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Real Wedding Recap Summer 2014. Indian Vintage: A Mughal Inspired Real Wedding At Thornton Manor – Pooja & Krishna

July 3rd, 2014 | Julia Braime

Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break to redesign, review and recharge, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely.

Usual service will recommence on Monday 7th July 2014,  but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year.  Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks.

Lawson Photography

I’ve been in the wedding blog game for almost four years now, penning two fab features a day and of those features at least three Real Weddings a week.  I might have said this once or twice before, but sometimes a celebration comes along that really knocks my socks off.

I’m a sucker for a bit of tradition, a dash of sparkle, an abundance of blush pink roses and full on glam.

Pooja and Krishna’s wedding ticks all those boxes, and has to be one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever seen.  And in my line of work, that’s really saying something.

Have a lovely Friday Brides Up North, and be very inspired!

Images by Lawson Photography.

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Pooja says: We went to Dubai last year in January for a short break and got engaged there. I had no idea he was going to ask me to marry him! Suffice to say he went down on one knee to pop the question and it came as such a shock that he had to ask me again!

Lawson Photography

We got married at the beautiful Thornton Manor on the Wirral on 22nd February 2014. As it was a winter wedding we wanted somewhere grand, classic and all exclusively to ourselves for the big day. The Manor was perfect for our theme, our ceremonies & our guests. With the ceremonies being traditional, colourful and intimate the Manor’s vintage feel and lavish décor provided an exquisite backdrop to the day.

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

For us it was all about remembering our loved ones that couldn’t be with us, glamour, and collaborating two cultures into a memorable day.

If I had to describe a theme for our wedding, I would describe it as Indian vintage. The Indian outfits for the Hindu ceremony were very regal and we were inspired by the Mughal era (1570 to 1857). The grooms procession, the shehnai music, a live sitar player (classical Indian instrument), a rich evening dinner and the Vedic wedding ceremony itself were all very in line with tradition and with the Indian vintage theme . To add to this the wedding was in a grand manor which was built in the early 1900′s.

Lawson Photography

Our colour scheme was white and blush pink.  Our mandap (a 4 pillar structure where the Indian ceremony takes place) was white and was decorated with beautiful blush pink roses. The cake, the top table, the brides bouquet, the groomsman’s button holes and in the civil ceremony room all had the white and blush pink theme incorporated into them. We also had a white carpet that was laid out leading to the mandap with rose petals scattered on it for the bridal entrance.

All our beautiful flowers were by Wedding Flowers Cheshire by Ian Lloyd.

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

We had created an order of service which provided an overview of each step of the Vedic Hindu ceremony in English so all our guests could follow the ceremony.

Lawson Photography

For the day ceremony, the bridesmaids wore anarkali salwar suits in light cream, each had the same style of embroidery but in different colours. Anarkali dresses owe their name to Anarkali, a famous courtesan in the court of a great Mughal emperor.

The best men wore traditional Indian Kurta’s which were in light gold with dark brown embroidery. The Kurta’s were complimented with deep red duppattas (scarfs).

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

I wore a traditional Indian lehenga choli which was inspired by the Mughal era. The outfit was bought from Kalki in Mumbai, India.  It was embellished in heavy red, gold and cream hand work. I wore Mughal inspired Kunda jewellery to compliment the look.

For the civil ceremony I wore an Archana Kochhar creation bought in Mumbai, India. It was exclusively designed for me. It was in ivory and embellished in Swarovski crystal details. My shoes were by Benjamin Adams and my jewellery was Persian inspired.

I carried a shower bouquet of blush pink roses with white orchids.

Lawson Photography

Krishna wore a beautiful Manish Malhotra outfit from his collection bought in Mumbai, India. The traditional Indian wedding outfit is called sherwani and was embellished in beautiful hand work detail.

For the evening Krishna wore a classic two button tailor made suit in black from James Personal Tailor in Manchester with black patent shoes by Hugo Boss.

