June 8th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
The sentiment of today’s real wedding between Isis and Martyn is this: on the day, it doesn’t matter how many days, weeks and months you’ve spent organising the perfect wedding, the most important element is the exchanging of the vows, witnessed by all the people who love you. In the end, that’s the fairy tale and it’s worth reminding ourselves sometimes, when the ink has smudged on the invitations or the band we love is already booked, that love conquers all that stuff.
Having made the inspired decision to research the weather of their chosen wedding date over the previous ten years, only to find that each year it had offered up blue skies and sunshine, Isis and Martyn secured their March wedding date and were not disappointed with the forecast. With a focus on the ceremony, they crafted their own vows as a truly special touch and ensured there was not a dry eye in the house as they emerged into the spring sunshine as husband and wife.
Isis made all the decorations herself, even assembling the cake from individual tiers and adding the decorations. Despite not following a colour scheme, the couple chose a delicate palette of blue and sage green, which toned beautifully and offered echoes of spring to complement the time of year. Tell us more, Isis…
With images by Jess Yarwood.
isis says: Martyn and I got engaged in the Cairngorms in Scotland. I was studying for a degree and was one exam away from finishing. I had secured training at Manchester University to become a teacher and just needed to complete my degree with high scores. Martyn booked a weekend away in advance of me getting the results I needed, so that we could celebrate (there was no reason to think I wouldn’t get the results I needed). At the time, Martyn was living in Manchester and I was in Scunthorpe at the other end of the country, so I needed to pass so I could move over to be with him. The day we left, I got the terrible news that I hadn’t got the results I needed and wouldn’t be able to move over or go to Manchester University. I spent the whole seven-hour drive to Scotland in tears.
We arrived, and Martyn had booked a stunning country house on the river with its own private sauna and hot tub. The next morning, I woke up to an email saying there had been a mistake and I actually had received the results I needed! We spent the day exploring the area and, in the afternoon, I came out of the kitchen to a trail of rose petals. I followed them out into the garden to the river bank, where Martyn was waiting on one knee. It was completely unexpected and so romantic. Just the two of us with nobody else to see – perfect.
We got married on Saturday 24th March 2018. We chose the date after choosing the venue. We checked out the weather on that date for the last ten years and every year it had been warm and sunny. We took the risk and booked it. We made the right decision because our day was beautiful – blue skies and warm spring sunshine.
Our venue for the ceremony and reception was Samlesbury Hall in Preston. It was the first (and only) venue we visited and we both fell in love with it straight away. Not being religious, a church ceremony wasn’t something we would consider and we didn’t want a hotel or country house. Samlesbury Hall was perfect – a traditional Tudor home with loads of original features and open fires, which were lit at night. Everyone loved it and commented on what a unique and beautiful venue we had chosen. The staff were amazing – so friendly – and would literally do anything for you. The venue is beautiful and the grounds are gorgeous too.
We are the least fussy people you could imagine and wanted something simple, so we didn’t opt for a particular theme or colour scheme. We didn’t want to spend lots of money on things that didn’t really matter to us (like table decorations, flowers, etc.) and instead wanted to focus on the actual ceremony and wedding.
For my dress, I chose a fitted, illusion back dress with lace on the sleeves and the front. I bought it from WED2B in Bolton more than a year-and-a-half before the wedding! I wasn’t going to buy it that early but saw it on the internet and loved it – I knew I had to try it on just in case. It was perfect. I wore it with a full-length veil.
I had my hair done by Marsha Lloyd in Wilmslow, Manchester – my local hairdresser who I trusted, and I did my own makeup.
July 12th, 2016 | Julia Braime
This morning we’re heading to the North East to relive the stunning wedding day of Lerina and Joelif.
