April 10th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Today’s bride Zoe was aiming for ‘1940s film starlet’ for her vintage wedding day look. After seeing these photographs, we’re sure you’ll agree that she smashed it. With her tea-length dress, birdcage veil and amazing Ingrid Bergman-esque ‘do’, she looks every inch the glamourous bride.
Retro vibes permeate every aspect of this gorgeous wedding, from the live music to the rich colours of the bridesmaids’ dresses and the stunning floral arrangements. Full marks, guys!
Here at Brides Up North HQ, we’re also touched by Zoe’s advice to brides-to-be: look into your partner’s eyes and not the registrar’s (!), and get thee to a Brides Up North wedding fair. Who are we to disagree?!
With photography by Kate McCarthy Photography
zoe says: We got engaged in Venice at 5.30am on a bridge in Canaregio on 7th May 2016. We’d always wanted to have a two-week holiday in Italy with a week in Venice then a week in Tuscany. We arrived on the Friday and got a water taxi (a complete treat, but obviously Chris knew he was going to propose on holiday whereas I had no clue!)
We love seeing a city wake up, so got up early on the Monday to go and walk round the beautiful streets. We started to cross the bridge right by our apartment and Chris caught my hand, stopped me and said, “Do you love it here?” I replied “Yes, of course” and he then got down on one knee – at which point I started grinning madly! And then he said “Great – in that case, would you do me the great honour of becoming my wife?” and produced the most beautiful emerald cut diamond ring! At this point I wanted to shout “Weeeeeeeeeeeeee!” quite loudly but remembered no one else was awake. Instead, we skipped (literally) down the street grinning our heads off!
Our wedding was planned for 10th February 2017. We wanted to get married quickly but still have some time to plan. We were extremely flexible and so chose our location and then saw what they could offer us – they had this particular Friday free and so we booked it!
Our venue was The Belle Epoque in Knutsford. We had quite a tick list – we wanted somewhere unusual and quirky, with a dancefloor and room for a band but also somewhere with a separate room so that people could sit down and talk. Chris doesn’t dance and so wanted to be able to go around and speak to everyone. I visited it with my mum and, walking in, I was immediately excited; it has a lovely feel, is full of art deco art and pieces, it has a huge welcoming fireplace and the bar is straight in front as you walk in. I spied a room off this entrance with tables and chairs in, so immediately thought that was a tick. We then went upstairs to the dining area which was set up for a wedding – I actually gasped! They had twisted willow and flowers and fairy lights hanging from the ceiling and huge tall vases of flowers, vibrant, rich, opulent colours and gorgeous iris-patterned wallpaper. I was a little bit teary and knew this was the place.
Our theme was a bit vintage and Peaky Blinders, I suppose. I love vintage dresses and wanted to look like a 1940s film star. We didn’t have a colour-scheme as such, but we chose deep reds, purples and pinks for the bridesmaids and flowers. I wanted the bridesmaids to choose their own dress and style but with a vintage theme. I wanted them to be able to wear them again and really enjoy choosing their own dresses!
For my dress, I knew I wanted something in a vintage style from the 40s/50s and tea-length. I started to look on Pinterest and came across a dress that I loved, so went onto the designer’s website and found a local stockist. I went to Puure in Lymm and Angie, the owner, saw me. I tried the dress I’d seen on and liked it but she insisted I try on more – and I was happy to oblige! After another one, she bought a dress out that I looked at and my heart started to beat faster even though it was full-length and had no sleeves! She fastened me up and explained it could be made-to-measure, adjusted to tea length and have three-quarter sleeves fitted. I looked at myself and felt fantastic. My mum grinned and I had a little tear! That was it. It was ivory satin – so rich and so many sumptuous folds of gorgeous material! It had a little belt with a sparkly diamante square buckle, a fitted bodice with a sweetheart neckline and a net top with tiny sparkles on. I had so many lovely compliments. Angie and her team and Sonya, the seamstress were absolutely incredible and made me feel like a 1940s film star on my day!
I wanted my hair setting in a vintage style and so booked the amazing Ewa Baberska, hair and makeup artist, to finish the look. Suzie Taylor was my makeup artist and she was great. I wanted a very natural look as I don’t wear much and she did exactly that, yet made me look fab.