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

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Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

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Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

With such a mixed crowd we needed to choose our music very carefully. We therefore decided to go with a DJ who could provide a wide range of music. We hired DJ Fritz who was highly recommended and wasn’t your traditional wedding DJ. He provided an excellent DJ set along with production and lighting for the wedding.  The equipment he had was more akin to a club and he was mixing music which is exactly what we wanted. In addition to his set we had a Dhol player playing tracks such as Happy by Pharrell Williams which made for an eclectic  sound.

For our champagne reception we had a very talented sitar player – Stephen Callaghan aka Yaman who travelled from Glasgow, Scotland. Yaman studied the art of playing the Sitar in Banaras, India. The Sitar is a classical Indian instrument.  He played classical Indian raga’s as well as covering songs of artists such as the Beatles, Nirvana and Oasis.

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

We gave pashmina shawls to all the female guests as wedding favours which we personally picked and placed in a glossy white bag, finished with a thank you tag tied with a pink bow.

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

We wanted to remember our loved ones who are no longer with us throughout the day; we had pictures of our loved ones around the Manor, we lit a candle in remembrance prior to the commencement of the vows, we raised a toast to them during the speeches and our first dance song was an Elton John classic, Your Song, which was my father’s favourite song.

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

Our wedding cake was in the style of a mandap. Half of the cake was chocolate and the other half was Victorian sponge in strawberry flavour, provided by Slattery.

Lawson Photography

Lawson Photography

My favourite part of the day was the first dance! I was dreading it as I didn’t like idea of everyone watching me. To avoid this I had asked all close friends and family to join us after a minute of us dancing. It all went beautifully to plan – in the end I really enjoyed the whole moment so much!

Lawson Photography

We always wanted to go on safari, hence the first part of our honeymoon was spent in Kenya, on safari in the Maasai Mara.

Then we went to Zanzibar, where we stayed at the Hideaway of Nungwi Resort, which is an incredible beach resort. Amazing people, pristine white sand, crystal clear water & a great experience. Our final stop was Dubai before we came back to reality! It was perfect!

Lawson Photography

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to have a toast master for the wedding. Bob was absolutely brilliant and made sure our day went to plan and as we wanted.

In addition, have a meeting with all key suppliers at the venue together a month before the big day. We found it useful given that we had two ceremonies, it was great for all the suppliers to meet and go through all the finer details so everyone was singing from the same hymn sheet on the big day. It really helped our day go smoothly and to plan. I’m not sure the Manor has ever seen such planning!

Lawson Photography

Congratulations Pooja & Krishna!

Would you like to see your own Real Wedding on Brides Up North? Get in touch!

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © Lawson Photography

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

Posted in Indian Wedding, North West Wedding, Real Weddings | Filed Under | Leave A Comment

Colour Me Happy! Suzanne Neville For A Real Wedding At Thornton Manor – Rachel & Alex

May 12th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Martisan Photography

I’m putting this feature together in my PJs (oh the glamour!) on Sunday night after a great weekend in Cheshire hosting our – absolutely gorgeous – luxury and vintage wedding exhibition for the first time at Hilltop Country House.  Rain couldn’t stop play (and I woke rather worryingly to the torrential type on Sunday morning) on what was a properly lovely day of fabulous people, superb talents and beautiful brides in an especially stunning setting.  So up my street!

There’s been so many lovely comments on Twitter and Facebook from our visiting brides and exhibitors and it’s lovely to put my feet up and reflect on a job well done.  Today, and the whole season so far in fact, has been epic.  Thank you all for your kind words and feedback. 

I’m feeling a little sad as our spring season is now drawing to a close – to be back with a bang in September! – but we’ll be closing the season in style with not one but two supremely pretty events to finish off with next Sunday 18th May.  For the first time ever, we’re splitting the team and doubling up with two amazing bridal exhibitions in one day… I think the phrase Super Sunday might actually have been invented for this… read all about what’s in store for you at The Alnwick Garden here or Middleton Lodge here

Bring. It. On.

