Charlotte Balbier

hessian & lace. maggie sottero for a rustic wedding in the north west – belinda & dan

October 11th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

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Fans of relaxed rustic wedding styling prepare to take note, for the décor and details in this afternoon’s celebration are guaranteed to earn a place on your Pinterest board.

From hessian chair ties and cute bunting to natural log slices and twine-wrapped glass jars filled with wonderful wild blooms, Dan and Belinda’s big day has it all.

With images by Jonny Draper Photography.

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belinda says: Dan proposed to me in front of Peel Tower on Holcombe Hill, on 15th March 2015. Dan knows that Holcombe Hill is my favourite place so knew it would have meaning for us to get engaged there. He asked my dad’s permission earlier in the day and then suggested we go for a Sunday evening walk. We got to the top of the hill and I started to take some photographs – when I turned around he was down on one knee with the ring in his hand. I cried for about 15 minutes before I remembered to actually say yes!

We set the date of the wedding for 1st April 2016. We had chosen this as our ‘official’ anniversary date of when we first got together (mainly so that Dan would never have an excuse to forget with it also being April Fool’s Day). The wedding fell on our fourth anniversary.

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Our chosen venue was The Fisherman’s Retreat, in Shuttleworth, Lancashire. We wanted a venue where we would be able to see Holcombe Hill, and at The Fisherman’s you have the view of Holcombe Hill right from the spot you have the wedding ceremony so there was never really any other choices on the cards.

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I’d describe the style of our wedding as rustic and natural! We just picked out things we liked the look of really – so lots of brown card, jars with twine, crates, log slices, wooden hearts, etc. This is just our taste in general so seemed the right thing to do!

We didn’t particularly have a colour scheme. We picked a heathery colour for the bridesmaid dresses and Dan’s tie and handkerchief (because I saw the colour on a Dessy swatch and it was the only one I liked) but apart from that we just had all different colours of wild flowers, and then the rustic details in between.

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I wore a Maggie Sottero dress called Cassidy, which I got from The Bridal Lounge, in Accrington. I actually only chose it six weeks before the wedding as I had a total change of heart about the first dress I had chosen from another bridal shop. Lee at the Bridal Lounge turned everything round within the time frame and made sure I had the perfect dress on the day. I teamed my dress with a long veil and wore bright red heels as a surprise for Dan (had to get a little nod to Liverpool FC in somewhere as I had refused it on every other thing he’d suggested!)

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understated elegance. stella york for a diy wedding in north yorkshire – gillian & james

March 16th, 2016 | Julia Braime

A DIY Wedding in Yorkshire (c) Louise Jacob Photography (28)

This morning’s real wedding just goes to show what can be achieved when people pull together and combine their skills.

Keen to keep costs down while getting creative, bride Gillian and groom James, called upon their friends to help style and decorate their wedding venue whilst rolling up their sleeves to pitch in with the pretty too.

The result is a simple yet stylish wedding, filled with meaningful homemade touches that were totally unique to Gillian and James’s big day.

With images by Louise Jacob Photography.

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gillian says: We got engaged on the 23rd August 2014. James proposed at our home with a ring box that was made out of a log and had the words ‘Marry Me?’ inscribed on the top. He’d planted it amongst real logs and asked me to light a small fire while he made breakfast. I thought it was strange as it was August and pretty warm but he was very insistent. When I found the box and realised what was happening I was over the moon. When I looked round he was holding two glasses of champagne. It was perfect.

We got married on 26th September 2015. We knew we didn’t want to wait too long to get married as we’d already been together for nearly eight years when James proposed.

A DIY Wedding in Yorkshire (c) Louise Jacob Photography (11)

We had our ceremony and reception at The Red Lion in Burnsall, North Yorkshire. It’s a lovely rustic style venue nestled in a beautiful part of Yorkshire. It was important to be able to have our friends and family stay over with us and they have a number of rooms available as well as cottages next door.

We didn’t have a theme as such but were going for a look of simple understated elegance. I’m not overly creative but to keep costs down I wanted to do as much of the decorating as possible. I set up Pinterest boards for the different areas of the wedding and enlisted the help of my friend Ros and together with James, we decorated jars and made bunting. The day before the wedding the three of us and my chief bridesmaid Michelle, were busy cutting flowers and putting up fairy lights. It was manic but immense fun.

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rustic luxe: a styled country wedding shoot at the black swan, helmsley

July 27th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (26)

If there’s one thing that makes me go weak at the knees, other than gorgeous weddings, it’s a cute dog.

Having grown up with canine companions a firm part of the family, there aren’t many mutts that don’t evoke a genuine ‘ahh’ from me. So when our fabulous Sponsor, The Black Swan hotel, sent over the results of a recent styled shoot at the venue, which featured a fine Irish Red Setter, it was a ‘yes’ from me.

The ‘groom’ isn’t bad either, is he?!