Having fallen head over heels for The Grand Hotel in Tynemouth, Brides Up North reader Lerina set about organising a fun and fancy wedding in just six months! Certainly no mean feat but she pulled it off perfectly with a big day full of smiles, tears and laughter, as well as lots of pretty hearts and flowers. Who run the world? Girls!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Paul Liddement Photography.
lerina says: We got engaged the day after my birthday last year. Joelif decided that we should have a wonder into Tynemouth, where we live, for some food. We went down to Riley’s Fish Shack which is on King Edwards’s beach. It was a lovely bright, crisp afternoon. We had a hot chocolate and fresh grilled lobster salad whilst we sat overlooking the beach. When we finished, we walked back up the stairs from the beach when Joelif suddenly stopped and got down on one knee and produced a red ring box. He opened it and there was the biggest diamond ring inside. My jaw almost hit the round. He asked if I would marry him and I instantly said yes. He put the ring on my finger then was quick to tell me it wasn’t a real diamond, he’d decided that we could go ring shopping together as he knows I’m fussy with jewellery. After that we went to one of our favourite bars and sat outside in the sun drinking champagne to celebrate. I then called my family to tell them the exciting news! Just over a month later we had our engagement party at a local bar/bistro called The Sandpiper. It was a fantastic night.
Our wedding date was 7th May 2016, exactly 15-and-a-half years to the exact date that we first got together.
We got married at The Grand Hotel in Tynemouth, which is just a five-minute drive from our house. The Grand was the last venue we looked at as we had been guests at a number of our friends’ wedding there and didn’t think it would feel special if we held our own wedding there. However on the day that we attended an open event there we instantly felt excited about it. The venue had been refurbished since we had last been. It was so much brighter and fresher and had new furniture in the bar area. The ceremony room looked stunning, so classy and exactly what we wanted. When we went up the grand stairs to the main room where the wedding breakfast takes place, it over looks Tynemouth Longsands beach and it just took our breath away. Instantly we knew that we had found our venue. We thought we would enquire about availability or late summer 2016, however the latest summer date was 7th May so we immediately went for it and paid the deposit. This gave us just six months to plan everything.
We wanted the style of the wedding to reflect the venue, which is grand, classy and romantic, but at the same time, we wanted the wedding to be fun and relaxed to match our personalities as a couple.
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September 16th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Though not set on a strict theme, today’s real wedding couple styled their day perfectly to create a reflection of them and the things that they like.
The pretty affair features playful pastel décor in blooms, bird cages and antique accessories to help set the scene. Add to this a chic VW camper van, a to-die-for Stephanie Allin gown and gorgeous lace mint bridesmaid dresses, and you’ve got one very swoon-worthy wedding indeed.
With images by Elouisa Georgiou Photography.
charlotte says: We got engaged in Paris. Kyle had booked the weekend away as a surprise and told me to pack a small case. He took me first to a hotel in Liverpool airport, and in the room he left two tickets to Paris and Disneyland on the bed for me to notice – I was so shocked! Our first day in Paris consisted of a 38 degree heatwave so we waited until it was dark to venture up the Eiffel Tower. During the lift ride, I could feel his hands shaking but he said it was his fear of heights! As we stood looking over Paris at night, I just remember he got out a ring box and asked me to be his wife still shaking. I will remember that moment forever.
Our wedding date was 9th August 2014. I’m a secondary school teacher and so having the holidays to enjoy our day was important – I really wanted a summer wedding too. Although the day before there was an awful storm and horrendous rainfall, by some miracle the weather was perfect – the marquee we hired from Ascot Marquees had all dried out and we were blessed with sunshine.
We only ever looked at one venue and that was Wood Lane in Sheffield; a grade two listed barn with lots of character and original rustic features as it was built in 1802. We knew we wanted the venue to be all ours and to be on the unique side – so a hotel wasn’t for us. We also loved the fact that Kyle’s mum had helped to dig the pond in the gardens years ago and Kyle went to school right next door.
As soon as I walked into the barn I fell in love with the natural stonework and wood beams and I knew this is where I wanted to marry Kyle. Being a blank canvas, we knew it would be hard work, but we had the freedom to create exactly the day we wanted.
We didn’t have a strict theme as we’re quite eclectic in our tastes: we love old, restored furniture, vintage styling and unique rustic touches and this is what I wanted the styling of our day to represent.
For the colour palette we mainly went for a mix of pastel colours: mint, pale pinks and blues, to fit in with the delicate colourings of the barn and the meadow-like gardens surrounding it.