Anyway, I’m here in the office after hours, getting ahead so I can take a day off with my baby girl tomorrow, and recharge for a week of loveliness here online too.  Things just keep getting prettier and prettier around these parts, and our brand new look isn’t far off either… #getsetsparkle.

This afternoon though, we’re in the Wirral for the fun and fabulous Real Wedding of Brides Up North reader Rachel and her new husband Alex.  This is a day packed with colour, love and laughter.  My very favourite type.

With images by Martisan Photography.

Martisan Photography

Martisan Photography

Rachel says:  We got engaged in the Palais De La Mediterrannee hotel in Nice on May 16th 2012. Alex surprised me for my birthday.

We were married on Friday 16th August 2013 at St Mary’s Church in Woolton, Liverpool and then had the reception in the Lakeside Marquee at Thornton Manor, Wirral.  It is a beautiful, private location set on a lake where we knew our guests would be able to relax and just enjoy themselves. We wanted our reception to be in one big open area so that everyone would mingle and have fun together.

Martisan Photography

Our colour scheme was different shades of pink and orange. It was a real summer wedding.

Martisan Photography

I chose a bespoke made to measure Suzanne Neville gown and Alex and the groomsmen all wore tailored suits from Autograph at M&S. The bridesmaids all wore Kelsey Rose dresses.

Martisan Photography

Martisan Photography

I had a rose and orchid bouquet. My Nana and Mum’s favourite flower is the orchid and mine is the rose. I wanted my bouquet to have a little of each of the three of us in it. 

Martisan Photography

Martisan Photography

Martisan Photography

Martisan Photography

Martisan Photography

Martisan Photography

Martisan Photography

Martisan Photography

Our photographer was Martisan Photography and he was fantastic!

Martisan Photography

Martisan Photography

We had a swing band called Dominic Halpin and the HoneyB’s. They never fail to get the party started! They are amazing!

Martisan Photography

Our invitations and table décor were by Hattie Boo Designs which is run by a super talented lady, Emma Bryan.

As a special touch, we had photographs of our four sets of grandparents and both sets of parents on their wedding day to remember their weddings and successful marriages. They have all fulfilled their vows.

Martisan Photography

Martisan Photography

Martisan Photography

Martisan Photography

Martisan Photography

We wanted the wedding to mirror us as a couple. It was very romantic and classic. On our first Valentine’s Day Alex bought me a book called ‘Love Monkey’ by Edward Monkton. We named our top table after that, with a quote from the book that represented us. The rest of the tables were named after a famous writer or scholar with a famous quote they had once said about love.

Martisan Photography

Martisan Photography

We used Terry Tangs in Liverpool for our wedding cake. It was a four tier cake with a different flavour for each tier.

Martisan Photography

I loved every second but I think my favourite part of the day has to be our first dance. I wasn’t looking forward to it as I was nervous but it was something I will never forget nor experience again. In our wedding venue the dance floor and ‘party room’ was hidden behind a curtain and so the guests had no idea. When the curtain was raised and we were behind it you could see how surprised and excited everybody was for us.

Martisan Photography

For our honeymoon we went to Australia for just over three weeks. We started in Melbourne and then went to Sydney. We then drove to Byron Bay and Brisbane and spent the last week on Hamilton Island in the Whitsunday Islands.

Martisan Photography

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to enjoy it! Enjoy every second from the planning, to the build-up, to the day itself! It is easy to get stressed about trivial things when you are planning a wedding and worrying that something will not go to plan. If you really are marrying the love of your life you will have the best day ever and it will be perfect no matter what.

Martisan Photography

Congratulations Rachel & Alex!

Would you like to see your own Real Wedding on Brides Up North?  Here’s how!

