Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

lilac & lilies. a super stylish wedding at the leeds club – rachel & tom

October 28th, 2016 | Julia Braime

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When we first set eyes on today’s real wedding we were totally blown away by the bride’s cool and individual style, perfectly showcasing how to make your big day attire your own.

Wearing an insanely beautiful lilac, bias-cut silk dress, Rachel exudes Hollywood glamour by the bucket load, completing her look with a sparking birdcage veil headpiece and shower style bouquet. We love!

As the couple’s stylish choice of venue didn’t have a marriage license, Rachel and Tom made things legal with a ceremony at Leeds Town Hall a few days previous, and yes, they looked flippin’ gorgeous for that bit too!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Mark Newton Photography.

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rachel says: We got engaged on 29th February 2012, at the Bier Keller in Leeds. We’d randomly gone there for a drink after. After a discussion about wedding and such things, I decided to ask Tom to marry me, we had been together for five years after all. He said yes and we both got quite emotional. I was lucky enough to inherit my grandmother’s engagement ring so we didn’t have to buy one.

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We had our legal ceremony at Leeds Town Hall on 18th May 2015, as unfortunately the venue we wanted to have our wedding at didn’t have a licence to marry us there. We then had a blessing at The Leeds Club on 29th May, as part of our wedding celebrations. I always remember walking past the venue as a child and seeing the business men in the wing back chairs and being really fascinated as to what was inside.

We chose lilac and sage green for the wedding scheme, as we wanted colours that would complement the venue and that also matched my dress.

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I was lucky enough to have two wedding dresses as we had the two ceremonies. For the town hall I wore head to toe Vivienne Westwood. For the blessing, I was fortunate enough to have a bespoke dress from the amazing Glory Days, in York. My dress was based on 1940’s Hollywood glamour and the dresses worn by Joan Crawford. It was lilac bias cut silk, with an open back and fishtail train. It was the best dress ever.

Tom wore a suit from River Island for the town hall and then a three-piece 60’s style, royal blue suit from Topman for the blessing.

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Both my bridesmaids have very different styles, so I asked them to wear their favourite dresses. Jules made her own 1940’s style cocktail dress and Suzanne wore a floor-length maxi dress from Seraphina.

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you’d be good for me. a vintage travel inspired wedding at the leeds club – jess & sam

September 23rd, 2014 | Julia Braime

a vintage travel wedding at Leeds Club (c) Mark Dolby Photography (21)

I’m looking forward to joining my friend and Brides Up North Featured Supplier Cat Hepple to host a question and answer session at her Editorial Wedding Workshop this afternoon.

Nerves? Nah, I’m saving those for this.

Whilst I’m off on official duties, I thought I’d leave this especially sweetLeeds based DIY vintage travel themed wedding in my pace for you to enjoy. Jess and Sam styled their big day their way, to beautiful and individual effect. Super cool.

With images by Mark Dolby Photography.

a vintage travel wedding at Leeds Club (c) Mark Dolby Photography (6)

Jess says: Sam proposed after an amazing evening out in Leeds. The story starts with an unfortunate incident of a pair of my tights getting stuck to chewing gum on a seat in a bar – they compensated us by gifting us a bottle of wine and we decided to make a night of it! We went for a few drinks and then some amazing tapas. When we left the restaurant Sam realised he had left his scarf in one of the earlier bars so on the way back we had to cross the Millennium Bridge in Leeds. He got out some photos of us at various places we’d been to since we got together and some pegs out of his pocket and suggested we count the bars on the bridge and peg photos to them. Once we ran out of photos we hit a bar with a padlock on it. The padlock had our initials on it and the lyrics from a Weezer song – “I think I’d be good for you, and you’d be good for me” when I turned to look at Sam he was down on one knee with a ring asking if I’d marry him.

a vintage travel wedding at Leeds Club (c) Mark Dolby Photography (10)

We got married on 16th August 2014 at the iconic Town Hall and had our reception at the beautiful Leeds Club on Albion Place. We chose the Leeds Club because it’s a gorgeous building with amazing features. The Leeds Club also blew us away with their organisational skills. We wanted somewhere with an old soul but could throw a great party and I think we cracked it with the Leeds Club.