For my headpiece I also wanted something vintage and had met Kaye Hannabuss of Kaye Hannabus Textiles at a networking meeting. We got chatting and I asked her if she would be able to make me something. She made me a fabulous vintage-inspired headpiece with a birdcage veil, a smartie base and a bow. For the evening, she made me a gorgeous hair slide with beads and pearls and diamante. Kaye works with Harris Tweed and so Chris was interested in talking to her about his and Holly’s waistcoats.
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November 4th, 2016 | Alexis Forsyth
This afternoon we’re sharing with you a magical 1920s inspired wedding set against the stunning art nouveau backdrop of The Belle Epoque, in Knutsford, Cheshire, where will be hosting one of our fabulous Luxury Wedding Fairs THIS Sunday. So ladies, if you like what you see, be sure to register for the free-entry event now and join us for what is set to be a really inspiring day with some of the area’s finest wedding suppliers.
The Belle Epoque certainly captured the hearts of today’s couple, Hayley and Tim, who chose to tie the knot at the gorgeous boutique hotel on their nine-year anniversary.
Dressed in an elegant Mark Lesley long-sleeved gown, Hayley’s vintage look perfectly complemented the venue’s plush art deco setting, and set the tone for their special day.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, James Tracey Photography.
hayley says: We got engaged last year whilst celebrating my birthday at a beautiful hotel in the Lakes. Unbeknown to me, Tim had asked my mum and dad for their blessing and bought me a gorgeous ring. We walked for hours, taking in the scenery and then chilled in our hot tub on a private terrace overlooking Lake Windermere and drank champagne. When it was time to get ready for dinner, I went inside the room to get ready. I noticed Tim had gone back out onto the terrace. The curtains were drawn so I couldn’t see outside. When I pulled them back I saw he’d lit candles everywhere and scattered roses around the little box with the ring inside. He got down on one knee and I burst out laughing with shock (poor Tim!). I made him sweat for a few minutes before saying yes.
We got married on 18th June 2016. Given my well-known tendency for bargain hunting, I called the venue and asked for the best summer date they could offer at the best price and this was the date they offered. Very unromantic… until Tim pointed out it would be our nine-year anniversary! He initially thought I’d picked the date for that reason, until I confessed it was just a sweet coincidence!
We knew we wanted an informal venue, all under one roof – we were certain of that. The location was the tricky part. Initially we looked abroad, as we both love the sunshine and a more relaxed setting. But with two small children and a large family, we eventually decided to stay in the UK. Top of our UK list was a vineyard in Cornwall. Cornwall has a special place in our hearts, as does wine. But the place itself was a bit of a ‘work in progress’ as far as venues go. It had lots of potential but wasn’t quite there yet. We were really glad we made the effort to go down and see it though, rather than just judge it from the online photos (top tip to any future brides!).
November 1st, 2016 | Rachel Parry
This afternoon’s real wedding took place at the stunning Belle Epoque boutique hotel in the gorgeous town of Knutsford, Cheshire, where we just so happen to be holding one of our fabulous Luxury Wedding Fairs THIS SUNDAY. So ladies, if you like what you see register here to attend the event, which will feature some of the area’s very finest wedding suppliers whilst showcasing the unique venue! We’ll be open 11am to 3pm and it’s free entry for all, so be sure to bring along the groom, maids and parents too!
We love that today’s bride and groom styled the venue with pretty rustic details and delicate blush blooms, perfectly demonstrating how The Belle Epoque’s spectacular spaces work beautifully with a variety of different themes and colour schemes.
Now, on with the pretty…
With images by Kate Williams Photography.
kate says: We got engaged in August 2014. We were on a road trip through California. We had just climbed to the top of a waterfall in Yosemite and that’s where Dan popped the question!
Our wedding date was 6th August 2016. Dan is a teacher so we wanted it during the summer holidays, we were also hoping for a warm day, and luckily we had great weather!
We had a church ceremony in Warrington, followed by a reception at The Belle Epoque, in Knutsford. We chose The Belle Epoque as we loved all the décor and it has a beautiful terrace to sit out on. The hotel is also yours for the day, we liked that it was private.
We went with a rustic theme for the wedding. We made our invitations using Kraft card and carried this theme through in terms of the table plan and favours etc. We also had logs on the tables, which were underneath crates made by my dad that were holding flowers.
The colour scheme was blush pink and creams, with the groomsmen in navy blue. I had seen lots of flowers I really liked in blush pink and thought it was the perfect colour for the time of year.