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Martisan Photography

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

Posted in North West Wedding, Real Weddings | Filed Under | 2 Comments

Real Wedding Recap 2012: Wish You Were Here! A Real Vintage Travel Christmas Wedding In The North West – Carlene & Adam

December 25th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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Over the festive period I’ll be recapping some of my very favourite Real Weddings from the last 12 months on the wedding blog. It’s been a tough choice! In true Brides Up North style, each wedding featured on these pages is unique, beautiful and gorgeously personal. It’s been an exceptionally fabulous year! Enjoy…

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Carlene & Adam chose a vintage travel theme for their winter wedding in the North West, sent to me by Brides Up North Featured Supplier Phil Drinkwater Photography and North West Wedding Planner Caroline Hale of Pomp & Ceremony.

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Caroline of Pomp & Ceremony explains: Carlene and Adam were married at Thornton Manor on 18 December 2011 with a fabulous vintage travel theme. The wedding ceremony was held at 4pm in the dining room followed by a reception in the stunning music room.

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Prior to the ceremony, guests were welcomed to the main hall for mulled wine and mince pies.  The couple met working in Singapore, where they still live today, and wanted to incorporate their love of travel in the theme of the wedding. Carlene is originally from the Wirral where many of her family still live today so wanted to return for her big day. We (Pomp & Ceremony Planning) were on hand via email and Skype to make it happen on the UK side.

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The bride wore a stunning short dress  (The dress was designed by the bride and made by Renee L in Singapore). teamed with navy Louboutin shoes and the groom sported a bow tie as part of his ensemble. There were no bridesmaids. groomsmen wore stylish silk pocket handkerchiefs instead of button holes which fitted with the vintage theme. Carlene carried a rose bouquet provided by The Olive Tree florists.

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In place of reception flowers there were centrepieces of vintage cameras, postcards, stamps, statues, map hearts and stacks of vintage books tied up with ribbon. All items were sourced from charity shops, vintage shops and trusty Ebay and Etsy. There were also stacks of vintage suitcases dotted around the room, a large display map with vintage flag pins showing a selection of places the bride and groom had been, postcard garlands, travel posters and each table had its own passport menu. Navy paper poms were used for ceremony chair decorations.

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Boarding cards were used instead of a formal table plan and took guests to their destination, all tables were named after countries that Carlene and Adam have visited together. Once at the table luggage tags at the back of each chair directed the guests to their seat.

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The guest book was replaced with postcards from around the world deposited in a vintage vanity case.

Favours were pots of jam with ‘Spread the Love’ printed on and vintage style ribbon tied around the neck. There was also a sweetie table and kitsch kissing booth sign with a basket filled with mistletoe.

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The cake was provided by Jennifer O’Neill Cakes in Thornton Hough.  The cake was 3 tiers in French Vanilla  with Champagne, Strawberry and Buttercream, simple icing with piped dots simple ribbon and a vintage couple atop. There was also a sweetie table provided by Tamaryn’s Treasures fitting the vintage and navy theme, plus destination inspired cocktails served by Vibrant Bars. Anne Wilson Cordon Bleu catered the wedding with a seasonal winter warming menu.

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Entertainment was supplied by Big Entertainment with Wayne Allen doing a live Motown set followed by DJ Ian Haskell.

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HEARTCongratulations Carlene & Adam! HEART

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Photographer – Phil Drinkwater Photography

Assistant Photographer – Tim Johnson

Wedding Planner – Caroline Hale at Pomp & Ceremony

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Brides Up North – Images © 2012 Phil Drinkwater Photography

Phil Drinkwater Photography is a  Featured Supplier, but this is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

Posted in Featured Supplier, North West Wedding, Real Weddings, Vintage Wedding, Wedding Photography, Wedding Planning | Filed Under | 18 Comments

Pretty Vintage: A Real Wedding In The North West – Nisha & Duncan

October 28th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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Thornton Manor Wedding by CG Weddings

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Morning campers!  Let’s finish this week the way we mean to start the next: beautifully.  Today’s Real Wedding is an absolute licketty-split, with a cherry on top corker!

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With images by CG Weddings, I love how Nisha and Duncan’s choice of soft, sugary ice cream tones and hand made decorations prettify and personalise their stunning stately home venue.  With a ten year engagement, this couple had certainly had plenty of time to plan – and taking their time paid off. 