Our wedding had a travel theme to it. We chose travel as a theme as it is one of our shared passions in life. In the first 2 months of getting together we flew from Leeds to California to see Weezer play and that set the tone for the rest of our relationship.

All the flowers were made from old maps, this included table flowers, bouquet and buttonholes. The centrepieces were placed on squares made of material with maps on them. All the tables were named after cities we had visited and our table plan was on a map. Our invitations and programmes were designed like airline paper.

We didn’t have a particular colour scheme but because of our travel theme, the maps and the blue and red airline paper did play a part in dictating colours. I decided to use maps for the flowers because they would add pattern and colour to the bloom without being uniform or too prescribed.

a vintage travel wedding at Leeds Club (c) Mark Dolby Photography (20)

My wedding dress was Sia by Coast. I tried on probably around 50 dresses and couldn’t find one that had the right balance of being bridal but practical. Then I found Coast! I was in love with the Sia dress but they didn’t have any more in my size across the country. The personal shopper called every store across England but it wasn’t in stock. But luckily someone was selling one on eBay in my size. With a few alterations to the length, it was perfect!

My shoes were from Irregular Choice. They are my favourite shoe brand and loved seeing them peep out from under my dress as we walked through town!

Sam’s suit was a favourite he has from Marks and Spencer. He bought the matching waistcoat and then chose a snappy shirt from Next. His shirt was a beautiful geometric pattern in red and white with a red tie.  Sam had a tan belt and same colour shoes from Berwick’s.

Sam is really keen on ethical purchasing so he gave a lot of his choices a lot of thought and this included his underwear. In the end Sam chose items from ‘Pants To Poverty’. These became quite a talking point at the reception when I mentioned them in my speech!

As explained, I carried a bouquet that I had made from maps. I got designs from various craft blogs online and over a few nights perfected my flower crafting. My bouquet had about 50 flowers in it made from maps. I bought a shoebox of maps from eBay and used about 90% of the contents. The rest of the maps can be useful for our next adventure!

We didn’t have bridesmaids or groomsmen but I did make buttonholes for all the family so they could have them in their hair (for the ladies) or in their suits (for the gents). Sam’s Dad also chose the same shirt and tie combo as Sam. That was a lovely touch.

a vintage travel wedding at Leeds Club (c) Mark Dolby Photography (23)

I travelled from our home in Leeds to the Town Hall with my brother, sister and brother’s girlfriend in Mercedes town car that we booked. It was an E Class and very plush. Then between the Town Hall and the Leeds Club we walked between the venues. We had a few girl ushers (or Gushers, as I nicknamed them) to help guide guests as to the venue.

This was a lot of fun because another wedding had booked a Rolls Royce that was sat outside the Town Hall when we left and everyone expected us to get in. As we walked off everyone was very confused! Eventually as people started to cotton on that it wasn’t our car they then convinced us to go back for photos! So to the couple that paid for that car- if you see any photos of us by the side of your Rolls on your wedding day- I am so sorry!

It was great that we did walk though as luckily on that day Fosters were doing a promotion and giving out cans of beer right between our two venues! All our guests got a freebie on the walk between. People kept thanking us for arranging it!

a vintage travel wedding at Leeds Club (c) Mark Dolby Photography (26)

Our photographer was Mark Dolby and he was incredible. He was so much a part of the day he was like a guest- but he was also doing all the work! He arrived hours before we had booked him so that he could be prepared and stayed much later than we agreed because we over ran! He made us feel so comfortable and happy. He captured loads of amazing natural and reportage style shots, which is exactly what we wanted. We had a few classic group shots but we were sold on his style of ‘in the moment’ photos and they were absolutely amazing. Thank you so much Mark!

He also had around 85 photos ready for us to look through by the meal time so that they could be on a slide show in the bar at the Leeds Club- the guests loved it and kept complementing us on what lovely photos. Plus they felt famous being on the big screen in a gorgeous bar!

a vintage travel wedding at Leeds Club (c) Mark Dolby Photography (27)

I made a centrepiece for each of the tables, which included a table name on a luggage tag that was displayed in an empty bottle of beer. Sam is a beer connoisseur so he chose each beer bottle carefully! There were a lot of samples for that decoration!