As a student I worked part-time in River Island (which is actually where Kyle and I met) so fashion and clothes have always been a big part of my life. Having heard great things about The White Room in Sheffield I knew this was the kind of bridal boutique I needed to go to. I fell in love with Loren – a full lace Stephanie Allin dress – and Chloe, the owner, suggested I added lace bolero.
I also wore a vintage crystal headband by Debbie Carlisle. The band was wrapped in satin to match the colour of my hair too. I adore shoes, and so I decided on a pair of white satin peep toe Louboutins. The inside of the shoes are blue for your ‘something blue’, which I loved. My earring were from Swarovski to match a necklace my friends had bought me on my birthday and I also wore a diamond bracelet which Kyle had sneakily bought me and given to my bridesmaids so they could surprise me!
My and the girls’ hair was done by Jade from Identity in Rawmarsh, Rotherham. She knew exactly what I wanted and did an incredible job. I wanted my make-up to be subtle so I felt like me. I’d seen Laura Turner’s work on Facebook and she created a perfect natural vintage look for me.
Kyle didn’t want a traditional wedding suit, so he went for a slim line blue Lambretta suit and brown leather brogue shoes from Slaters. His best man Ryan, and his dad, John also wore the same suit with my uncle and cousin wearing a slightly darker version. They all wore the same ties from Primark – which had to be the biggest find of the wedding! And pocket squares from River Island. I also ordered Kyle, Ryan and John socks with their name and wedding title sewn on from eBay as a bit of fun. Kyle and Ryan also wore a tie pin, both belonging to their grandfather.
I found the bridesmaid dresses in BHS. I knew I wanted something a little different, and I wasn’t searching for a colour it was more about the style of the dress and making sure all the girls were comfortable and happy. We decided on full lace dresses in mint with a tie around the waist and matching mint peep toes satin shoes, again from BHS. The girls had so many compliments.
We wanted to introduce the wedding party to all the guests on arrival, so with a little help from the best man and my bridesmaid, we made a ‘wedding fan’ with introductions to everyone tied with mint ribbon and James, our usher, made sure everyone had one.
Kyle and I knew that the traditional wedding cars didn’t really fit with the vision of our day. We visited a wedding fair in Doncaster and found an amazing VW camper van from All Luvd Up. The VW had enough room from myself and the bridesmaids to arrive together and we could enjoy a bottle of Moet on the journey too! They also decorated the van with ribbons and gorgeous flowers. It was great to have all my bridesmaids around me to keep me calm!
We’d known our wedding photographer for about six years as we met at River Island when we were all students. After leaving University, Elouisa started her own business – Elouisa Georgiou Photography – and I’d followed her work on Facebook. We loved how she captured such natural photos and you felt like you really understood the emotions of each wedding day by the way she portrayed the guests and the bride and groom in the images. I’d been scouring through Pintrest, blogs and magazines to find inspiration and Elouisa just knew exactly what we wanted and that we didn’t want an album of all traditionally staged photos. Looking back at the photos, I can’t even remember noticing her taking them! She was brilliant at capturing all the precious memories but without even being noticeable – we would definitely recommend her.
We found our florist at a small wedding fayre at Wood Lane – Fantail Designer Florist. Sam understood immediately what I wanted and made some beautiful suggestions. In my bouquet I had memory lane roses tied in with gysophila, which my bridesmaids also had, and beautiful pastel accents. Sam wrapped the stems in vintage lace and finished with a silver broach which belonged to Kyle’s grandmother. When she delivered them on the morning of the wedding, I was overwhelmed – they were just perfect.
Sam also created the most stunning centrepieces using rustic birdcages I had bought from The Range. The flowers were sat in a bed of natural moss and they looked incredible. She mounted the birdcages on plates of natural tree trunk, which I bought from a local farm. We also had natural bark planters and ivory around the natural stone window behind where were said our vows.
As well as the flowers, we hired ‘love’ light-up letters for our evening reception. They looked amazing as it went dark.
For our table names I bought a collection of vintage records to represent all our favourite bands that we have seen together in the past eight years, and I made the table plan using half a birdcage from Hobby Craft and backing it on some vintage style paper from Paperchase.
