Today, and the whole season so far in fact, has been epic. Thank you all for your kind words and feedback.
I’m feeling a little sad as our spring season is now drawing to a close – to be back with a bang in September! – but we’ll be closing the season in style with not one but two supremely pretty events to finish off with next Sunday 18th May. For the first time ever, we’re splitting the team and doubling up with two amazing bridal exhibitions in one day… I think the phrase Super Sunday might actually have been invented for this… read all about what’s in store for you at The Alnwick Garden here or Middleton Lodge here.
Bring. It. On.
Anyway, I’m here in the office after hours, getting ahead so I can take a day off with my baby girl tomorrow, and recharge for a week of loveliness here online too. Things just keep getting prettier and prettier around these parts, and our brand new look isn’t far off either… #getsetsparkle.
This afternoon though, we’re in the Wirral for the fun and fabulous Real Wedding of Brides Up North reader Rachel and her new husband Alex. This is a day packed with colour, love and laughter. My very favourite type.
With images by Martisan Photography.
Rachel says: We got engaged in the Palais De La Mediterrannee hotel in Nice on May 16th 2012. Alex surprised me for my birthday.
We were married on Friday 16th August 2013 at St Mary’s Church in Woolton, Liverpool and then had the reception in the Lakeside Marquee at Thornton Manor, Wirral. It is a beautiful, private location set on a lake where we knew our guests would be able to relax and just enjoy themselves. We wanted our reception to be in one big open area so that everyone would mingle and have fun together.
Our colour scheme was different shades of pink and orange. It was a real summer wedding.
I had a rose and orchid bouquet. My Nana and Mum’s favourite flower is the orchid and mine is the rose. I wanted my bouquet to have a little of each of the three of us in it.
Our photographer was Martisan Photography and he was fantastic!
We had a swing band called Dominic Halpin and the HoneyB’s. They never fail to get the party started! They are amazing!
Our invitations and table décor were by Hattie Boo Designs which is run by a super talented lady, Emma Bryan.
As a special touch, we had photographs of our four sets of grandparents and both sets of parents on their wedding day to remember their weddings and successful marriages. They have all fulfilled their vows.
We wanted the wedding to mirror us as a couple. It was very romantic and classic. On our first Valentine’s Day Alex bought me a book called ‘Love Monkey’ by Edward Monkton. We named our top table after that, with a quote from the book that represented us. The rest of the tables were named after a famous writer or scholar with a famous quote they had once said about love.
We used Terry Tangs in Liverpool for our wedding cake. It was a four tier cake with a different flavour for each tier.
I loved every second but I think my favourite part of the day has to be our first dance. I wasn’t looking forward to it as I was nervous but it was something I will never forget nor experience again. In our wedding venue the dance floor and ‘party room’ was hidden behind a curtain and so the guests had no idea. When the curtain was raised and we were behind it you could see how surprised and excited everybody was for us.
For our honeymoon we went to Australia for just over three weeks. We started in Melbourne and then went to Sydney. We then drove to Byron Bay and Brisbane and spent the last week on Hamilton Island in the Whitsunday Islands.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to enjoy it! Enjoy every second from the planning, to the build-up, to the day itself! It is easy to get stressed about trivial things when you are planning a wedding and worrying that something will not go to plan. If you really are marrying the love of your life you will have the best day ever and it will be perfect no matter what.
Congratulations Rachel & Alex!
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April 30th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Earlier this spring a group of North West wedding suppliers got together to collaborate on a contemporary art deco styled wedding photo-shoot at The Midland Hotel in Morecambe on the North West coast.
Brides Up North exhibitors (you can meet them both at our Hilltop Country House event in just under two weeks – click here for details) photographer Julie Lomax and cake specialist Rachel Hanna of Marie Antoinette Cakes teamed up with Vicky Cruse at The Midland Hotel to create something really special. The Midland was originally built in 1933 and is the epitome of art deco elegance and glamour. In 2013 it was lovingly restored and transformed to perfectly blend the original grandeur with a luxurious modernist style.