November 1st, 2016 | Julia Braime
We’re concluding our sparkling autumn 2016 run of Brides Up North events with two sensational shows this weekend #excitedmuch?! We’ve already told our North East readers about our exclusive showcase at Lartington Hall (click here) but North West ladies, we’re finishing our season in style your way too! Brides Up North is on tour this Sunday 6th November 2016, 11am till 3pm, FREE ENTRY with one aim only: to bring a whole lot of beautiful to our bride to be readers, and send you home excited and inspired, VIP Media Pack in hand.
This chocolate-box-perfect, foodie gem of a wedding venue, The Belle Epoque in the heart of beautiful Knutsford is the perfect destination for your intimate wedding day. We’ve filled its stunning spaces with over 20 of the area’s finest exhibitors, and we’re set for a day to perfect all the details! Register now.
bride to be?
To pre-register for a free Brides Up North VIP Bride-To-Be Media Pack (full of treats and glossy mags), simply follow the link below. You can collect your VIP Bride-To-Be Media Pack upon entry to Lartington Hall. Only the bride need register for larger groups. While stocks last.
In today’s feature, we speak to our beautiful host venue to find out more about their unique wedding day offering and stellar service. But hey, come along and find out for yourself this Sunday…
Where is The Belle Époque located?
We are located in the heart of the stunning market town of Knutsford, Cheshire with lots of parking and accommodation surrounding us.
Tell Brides Up North about your beautiful venue?
The Belle Époque is a family owned business and has been in the Mooney family for the last 43 years. We are a unique intimate venue with the personal touch.
From the warmest of welcomes in an incredibly dramatic bar – think Italian glass mosaic floor, original copper Art Nouveau fireplaces, sumptuous red leather upholstery or in the warmer months our incredible Mediterranean roof garden – hosting a wedding or special event has never been more stylish and relaxing than at The Belle Époque. In addition, we have seven beautiful hotel rooms and stunning civil ceremony rooms. We are fully licensed for civil ceremonies including our outdoor area.
What makes The Belle Époque a special wedding venue?
The Belle Époque is the perfect location for your stylish and individual wedding day. The ceremony room is the most romantic setting, with the option to have the room candle lit. The beautiful dining rooms come ready dressed with stunning table centre pieces, or you may choose to dress the venue in your own style.
June 9th, 2016 | Julia Braime
The saying about quality and quantity could not be truer of the lovely real wedding that we are sharing with you on the blog today.
With a modest guest list of 38 day guests and 53 evening guests, Stephanie and Gary wanted their intimate wedding to be a reflection of them as a couple, whilst also being an enjoyable and memorable event for their guests.
Picking a unique venue and prioritising elements such as the photography, food and entertainment, whilst getting stuck into some DIY décor, meant that Stephanie and Gary could have the special day they had dreamt of, whilst remaining still within budget. Excellent work guys!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, James Tracey Photography.
stephanie says: We got engaged on the 28th May 2014. I had my suspicions that Gary was going to do it soon as he’d booked for us to go for afternoon tea at the Hilton in Manchester. We were in the process of buying our house and the Wednesday before when we were booked for afternoon tea, we’d had our final meeting with the bank to say the mortgage had been agreed. We went to the pub after to celebrate and then came home. I got my PJs on, put the bins out and put the washing on, just usual things to do on a Wednesday, and turned round to find Gary with two glasses of whiskey. He asked me to come with him into the front room and gave me a glass and then got down on one knee with a ring. It took me by surprise! I never wanted a huge spectacle of an engagement so what he did was perfect. He’d even been on his own to get the ring and got it spot on!
We were married on the 24th March 2016, the Thursday before the bank holiday weekend. We got together on the 27th March 2008 so knew we wanted a date around when we got together and we wanted a weekday wedding. The Thursday was a good choice because most people then had the bank holiday Friday off work to recover!
We got married at The Belle Epoque in Knutsford, Cheshire. It was the only venue that we went to look round and we knew straight away it was the one for us. We wanted somewhere that was unique, intimate and personal. From our first meeting there, all the staff were so incredibly helpful and we loved that it was a family business and not part of a large chain of hotels. We could pick and choose what we wanted for our day and we could stay there the night of the wedding and have breakfast with family the day after. The setup of the venue was ideal too; we loved that each part of the wedding was in a separate room and guests didn’t have to be shipped off somewhere whilst the room was re-organised and that people could sit away from the DJ during the evening do and chat. Generally, it’s an absolutely stunning venue!