I really wanted to create an English tea party feel to the wedding breakfast, so Kyle and I had been collecting vintage tea cups from charity shops and car boots and with some help from Kyle’s mum and then hiring some more from a lady on Gumtree we managed to make sure everyone had their tea in their own tea cup.
After the ceremony, I didn’t want to go just straight into the photos; I wanted people to relax and enjoy the day. As the gardens were so stunning, we bought a batch of hay bales from Wood Lane and added blankets so our guests could sit and enjoy drinks, mini cartons of popcorn and delicious scones and cakes made by my bridesmaid’s mum.
For the favours Kyle wanted to buy the men scratch cards which was really fun, and I chose shabby chic doves with twine for the women. Kyle’s mum brought back some handmade chocolates from France and put them in little boxes for everyone too. They were delicious!
Our amazing cake was made by Donna-Jane Cakes. She’s so talented. I saw her on Facebook and loved her designs. We had three tiers: chocolate, vanilla and one red velvet and they were all delicious. We’d already had the cake topper for over a year as we bought it in Disneyland Paris on our engagement weekend, so it meant a lot to us. Donna did a brilliant job of surrounded it with pastel flowers and an edible lace trim.
With the nature of our venue we had to hire outside catering and so I was recommended Hazel’s Catering by Wood Lane, and they were fantastic. We loved their presentation of the food; our starter was spicy tomato soup with fresh warm bread and they served it in little casserole pots on a slate. Our main was tarragon chicken and our dessert was their own recipe of a chocolate and fruit tart with raspberries and cream. Everyone commented on how nice it was.
I always knew the entertainment was going to be an important part of our day. We’d been going to gigs and festivals since we were young and we both loved indie bands such as the Arctic Monkeys and Oasis. I found our band – Hudson – on Function Central’s website. The guitarist had played with Sir Paul McCartney at the Liverpool Empire and my husband and his brother are huge Beatles fans so we knew they’d be perfect. They created such a cool, indie atmosphere like we had our very own gig with everyone dancing.
For our first dance I asked my very good friend Pete to sing Elton John’s Your Song. He’s an incredibly talented singer and sounds just like Elton John! The band played live whilst he sang and I think even they were taken back at how good it was. It was such a special moment.
One of the most special touches to the day, was the wedding arch made by Kyle’s dad. He did such a good job of recreating what we wanted and it meant a lot to us that he’d worked so hard on it as we said our vows stood underneath it.
As a bit of a unique touch, before the wedding I asked the married guests to send me a photo of their wedding day. We bought an old led window from a second hand shop and I painted it green and added ‘Love is all you need’ in scrabble tiles at the top. On each window pane we put one of the photos so our guests could share in the weddings of others. It was quite fun as the guests were trying to work out which wedding photo belonged to who!
I also put together a vintage style sweetie stand using an old desk from eBay, which Kyle’s dad restored, some vintage scales for £4 from a car boot, which Kyle’s mum restored, and old jars from charity shops and car boot sales.
We also had a photo booth from Dave Spink Photography. It was incredible fun. They created us a book or all the images and the guests wrote some sentimental but also hilarious messages in it! The guests could also keep a copy of the photos to take home too.
We would definitely recommend Wood Lane to a couple thinking of moving away from the traditional hotel wedding. Of course it’s hard work, but to have a venue which is a stunning and natural blank canvas where you’re able to create a wedding that represents who you are as a couple is relatively unheard of for many venues. You have the venue from the Friday to Sunday, so it takes so much stress away to have that time to style your wedding as you want it and to know that you’re the only people there is just amazing.
We’ve both always wanted to go to America, so we booked our own little American tour as our honeymoon. We stayed in New York for four days then we flew into Orlando and Kyle’s dream was to drive a Mustang so I hired a white convertible one as a present. He was in his element! We actually stayed in Clearwater in the Sandpearl Hotel overlooking the beach, but we did visit Universal and Kyle’s family in Orlando, who weren’t able to come over, so that special to include them too.