Julie says: As the hotel sits right along the Lancashire coastline, it provides the perfect setting for a wedding filled with seaside chic with incredible views, particularly from the fantastic bridal suite with its huge secluded balcony featuring a private hot tub!
Inside the hotel you can make use of several different spaces for your wedding but it’s the huge Art Deco staircase that we really love with elegant sweeping lines that just seem to go on forever, a chance to get some truly unique and timeless photographs.
The team spent a long time searching for the perfect suppliers to collaborate with and certainly struck gold with a beautiful selection of headpieces, statement jewellery, flowers, dresses and a classic black tuxedo.
I was keen to keep the shoot as in-keeping with my natural-light style as possible, something that was relatively easy at The Midland given it’s huge windows. Capturing all of the different details whilst strongly featuring the character of the hotel was something really important to me and I spent time assessing the location prior to the shoot to ensure that I got the best photos possible on the day.
The beautiful dresses were a selection of beaded Jenny Packham gowns – Rose, Eden and Esme from Mears Ghyll Bridal in Lancaster who also stock a wonderful selection of gowns from designers Alan Hannah, Charlotte Balbier and Suzanne Neville. The stunningly simple Maggie Sottero Oriana dress is from Butterfly Bridal in Lancaster who are also stockists of gowns by Justin Alexander and Essense Australia.
Samantha from Isobel Hind Couture is a very talented jewellery designer and her collection of jewellery and headpieces is really something special. Her unique style translates wonderfully to this collection which caught the eye of celebrity stylist and designer Kate Halfpenny who now stocks pieces from the range in her London showroom.
Jane from HF Couture in North Yorkshire has been designing bespoke and unique headdresses, tiaras and bouquets for over five years and they really are beautiful. If you’re looking for a one off piece that will fit perfectly with your dress then look no further. Jane has recently been commissioned by British bridal designer Madeline Isaac-James to create a range of accessories to match her 2015 bridal collection.
A wedding isn’t complete without flowers and Bolton-based florist Victoria from Lancashire Floristry didn’t disappoint when she created two stunning bridal arrangements with matching buttonholes for the groom. The first was a collection of black call lillies, ivory roses, brunia, black eyed chins and gorgeous succulents. Victoria also made an amazing art deco style fan of flowers using pipped hyacinth heads, tulips and beautiful white orchids, all wired together with a jewel beads.
Rachel, my fellow organiser, from Marie Antoinette Cakes created a black, white and silver art deco themed cake for the shoot with clean lines, sharp edges, geometric shapes and patterns. Her award winning cakes are renowned for their eye catching design and deliciously moreish recipes. Rachel uses the best quality ingredients and takes the time to really understand your cake requirements in a free, no obligation consultation. Her designs include the increasingly popular Simply Antoinette range which was launched in 2012 but bespoke designs are equally as in demand. Not only does she create tiered cakes but also makes cupcakes, cake tables, dessert tables and wedding favours.
Debra from Ruby Red Lips Makeup is based at her studio at the beautiful Last Drop Village in Bolton and has a real passion for makeup and really making you and your bridal party feel extra special. Debra takes the time to really understood your skin and the look you want to create in a pre-wedding trial so that everything on the day runs smoothly and you and your bridal party can really enjoy the experience and feel pampered. For this shoot so created really strong eyes and lips and took inspiration from the flowers with deep purple on the eye lids and on the lips.
Alex Lee from Sarah’s Hair in Bolton was the hair stylist on the day and spent time beforehand understanding the models hair, researching art deco hair styles and understanding the headpieces before deciding upon a style. She used thin tongs to create curls which were then softened to create a modern, softer version of the classic finger wave. Alex was then on hand throughout the course of the day to fix various headpieces into place which she made look a lot easier than it actually is!
Chelsea Leigh Edgar – Miss Bury 2014 – was the stunning bride for this wonderful shoot and looked amazing next to our groom, Peter Smithson. Chelsea is studying for a degree in Fine Art but enjoys modelling in her spare time having worked with me on previous shoots.
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