Gary and I are self-confessed beer geeks, so beer had to feature heavily in our wedding. I also wanted to still keep it girly and vintage-y too so I guess the theme was ‘Beer and Birds’ Each table was named after one of our favourite breweries and we had a selection of their bottles as table decorations with fake roses in. The men’s buttonholes were made of beer bottle caps and I had beer bottle caps on my bouquet. All the stationery featured vintage birds and we had a birdcage table plan. I got the design from Dollface Design on Etsy. My mum was unsure when I told her my vision but everyone said how unique and ‘us’ is was.
I am quite girly so pink was the colour theme but very subtly! I didn’t make Gary wear anything pink. We just had pink roses in the table decorations and my bridesmaid wore pink. The buttonholes did have small pink rose buttons on, which my bridesmaid and I also had in our bouquets.
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August 20th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s bride and groom were faced with organising their wedding from overseas as they now live in Melbourne but returned Rachael’s family roots for their big day. The distance didn’t appear to cause too many problems though as their winter wedding at Cheshire’s Belle Epoque came together beautifully.
Letting the venue speak for itself, Rachael added a few extra sparkling touches, including glitter and candles, for the twinkling, cosy winter wedding she desired.
Another touch of sparkle was added at the end of the wedding with a sparkler arch in the street, which attracted the attention of local pub goers and the even the police, who were all keen to pass on their congratulations to the happy couple.
Images by Adam Riley Photography.
rachael says: We got engaged on the top of Kilimanjaro in December 2013. It was the start of a three month trip overland from Nairobi to Cape Town. I was really sick from altitude sickness and it took a whole lot of willpower to get to the summit. When we did get to the top, James got down on one knee and asked me to marry him – it was the first smile in 36 hours of non-stop vomiting up the last 1,000m of mountain! He had planned on waiting until Cape Town where we were meeting my parents and asking dad’s permission, but he was so impressed with me getting to the top of the mountain he did it there instead. The other story his three brothers like to tell is that he capitalised on my lack of oxygen to the brain!
Our wedding date was 10th January 2015. We chose it because I was re-training to be a teacher during 2014 and was busy studying full time so didn’t want a UK summer wedding. We were planning on coming back to the UK (we live near Melbourne) for Christmas so we thought it seemed like a good time to get married. Plus James has a very big family – including nine nieces and nephews – so we knew that if there was any chance of them making a UK wedding it would be during Australian summer school holidays. Rather than wait for 18 months so we could have a UK summer wedding I thought I would embrace a twinkly, cosy winter wedding instead.
The wedding was at my mum and dad’s local church in Cotebrook near Tarporley, and the reception was held at the Belle Epoque in Knutsford. We chose Belle Epoque for several reasons, firstly a lot of the more traditional wedding venues we felt were a bit too over the top and grand for what we wanted, but we wanted something that had character and a heritage feel to it. Secondly we felt that Belle Epoque was ideal for a winter wedding as all the guests were in a relatively small area which made it easier for us to spend time with everyone. Obviously the food was also a big reason to have it there!
Eventually we did have a theme that came about, but it wasn’t something that I struck upon from day dot! I used to cringe when asked what theme we were having! We had a theme in as much as the table names were named after the mountain huts and summit points on Kilimanjaro and we ended up having the most fabulous Kilimanjaro wedding cake (my husband’s genius idea!), plus our first dance was Wimoweh!
Again, the colour scheme just happened, it wasn’t at all planned. My sister Lorna (who has a stationery company called Toots Designs) designed our beautiful wedding stationery and took her cue for colours from the Belle Epoque period so they were a sort of hyacinth blue/purple and silver combination. I chose bridesmaid dresses from House of Fraser that I loved that were a very dark navy blue, and we had hyacinths in our bouquets. Then there was a lot of silver sparkle on the tables.
I had planned on picking my dress in the UK while I was back for three weeks last July so that I could have my mum and sister there with me. That didn’t happen quite as planned! I went to check out some bridesmaid dresses in Melbourne that my sister had found but had to wait for an appointment to view them. In the meantime I headed into a few of the other bridal shops and found my dress. I didn’t love it on the rack but once it was on I really loved the way it looked and the detail on the back of it. The wedding dress shop were really difficult about taking photos of it to send to my mum and sister, so I ended up skyping them both a week or so later while trying it on!