Weddings can easily become about everyone else. My top tip for other Brides Up North is that when you stand at the front of your venue saying your vows, or sit down for your meal or dance the night away, just make sure those moments are as you wanted them to be. Stay true to who you are as a couple as you won’t please everyone, but the day isn’t about everyone, it’s about just you and your partner.
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September 14th, 2015 | Julia Braime
We love the relaxed vibe of today’s real wedding with Matt and Kay deciding on a fun garden party style big day, complete with Pimms and tug of war!
The pretty mint green and ivory theme works perfectly with the summer season and both Kay and her maids look absolutely gorgeous in their gowns.
The smiles, laughter and love shared on the day is easy to see in the beautiful images that follow…
With images by Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography.
kay says: After nine years together I’d love to say that our engagement was a fairy-tale proposal! In 2013 Matt made a deal with me, he said that if I got him tickets to the Ashes that year, he would marry me. As you can imagine, tickets for matches at this level kind of sell out pretty quickly and often about a year before so it was quite a challenge. Not one to back down, I went on the hunt and after pulling lots of strings and calling in favours I managed to secure two tickets to the test at Trent Bridge. We had a great day and he promised that one day he would keep to his side of the bargain. He finally proposed the week before Christmas a few months later. He popped the question at about 10.30pm whilst I was trying to get sleep! I’d been away all week with work and I think he’d stressed himself out so much he just blurted it out! He didn’t even have a ring! Of course I said yes, and we went shopping for a ring a few days later. On the way home we stopped off at my grandma’s house to tell her the news and as we pulled up outside he got the ring out of the box and asked me again – it was where he had picked me up from for our first date and he’d remembered – he got the romance right second time around!
We got married on Friday 10th July 2015 (two years to the date of the weekend we spent at the Ashes match – although this is a huge coincidence). We wanted a summer wedding so that there was a chance we could spend the day outside. We were both really keen that the day was quite chilled out and wanted to have the atmosphere of a big family/friends gathering – like you would have at a barbecue party! I did a bit of research (ok, quite a bit) on the weather over the last four years which narrowed it down to a few weeks in July where there had been zero rainfall. Luckily the venue only had a few dates left so it was a perfect fit!
We got married at Whirlowbrook Hall in Sheffield and fell in love with it the minute we got there. After lots of research on venues close to where we lived, I’d narrowed it down to three options. We visited each of them over a weekend and as we approached the long sweeping driveway of Whirlowbrook I was won over! It was perfect and had the country house/rustic feel that I wanted, but also had the laid back/modern feel that Matt was looking for. The outdoor lawn was just right for my plans, but the indoor space was perfect if the typical English weather decided to make an appearance!
We met with Judith at the hall and her enthusiasm, knowledge and approach was just what we wanted. It felt like she had been a friend of ours for years and encouraged my ideas of doing things a bit differently!
I wanted the theme to feel like a country garden – lots of fresh summery colours, wild flowers, lace and bunting! It was the style that I was drawn towards the most and fitted in with the outdoor approach that we wanted. I also wanted everything to just be simple and pretty without feeling over the top and to make sure that the day was laid back and not too formal – we just wanted a party really.
Our chosen colours were mint green and ivory with a few pastels thrown in to add a bit of colour where needed! I love the freshness of mint green, and daisies are also one of my favourite flowers so it all fitted in well!
I wanted my dress to be simple, elegant and unique. I almost had a bit of a bridezilla breakdown as I’d visited several boutiques and looked online at different designers but I wasn’t finding anything that matched my vision. After several months of searching, I came across Kate Halfpenny who is based in London and I was mesmerised by her collection. I loved them all! I got in touch with Kate to find out her price range as I didn’t fancy a trip to London to fall in love with a dress that I couldn’t afford. Her reply was even more comforting as she was about to launch her collection outside of London for the first time…in Sheffield! I went to visit her at the launch day which was held at The White Room boutique. After ten minutes of chatting to Kate about what I liked I was being dressed in the Iris slip and jacket – I had that ‘tears’ moment (so did my bridesmaids) and the rest is history!
My hair was done by Katie and Jenny at Parkers in Sheffield. Jo Singleton was my knight in shining armour and made my makeup look fantastic – natural but visible. She also did the makeup for my four bridesmaids.