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Delicious! 

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Thornton Manor Wedding by CG Weddings

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Nisha says:  We got engaged in North Wales in June 2002 and were married on August 10th 2012 at Thornton Manor, Cheshire, which we chose for beautiful grand romantic setting.

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We went for a pretty vintage theme with pastel ice cream tones. 

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Thornton Manor Wedding by CG Weddings

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Thornton Manor Wedding by CG Weddings   Thornton Manor Wedding by CG Weddings

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I chose a dress called Eden by Ian Stuart, accessories by Glitzy Secrets and carried a bouquet of sweet avalanche roses, Cezanne roses, apricot sweet avalanche roses and amnesia roses by Earth Flowers. There was lace entwined between the flowers.

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My bridesmaids wore pretty Grecian one shoulder pastel pink dresses and the groomsmen wore matching three piece suits from Moss Bros. 

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Thornton Manor Wedding by CG Weddings

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Our registrar is a close friend of Duncan’s family, which was lovely on the day and the service was really personal.

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We had a  four tier Victoria sponge cake from Marks and Spencer. We also had two lots of cupcakes – vanilla and strawberry both with edible glitter sprinkled on top! They were also from M&S

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Thornton Manor Wedding by CG Weddings

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I made all my favours, place settings, table plans and used bird cages and wired pastel roses. I also made my confetti cones, windmills and bunting to decorate the venue. 

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We had a close friend play the grand piano for our ceremony and another close friend did the evening as a DJ.

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I can’t pick a favourite part of the day, the whole thing felt like a fairy tale and went so fast. I suppose the few moments Duncan and I had together alone during the day were lovely. There was one point we ran off into the gardens to be alone after the ceremony and it was perfect.

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After the wedding we had a mini moon to Barcelona and are currently planning our honeymoon to Vietnam. 

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to take a step back and take it all in because when I was told it would go quickly by others, I didn’t believe it until the day was over. Now I look back and wish I could have slowed everything down!

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Congratulations Nisha & Duncan!

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Contact me to see your own Real Wedding featured here on Brides Up North. 

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  – Images © 2012 CG Weddings

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

Posted in North West Wedding, Real Weddings | Filed Under | 1 Comment

Vintage Lilac & Lace – A Real Wedding In Cheshire – Victoria & David

September 13th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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Thornton Manor Wedding by Martin Hambleton Photography

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High time for another beautiful Real Wedding on these swirly silver pages I think!  Today we are at Thornton Manor in Cheshire, celebrating the stunning wedding of Victoria and David.  Victoria has been absolutely fantastic with her recommendations and top tips for you lovely lot, so I think I’ll leave it up to her today!  With images by Martin Hambleton Photography.   

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Victoria says:  Dave romantically proposed on 16th December 2009 on holiday in Mexico under a waterfall in an underground cavern called Ik-Kil (this was the first stop on an amazing trip to the Mayan pyramids in Chichen Itza). We spent the rest of the holiday enjoying the new phase of our relationship and didn’t tell a soul at home until we got back.

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We were married on Friday 12th August 2011. We wanted a summer wedding and it ended up being a Friday as our chosen venue didn’t have any Saturdays in summer available 20 months in advance! We therefore chose August as this was perfect for Dave to take a number of weeks off work for the honeymoon and, with having a number of guests who work as school teachers, including one of the ushers, it had to be in the school holidays. We chose the 12th August as this was the date we became the owners of our current home, having previously rented a flat together for a number of years, so ‘the glorious 12th’ was a lucky date for us!

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Cheshire Wedding by Martin Hambleton Photography

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We got married at St Georges United Reformed Church in the beautiful little village of Thornton Hough on the Wirral.