Around each table name there were three bottles with my map flowers placed inside and candles. All of this was also placed on a square of map material. We also had maps cut into hearts sprinkled onto each table as table confetti. Each guest had their place name on a luggage tag that I had sewn with some map material.

For our cards and guest book table there were more flowers made of maps and a suitcase for cards. The suitcase came from my friend’s house when they moved in and must be over 50 years old. I also made the cards bunting sign from old maps.

Sam’s Mum gave me some decorations from his Grandmother’s wedding in 1947. They also were used in Sam’s parent’s wedding so I framed them so that they could have a special place in our wedding.

I made most the decorations myself but the Leeds Club put all of them out. They were so helpful! We delivered all the bits on Friday morning with set up instructions and they put them out perfectly!

a vintage travel wedding at Leeds Club (c) Mark Dolby Photography (33)

We are in love with this bakery called That Old Chestnut in Leeds. It is a vegan bakery and they basically work in cake magic. The first time we tried their cake at a fair in Leeds we knew we would have them! The question was what flavour cake! In the end we couldn’t decide so we had 6!

Triple Chocolate, Stem Ginger, Lemon Drizzle, Carrot, Coffee and Walnut and Chocolate Torte.

We were a bit nervous we had gone overboard on the cake so we provided cake-away boxes in case anyone wanted to take some home and by the end of the night there was nothing but some crumbs (which I ate while we were saying “bye” to our last guests!).

We didn’t do favours but we did have a lot of cake and let people take any of the table flowers home with them. There wasn’t any table flowers by the end of the party and lots of guests had worked them into their hair. It was fantastic! That was exactly what we hoped!

a vintage travel wedding at Leeds Club (c) Mark Dolby Photography (32)

We chose a hot fork buffet by the Leeds Club because we like the informal style of choosing from a buffet on the day but knew that a hot meal would be needed! The food was delicious; when we came for a menu tasting we were so excited!! We provided wines through Sam’s Mum and Dad. They introduced us to this brilliant Pinot Noir from Aldi and a Spanish White wine that Sam’s mum loves.

a vintage travel wedding at Leeds Club (c) Mark Dolby Photography (34)

Our DJs were incredible. I know them from my work and they really did us a massive favour by DJing. The speeches over ran so they couldn’t get into the room to set up the equipment until an hour late, but they still started the party on time.

I first met one of the DJs when I hired him for a job in the bar I worked in when he was 18 and a few months old- he is now working on his PhD in Southampton and came back to Leeds just to DJ for us!

Sam and I went out for some last minute portraits before our first dance and when we came back the dance floor was packed- we had to clear a space for the first which was Diana Ross’ “Upside Down”.

After our first dance everyone was back on the floor and didn’t stop until the end. Even then there were chants for “one more tune!” A big thanks to Aarran Shaw and Sam Ryder for accommodating us!

a vintage travel wedding at Leeds Club (c) Mark Dolby Photography (35)

We added lots of special touches to our day, but two stand out in particular.

I did a speech at our wedding. I think it is becoming more common for Bride’s to speak at their wedding and I can see why. It is so great to add your different perspective on the day and what you had thought in the run up. It was also great because I could mention some of the important people who couldn’t be there for various reasons – like our Grandmothers who I know would have loved to see the day.

We chose two readings at the Town Hall, which really helped personalise the ceremony. Our friends Lauren and Susy read an extract from Dr Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” and our friend Dave did an acoustic cover of the Magnetic Fields “The Book of Love” – he put lots of energy in to the final chorus and took it up an octave. The crowd went wild!