Matt had his suit tailor made by Sean at Ashford Menswear in Sheffield. He wears suits most days for his job, so wanted something a bit different. Sean was brilliant – he helped him to choose fabrics, explained alternative cuts to make the suit feel unique and suggested ways to add personal touches – this included our names and wedding date being embroidered into the lining of his jacket! He got brownie points from me for this!
Our groomsmen wore whatever they chose and felt comfortable in. They each have their own style and we weren’t bothered about everyone matching.
Our bridesmaids meanwhile all wore dresses that I had found online. Trying to please four girls that are different shapes and sizes wasn’t an easy task (I’m sure many brides experience this), but the one shoulder, fitted on top/floaty on bottom, knee-length style looked perfect on all of them. Their shoes were from BHS.
The amazing Jo and Simon at Shoot Photography captured our day for us. We met them at our friend’s wedding four years ago and had followed their work ever since. There was only ever one choice of photographer for us and I checked they were available before confirming the venue! They are just wonderful – so professional, but laid back and they make you feel at ease from the minute you meet them. Neither of us like our photograph being taken, but their sense of humour helped us to relax and actually enjoy it!
I wanted my bouquet to look like I’d picked it from the garden, so quite wild looking and not very neat! Jo Price Flowers in Sheffield did an amazing job with a very minimal brief. The colours were green and white and it included lots of daisies.
Jo Price Flowers also assisted with the flowers for the décor by helping me to fill several jugs and jam jars (that I’d been collecting for over a year). I collected other bits from a variety of places – Etsy, The Range, Hobbycraft and other online websites – to make pretty much all of our decorations. My maid of honour was very handy with a sewing machine and so made all of the bunting that was used in the Oak Room! Matt’s dad made all of the outdoor signage from old bits of wood. It was a collective effort and a lot of the items were homemade – I wanted it to have a personal touch.
We didn’t give favours to guests as such, but I put in a rush order of paper heart shaped fans on the Monday when I knew the temperatures were going to reach 25/26c – they went down a treat! I also bought lots of flip flops for our female guests to wear – no one likes heels on the grass!
In terms of food and drink, we had canapés and Pimms to start with and then had a full barbecue with a choice of wines as the main dinner. We had picnic blankets spread across the lawn and picnic basket stations with wine glasses, bottle coolers and cutlery etc. I think a fair few bottles of prosecco were drunk too!
For the entertainment, we had a fantastic band called Highway Child to play – they actually learnt our first dance and played it live for us. I’ve known the lead singer of the band for a number of years and have seen them play several times – I wouldn’t have had anyone else!
We also had garden games spread out across the lawn for our guests to entertain themselves with the space hopper race, limbo pole and Stags v Hens tug of war going down a treat! We also had giant Twister, giant Connect Four and Quoits. Everyone just seemed to be having fun and it was so nice to see everyone smiling and laughing.
We would absolutely recommend our wedding venue to other couples. The team were brilliant from start to finish. Judith listened to my ideas and was always at the end of the phone/email if I had any concerns or needed a recommendation. I always felt like they were I complete control and that’s a must for any bride. It was also the personal touches on the day which made a big difference, they knew exactly how we would be feeling at every point and they really looked after us. Danny and his team were great throughout the day and they always had a smile on their faces. We felt like we were with friends who had known us for years.
I loved all of it the wedding but I think my favourite bit was when we were walking back up the driveway after we had been to do photographs (just Matt and I) – all we could hear was laughter and we just saw everyone having fun. It was exactly how I had wanted it to be.
Following the wedding we had a mini-moon in Ibiza for five days…I needed sunshine! We delayed our two-week honeymoon to America until this month. We have booked four days in New York, then we fly to San Francisco and spend four days there before picking up a convertible Mustang (super excited to drive this!) and driving down the coast of California to Carmel. We then have four days of exploring (and hopefully relaxing) before we travel home.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to make sure that you take time off in the lead up to the big day. Also, ask people to help as there is so much to do and don’t forget to book in time to treat yourself! I spent the day before being completely pampered (nails etc.) with my maid of honour and it was definitely needed!
July 6th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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