Located in the idyllic North Yorkshire village of Helmsley, the black swan is the perfect venue for a romantic country-inspired wedding (did you catch the beautiful celebration we shared on the wedding blog this morning?). With this in mind the hotel welcomed photographer Annemarie King and a talented bunch northern wedding suppliers, to use the venue as a stunning backdrop for a rustic luxe styled shoot, complete with dapper tweed, natural blooms and detailed dresses.

The setting of the hotel brings all elements to life for an incredibly well-executed shoot that will make you go ‘ooh’ and well as ‘ahh’ (and not just over that dog). So let’s handover to The Black Swan for those all important details…

With images by Annemarie King.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (14)

the black swan says: The well-loved country charm, welcoming atmosphere and quaint English gardens, overlooking the pretty churchyard next door, made The Black Swan the perfect venue for Annemarie King and her team to co-create a rustic-luxe themed photographic campaign.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (10)

Model James with his red-haired beauties, ‘bride’ Zara and Connor, the Irish Red Setter, are on location at the hotel and also at Helmsley Walled Gardens, which brings the theme to life with a touch of nostalgia. The evocative images are intimate, dream-like, and sometimes fun and light-hearted.

The timeless, informal elegance of the photography mirrors the essence of this historic hotel venue – the smartly-tailored handsome groom James, in his Yorkshire tweeds and smartly polished brogues, along with his bride’s sweet, ethereal beauty and swan-like elegance make for a beautiful pairing, and Connor certainly adds a special appeal to the ‘family shots’.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (11)

The various settings demonstrate the hotel’s oak beamed Tudor Lounge, the oldest part of the venue with its original inglenook, and the cosy stone-walled Crosland Lounge, as well as the pretty English walled gardens, in which The Black Swan’s new Oak Gazebo is located, which is now available for outdoor summer wedding ceremonies and celebrations. Helmsley Walled Gardens also plays a part, giving a super botanical backdrop to the shots.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (19)

A creative team led by York photographer Annemarie King, is responsible for the shoot with all those who offered their talents and goods on the day doing a fantastic job. Two of Annemarie’s passions are showcased within the shoot as she’s an award-winning photographer specialising in both country weddings and canine photography.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (8)

The shoot’s retro-inspired gowns, which include the Alan Hannah’s Tara long lace gown, White Rose’s 50s style R920 gown, Angel B’s peppermint bridesmaid dress Am 242, and the flamboyant Cymbeline Adele design, were kindly loaned by The Bridal Lounge in Northallerton, along with selected accessories.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (7)

Carters Country Wear provided the tweed tailored outfit sported by groom, James. Carters specialise in suits and country wear tailored with cloth from Saville Row and Yorkshire tweed mills, with a particular emphasis on country sportswear. They enjoy an international clientele who value their quality and highly personalised service.

Much of the jewellery was generously loaned by Libby Butler Jewellery, located in Helmsley.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (3)

The striking makeup and hairstyling of our bride Zara, is by award-winning hair and make-up artist Kate Pymm, who based in the North East and works throughout the UK on a wide portfolio of projects, including bridal hair and makeup.

The sweet bouquets and simple floral arrangements with home-grown ‘grandma’s cottage garden blooms’ inspired by the rural-luxe theme, were all created by Liz Wood at Busy Liz’s Floral Design, of Kirbymoorside.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (5)

To complete the stellar line-up, Celebrate Country Cake Design, located in Helmsley’s Walled Gardens, supplied the cake, Fabulously Finished, of Ampleforth, supplied the props and the chair covers were loaned by Chair Covers of Yorkshire, located in Easingwold.

For more information about weddings at The Black Swan, contact 01439 770466 and ask to speak to their Wedding Co-ordinator. Alternatively, visit their website

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undoubtedly delicious. a pistachio & lavender themed wedding at beeston manor – laura & stephen

July 6th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Foodie Wedding at Beeston Manor (c) H2 Photography (34)

Foodies Laura and Stephen incorporated their love of fine dining into every element of their wedding, from the romantic restaurant proposal, to menu and theming choices for the big day, and even planned some top nosh in swanky London town to kick start their honeymoon.

We just love the pretty pistachio and lavender colour scheme, which fits in with the theming beautifully, plus all those special homemade touches that were loving crafted by Laura, with the help of her leading ladies.

So pull up a chair, tuck in your napkin and feast your eyes on the delicious big day…

With images and video by H2 Photography.

laura says: We got engaged in April 2012. Stephen and I often save up and treat ourselves to meals at top restaurants as we really enjoy eating out and sampling fine cuisine. Due to our love of food, Stephen planned a whole holiday around eating. On the final night of our trip, we treated ourselves and booked a table at the 3 Michelin star restaurant called Akelare. We sat admiring the view of the Bay of Biscay whilst enjoying our 12 course tasting menu. The final dish arrived and to my surprise under the silver cloche there was a dazzling engagement ring. Stephen got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Without a doubt I said “yes” and the rest is history.

We set the date for 16th August 2014 as I’m a teacher and so wanted to book it in the summer holidays to allow time for me to complete my preparations.