The people at the Town Hall were absolutely incredible. The lady who prepared and signed the register with us – Nancy, was retiring after our wedding and it felt so special to be her last couple. As she explained the register to us as we signed our names she had a lump in her throat saying the words. It was an incredible moment.

a vintage travel wedding at Leeds Club (c) Mark Dolby Photography (40)

We would strongly recommend the Leeds Club. It is a beautiful, historic location but also incredibly well placed. Very easy for guests to find but also easy for them to find their hotels! The team at the Leeds Club will also bend over backwards for you. They did so much to help us prepare for our big day- a big thank you especially to Karen Hiscoe, Ellie and Laura.

a vintage travel wedding at Leeds Club (c) Mark Dolby Photography (51)

My favourite part of the day was when Sam and I met before we went to the Town Hall in the Leeds Central Library. It was a bit of a risk as they had previously told us we’d need permission for photos there. I was starting to get nervous when I arrived at the Library and fell up the stairs as I walked in (much hilarity ensued for my siblings!). But when Sam and I saw each other, all the nerves disappeared and we were just so happy.

We took some photos and walked across to the Town Hall. It felt so calm and natural to walk in together with all our friends and family there. The emotions came back as we walked down the aisle though. Truly amazing.

a vintage travel wedding at Leeds Club (c) Mark Dolby Photography (59)

For our honeymoon, we went to one of our most favourite places in the world- Barcelona. Viva Espana! We hired a flat in Barceloneta with a view of the sea and spent the week drinking cava, relaxing on the beach and seeing art! Perfecto! Randomly two of our close friends were also in Barcelona at the time so we had them over for dinner at the flat one night and it was great to get their view on the wedding! Our photographer- Mark, had also been to Barcelona the week before so he gave us some great tips on some art to see.

We loved our wedding so much and had an absolute ball! I have probably a hundred top tips for other Brides Up North. Seeing your partner before you walk down the aisle is so special. Just go with the flow on the day. When we planned the day I was nervous about fitting all the bits in- they didn’t fit in, and it didn’t matter! We were late but that was ok!

Make sure you get plenty of water – it’s amazing how dehydrated you can feel from the nerves.

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Let’s Go To Town! A Real City Wedding In Leeds – Sophie & James

March 10th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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Today I’m taking a much needed day off from wedding blog and events duties and heading into town to run some errands (and perhaps check out these shoes) before meeting a friend for lunch.  Lovely!  The excitement levels are through the roof right now.

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What better way to celebrate my first day off since Christmas with a fabulous wedding in the very city that I’ll be stomping, sent in to me by newlywed Sophie. 

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Have a great Saturday Brides Up North!

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Let’s hear from Sophie:  James proposed during a weekend away for my birthday at Grassington House Hotel, North Yorkshire on 9th July 2011, and we were married on 18th December 2011 at 3 Albion Place, Leeds (now renamed The Leeds Club). 

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We fell in love with the venue at the first visit. We thought it was unusual to have a city centre location for a wedding and loved the idea of having photographs taken in the city centre. We were really attracted to the venue as it was ours for the day, and we could pick and choose whatever we wanted – the staff were really flexible.

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We didn’t really want a colour theme, but our bridesmaids wore electric blue and the groomsmen wore matching blue ties. Everything else was white. We wanted everything to look romantic and so it was all candlelit.

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My dress was by Ellis and from Precious Bridal in Garforth, Leeds, and my bridesmaids wore electric blue halterneck full length dresses from Coast.  We wore gorgeous tiaras, earrings and necklaces by Eos Jewellery. Michelsberg Tailoring in Leeds made James’s bespoke suit.

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I carried a small hand tied bouquet of white roses, hydrangea and green berries with a pearl detail finish by The Flower Room in Eccleshill, Bradford, who also dressed the venue for us as well as doing all the corsages and buttonholes.

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My favourite part of the day was walking into our beautiful wedding breakfast room as the new Mr & Mrs.

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Our cake was made by a colleague at work – we wanted something simple with a but of sparkle and bling. So we went for a three tier plain white cake with our initials in diamante on the top. Two layers were fruit and one layer was chocolate.

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We had a classical guitarist play in our drinks reception and then a disco in the evening and boogied the night away until the early hours!

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We honeymooned in Thailand.  We travelled to Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket over Christmas and New Year.

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My advice for other Brides Up North would be that the most important thing is that you’re getting married to the person that you love; as long as you’re both there nothing else matters. So, don’t get too stressed about detail as no one will notice anyway, and everything will be perfect on the day.

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Congratulations Sophie & James!

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  – Images © Richard Wilson Photography

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