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St Georges quite literally came to the rescue when plans at our original church fell through just a month before our wedding! Having been our joint first choice of church (only put off by the distance from our home for the purposes of regular attendance), the switch actually worked out so much for the better in the end: In a short period, St Georges offered us so much more than we were ever previously offered over the period of a year, everything was in the one beautiful setting (with the reception being held just up the road at Thornton Manor) and, most importantly, we couldn’t have asked for a better marriage ceremony – so many guests commented on how personal and touching it was (which was quite an achievement in just four short weeks!) Indeed, from the word go, the Reverend John Oldershaw and Registrar David Stewart really shared our vision of the kind of marriage ceremony we wanted and for that we will always be grateful. Having taken us in at the last minute and made us so very welcome, St Georges will always be ‘our church’, which is just what we wanted following our wedding.

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Martin Hambleton Photography   Martin Hambleton Photography

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The reception venue was the first element of the wedding we wanted to book as we knew it was a key one that would determine a lot of other elements. Over a period of about 8 months, we must have looked at most reception venues in the North West! We initially did an internet search and then visited those that looked like they were a good match for what we were looking for. We saw Thornton Manor at the first wedding fair we went to (and then every subsequent one after that). The pictures looked amazing and so we booked a tour and immediately fell in love with the place. We had always wanted a unique venue that had a good reputation, was easy for everyone to get to (so that everyone could attend), that was the right size for our numbers, offering 24hr exclusive use and picturesque grounds plus accommodation with overnight facilities (so we could extend the celebrations for as long as possible). Thornton Manor provided all that and more. Whilst top end in terms of price, we knew we would be able to trust them with our big day and it was definitely worth the money. The venue itself is so exceptionally grand and beautiful that we felt like film stars on the day and everyone commented on how perfect it was.

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I got ready on the morning of the wedding at Hilltop House.  Paul and Wendy really went out of their way to help make the night before and morning of our wedding so special; nothing seemed too much trouble for them and the bridal party all thoroughly enjoyed their stay. The morning of the wedding couldn’t have been more perfect – Hilltop House provided the most beautiful and serene setting for the bridal preparations; as captured on film. Exceptional value for money and highly recommended.

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We never really understood the need for a theme but I guess that ‘understated elegance’ was always the subconscious theme, whilst a vintage one also seemed to organically emerge what with the venue, car, outfits and flowers.  Our chosen colours were ivory, ‘vintage lilac’ and subtle blush pink. 

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I chose a very fitted, on the shoulder, vintage style Ritva Westenius ivory gown with a satin underlay and lace overlay that flowed into a gorgeous long train, subtly customised with delicate crystals and perfect for an hour-glass figure. The dress was purchased from the lovely Geraldine at the unique and fabulous Belles Bridal Boutique on Hope Street in Liverpool and customised by her talented seamstress Kathy. I would recommend Belles to any and every bride due to its beautiful and unique collection of dresses, quaintly styled studio and personal, unpressurised, professional and very genuine service. It was always that dress, no other in any of the many other shops even came close – it was the first one I saw in Belles on a manikin; it ticked all the boxes of what I was looking for and more and I was so glad to have found it there as Belles provided the fairytale bridal dress experience little girl’s dreams are made.

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Our one adult bridesmaid (and ‘oldest’ friend of the bride) wore a ‘victorian lilac’, floor-length, satin Alfred Angelo dress with lace-up back and a sweetheart neckline. We searched everywhere for just the right colour and style and finally found it in Pronuptia on Williamson Square in Liverpool who were able to do quite a quick turn-around. Our nieces (2 and 4yrs), as flower girls wore ivory satin dresses with a flower on the sash that tied in a bow at the back and had a subtle diamante detailed neckline with matching diamante studded ivory satin shoes; all from John Lewis.

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Sian made the trial and the wedding morning such a fun and relaxing experience. My hair and makeup perfectly enhanced my dress and I had so many compliments about both. My hair looked so natural that hardly anyone even realised that I had extensions in! I would recommend So Coco Rouge to anyone and have done so to brides and others alike. I love their concept of natural beautiful makeup in a quaint friendly environment – the experience is just as good as the finished product and I have become a regular customer.