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We married in our local village church and had a beautiful service with our close friends and family. When it came to finding the reception venue we visited many options, but instantly fell in love with Beeston Manor in Hoghton, Lancashire. We loved the venue due to its intimacy and homeliness. The owners were fabulous and extremely accommodating. Being situated within the countryside and close to where we live, it was a perfect venue for us.

The overall style was of our wedding was traditional English country garden. This theme fit perfectly with the venue.

Our colour theme was ‘pistachio and lavender’. I adore the scent of lavender so I grew my own within the garden. I then dried it out and this was used to decorate the church pews and the reception tables. I even got my florist to incorporate some within my bouquet. Stephen found an unusual pistachio coloured suit that he really liked and the added bonus was that we are both very fond of eating pistachios!

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I wanted a big dress that was covered in lace and had intricate detail. I was keen to find one that was fitting of a traditional wedding. I would only wear a dress of this splendour once so I wanted to make a statement. The best thing about my dress was that it had a bolero piece that I could detach. This transformed the look of the dress and made it extra special. I purchased the dress from The Bridal Lounge in Accrington.

Stephen hired his suits from Dan Kerr in Preston. He wore a pistachio coloured suit with a cream cravat and handkerchief. The groomsmen wore the same as the groom. The only difference was that Stephen had a different buttonhole.

The bridesmaids wore a lavender Grecian style dress. I ordered these from a website called, www.DIYdress.com. The quality of the dresses were amazing and I purchased all three of them at a reasonable price. Our little flower girl wore a beautiful dress from BHS.

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We hired a traditional car from a local supplier. We only lived around the corner from our church so the chauffer ran the bridesmaids up to the church first and then came back for me and my dad.

A Foodie Wedding at Beeston Manor (c) H2 Photography (25)

We visited a few photographers before we found Chris at H2 photography. We were really interested in getting a good quality videographer to capture our special day. We first found H2 Photography online. We watched one of Chris’ cinematic films he had featured on his website and we just knew that the quality of his films were above any other we had seen. The bonus was that when we met Chris in person he was a really approachable, friendly guy. Both Stephen and I knew that that we wouldn’t be disappointed if we picked Chris to be our photographer/videographer. We were right to trust our instincts. He was great!

A Foodie Wedding at Beeston Manor (c) H2 Photography (40)

To save money, I attended our church’s flower arranging classes. With the help of Hazel (the chief flower arranger at church) we created some fabulous floral creations. This was an enjoyable experience and the church looked beautiful due to our personal touch.

The bridal bouquet, bridesmaid bouquets, button holes and corsages were created by Eden florist in Chorley. Again, I couldn’t fault their service. They did any amazing job.

I designed and created all the table centre pieces myself. Each one was unique and quaint. I purchased a variety of discounted items from places such as The Range, B&M and Country Baskets wholesalers. I was also assisted by a brigade of close friends who helped me to decorate empty jam jars. This was a fun experience and my friends really enjoyed contributing to the wedding preparations. Each table had a bespoke, homemade feel to it. To complete the setting, Creative Covers in Preston, supplied our chair covers.

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As favours the male guests received a bag of pistachio nuts and a tag that read ‘Nuts about each other’. The female guests meanwhile received a bar of lavender soap and an envelope of seeds. The seed label read, ‘Plant these seeds and watch them bloom, just like the love of the bride and groom’. We bought our flower girl a beautiful Build a Bear which was dressed in a gorgeous wedding dress. She loved her present.

We decided to have a cake made of cheese. The cheese was supplied by Pat’s Cheeses on Chorley market. This was one of the highlights for our guests. The cake looked beautiful and tasted great too.

As a sweet option we also ordered a three-tier iced sponge cake from Marks & Spencer. We picked up some lace from the Chorley market and pinned it around each tier. I then ordered an extra button hole for my cake topper. A simple look, but it was extremely effective.

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We chose Alex Birtwell an acoustic vocalist to perform at our wedding. He is an excellent wedding entertainer. He was extremely versatile, professional and friendly. All our wedding guests commented on how good he was.

In addition to the traditional wedding guest book I created ‘messages in a bottle’. The guests inserted a ‘best wishes note’ into the following labelled bottles: 1 year, 5 year, 10 year and 25 years. On each anniversary we will smash the relevant bottle and read our wonderful messages.

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To collect images from our day we used a free app called Wedpics.com. This was an amazing free website where guests could login and upload their wedding snaps for us to view. This is a modern take on putting cameras on each table. We accumulated about 300 amateur extra weddings snaps, which was great.

We would definitely recommend our wedding venue to others. This family run business can’t do enough for you. They made our day run smoothly and perfectly. A gorgeous venue, great staff and scrumptious food.

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After the wedding we started our honeymoon by nipping down to London on the train to visit Le Gavroche, which is the restaurant belonging to Michel Roux Jr. We then flew to Corsica and spent a whole week in a gorgeous, peaceful, secluded villa. It was bliss!

My top tips to other Brides Up North would be – get yourself a wedding planning booklet to keep yourself organised, delegate jobs as much as possible to friends and family and don’t be scared to DIY and add personal touches.

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