James wore a really nice suit from Austin Reed, a grey silk suit and his waistcoat and tie were navy blue with small white squares on. The best man and ushers wore grey suits with a navy blue tie.
Our wedding transport for the day was a beautiful Jaguar hired from Decadence Wedding Carriages.
Adam Riley was our photographer. My mum and dad had met him at a wedding fair in January 2014 and picked up his brochure. I picked him out straight away and mum and dad said he was their choice too but hadn’t wanted to sway me! I followed Adam’s page on Facebook before we got married and was so excited to see how our photos would turn out. I had such high expectations which can be a bit dangerous…but Adam exceeded them with what he captured. All of our guests commented how well the photos captured the fun and atmosphere of the day. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Adam to anyone. On the day I don’t know how he got the shots he did as you barely noticed he was there!
My wedding flowers were a mix of thistles and roses (I’m half Scottish), with some eucalyptus as a nod to the Australian part! The bridesmaids had hyacinths in their bouquets too, which are my favourite smelling flowers. Charlotte at the Little Potting Shed worked wonders on the day too decorating the church. I have no idea how she did it, but she managed to get into the church after our service, untie all of the pew ends and take them across to Belle Epoque and place them around the venue there!
One of the reasons I liked Belle Epoque was that they have quite ornate decorations around the venue anyway and it didn’t need too much decorating. As I was out of the country I wanted to make the wedding venue decorating part as easy as possible. The extra decorations were very simple – I ordered different silver candle holders from Amazon along with table sparkly bits and kept each table quite simple. My sister did all the place cards, table plan and table names and menus which looked fantastic.
Gemma McGrillis at Baked in Bunbury made us the most amazing cake. She spent about half an hour taking a brief on what my dress was like, the colour of the flowers etc and then produced mocked up images of some potential designs. They were all beautiful and we were spoilt for choice. But then James had the idea of having a Kilimanjaro cake, and what Gemma produced was a masterpiece – and delicious too.
I also put together a photobook to go on the cake table of our pictures from the Kilimanjaro climb, lots of people wouldn’t have seen them and many commented how nice it was to look through them.
As entertainment we had a ceilidh provided by Triple Scotch as my dad’s Scottish. All of the weddings I have been to with my Scottish family have had ceilidhs and are great fun. Everyone takes part and joins in which makes it lots of fun. We also had a disco.
Our first dance was Wimoweh (the original ‘In the Jungle’ song) as this was our silly song we played while we were planning our trip to Africa, and kind of became the theme song for the trip. I knew I was going to be quitting my job to go so we jokingly code named the trip project wimbaway in any emails to family and friends just in case my bosses were reading emails! My sister and mum thought we should have it as our first dance as we don’t have a particular song we are both attached to, but I thought it was a bit too silly and was a bit worried about what people might think! But the more I thought about it the more I liked the idea, then we had a few dancing lessons to put a routine together for it – although we messed it up on the day because we were laughing too much!
Instead of a guestbook my sister designed the most fabulous poster to sign which is now framed at home. It is a heart shape made out of half British icons and half Australian icons with our names and the date on it. Most of our guests signed this and it’s lovely to be able to display it. My sister is one talented girl and what she did for our stationery I know other people would have paid a lot for, I can’t thank her enough for all of her help and brilliant work.
There were so many brilliant moments during the wedding, but the sparkler arch at the end of the day was amazing. I had seen the idea and thought it was a nice way to end the evening and had it all cleared with the venue that we would do it on the roof terrace. While I was putting my nanna in a taxi to take her home I got chatting to the security man on the door who was lovely – turned out he had climbed Kilimanjaro too and his parents were from Uganda. I told him the plans for the sparkler arch and he said to leave it with him and he would get the road shut off to traffic while we did it! He did just that and we had a sparkler arch down King Street in Knutsford! People from the Rose and Crown came out to watch and I got hugs and congratulations from total strangers. However, the best part was the fact that the first car that had been stopped in the traffic was a police car. He put on his flashing lights and put on his PA system to congratulate us both. It was something that couldn’t have been organised but was such a special and unique way to end a fantastic day.
The best tip I got given that I would pass on to other Brides Up North is to take time together to enjoy the day. It goes so quickly (everyone told me that but I didn’t realise how quickly), so make sure you take the time just to sit back and watch what is happening. Our car ride to the venue after our service was a really nice chance to do that.
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