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Accord Choir sang beautifully at our wedding ceremony; accompanying guests for each hymn. And, with the lace look being the ‘order of the day’ (particularly following the Royal Wedding), their outfits were even in sync with the bride’s and very much ‘on trend’.

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As we wanted a really personal memento of our day that guests could also keep, we chose Foto-fusion to produce our order of service, which featured a transparency of a photograph we took of one of the stain-glass windows in the church on the front and a poem and message of thanks on the back . Suzanne was really helpful and, with the change of church, ensured a quick turnaround on our beautiful finished product.

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We travelled i a gorgeous ivory Beauford Tourer (four seater) from Horgans Wedding Limousines that had a “Just Married sign” on the back and the number plate “We 2 R 1” when stationary. Poetically, it was the same company, car and number plates that Dave’s brother and sister-in-law had used on their wedding day 13 years prior. Having searched a number of car companies, Horgans were really professional and the cars were beautifully maintained. As we had booked the cars before changing the church, the chauffer commented that it was the shortest journey he had ever done as we quite literally drove round the corner from the guest house to the church and then up the road to the reception venue, going on a brief detour to allow the wedding party time to get there before us while we drank our champagne!

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Martin Hambleton Photography

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Our photographer was Martin Hambleton Photography - Martin is simply a superb photographer and one we would recommend to anyone and everyone. I spent so long trawling through websites and wedding fairs to find the best photographer and that’s exactly what we got with Martin. Everyone who has seen the photographs (practically everyone we know, due to the helpful on-line gallery) has commented on how stunningly beautiful they are and how they perfectly encapsulate the happiness and romance of the day and, for us, the personalities of many of the guests. We are so delighted with all the photos (including the ones from the pre-wedding shoot) that making album selections has been nigh on impossible; taking us a whole year! Martin manages to put people who hate having their photo taken completely at ease as he’s such a genuinely lovely bloke; you get the best of both worlds as it’s like an enthusiastic friend taking the photographs but with all the creativeness and talent of a consummate professional.

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Martin Hambleton Photography   Martin Hambleton Photography

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Martin Hambleton Photography

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We used Marry Me Films as our videographer.  We really couldn’t have picked anyone better to film our special day; we can’t praise or recommend them highly enough. They were an absolute pleasure to work with and provided a professional and very personal service that was second to none from start to finish, culminating in the best possible portrayal of the best day of our lives; as appreciated by all our family and friends. Marry Me Films are a genuinely lovely, friendly couple who make an exceptionally experienced and enthusiastic team. Due to their impeccable attention to detail and unobtrusive manner, our stunning DVD provides the perfect way to relive our wonderful day and all its emotions. Each time we notice something different – something we’d forgotten or missed on the day itself.

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Cheryl at Pink Sherbet Designs produced the majority of our wedding stationery, matching the colour to the purple of the bridesmaid’s dress. The design was beautiful and perfectly complimented the theme of our day, whilst also giving us value for money. We had numerous compliments from guests about how gorgeous the stationary was. The table plan is still proudly displayed in our hall and will remain so as a lovely reminder of our special day.

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Martin Hambleton Photography

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Barretts were more than just caterers; they were, as they market themselves, an events management company and a highly skilled one at that. Thanks to the wonderful, super helpful, organised and hard-working Michelle and her team, our day ran like clockwork. Nothing was left to chance as Michelle had guided us through all the decisions we needed to make in the run up to the wedding and had meticulously set plans into action. Family and friends all commented on how delicious the food was, how attentive and professional the staff were with the serving of the drinks, canapés and the wedding breakfast and how slick and seamless the whole reception was. Barretts professionalism made for a completely stress-free reception and we would highly recommended them.

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Martin Hambleton Photography

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We tried to add our own special touches throughout the day.  At the reception, all the table names were of places of significance to us, like the place where we met and got engaged, our honeymoon destination, the street names of where we grew up as well as our first and current home etc. We also had photographs and name cards of friends and family no longer with us, or too ill to attend the wedding, dotted about the different rooms, along with lots of dried flower bouquets in the same colours as the real ones. In addition, one medium and one massive Jenga kept guests entertained in the gardens at the drinks reception and provided some great photo opportunities and video footage . At the ceremony, we were also honoured to have one of our friends sing while we signed the register. Our final special touches came in the form of surprises from our parents – a book of my early years presented by my Father in the speeches and a lucky wedding horseshoe charm for my charm bracelet given to me by Dave’s parents at the wedding breakfast.

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Martin Hambleton Photography

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Martin Hambleton Photography

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Martin Hambleton Photography

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The fabulous and very creative Earth Flowers in Heswall provided all the flowers, including themy large, round, hand tied bouquet featuring vendella (cream) roses, sweet avalanche (blush pink) and memory lane (vintage lilac) roses, small purple freesia and freesia buds, wired cymbidium orchid heads (shared only with the groom’s button-hole), pale pink calla lilies (matching in with the groomsmen’s buttonholes), small white hydrangea (a flower in memory of the my grandparents) and tiny touches of silvery foliage. The theme of the bouquet was ‘an English country garden’ with a slight twist. The day after the wedding and before going on honeymoon, the bouquet was left on the grave of my paternal grandparents who were so greatly missed on the day. Having been to a couple of florists beforehand, Anne and Mark from Earth really ‘got’ my vision, helped hone my ideas with the use of their many photo albums and turn them into reality. The bouquets and displays they made for us were nothing short of stunning and, from start to finish, nothing was ever too much trouble for them.

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Martin Hambleton Photography

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Martin Hambleton Photography

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Martin Hambleton Photography

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We chose six tier fruit cake with both round and square tiers, glass vases to add further height and sugared cymbidium orchids to match the flowers shared between the bride’s bouquet and the groom’s button-hole, despite actually settling on and ordering purple lilies to pick up the single adult bridesmaid’s colour!

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Nevertheless, our grand looking cake, ordered from Magical Cakes, perfectly fitted with our grand venue – the design was beautiful and perfectly complimented the theme of our day whilst also giving us value for money (as some of the tiers were fake!) Indeed, we had numerous compliments from guests about how lovely the cake both looked and tasted (it also kept really well and we still have some saved!)

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Martin Hambleton Photography   Martin Hambleton Photography

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Entertainment wise, we chose Marc Kenny, a combined singer/guitarist/DJ who held special significance to us as we used to see him in a particular bar from when we were first dating. Marc is exceptionally talented and great value for money with his combined skills and ability to cover all requests, either performing or DJing. He’s like a ‘one man band’; a very professional entertainer and a really nice guy to boot. Nearly all our guests commented on what a brilliant find he was. We couldn’t recommend him highly enough!

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Martin Hambleton Photography

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Martin Hambleton Photography

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Just over 24 hours after the end of the wedding (i.e. 4am following the ‘after-party’!) we jetted off to New York where we visited all of the major sites before heading to the luxurious and beautiful surroundings of Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort in Jamaica for some sun and well needed relaxation! Cirque-du-soleil, cocktails in the Waldorf-Astoria and snorkelling with turtles were just some of the highlights. We were so lucky to have the three-week honeymoon of our dreams (the third week courtesy of the hurricane in New York that prevented our booked flight-path on our intended return date) and for that we will always be grateful to all those who helped make that dream a reality through their contributions to our honeymoon gift-registry. Sandals was just fantastic – plush surroundings, diverse gourmet food, great entertainment and activities and really helpful when we were stranded, giving us one free night and an extended stay in the same up-graded honeymoon, beachfront concierge suite at a standard rate. We would definitely recommend Travel Counsellors honeymoon gift-registry for couples who have all they need for their home as it was such an easy way for guests to contribute to something really special for us.

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Our absolute top tip for other Brides Up North would be – ask about any planned building work or potential issues at all of your venues (including your church!) before booking and make buying insurance one of your first priorities – it’s only cheap and well worth it. You always think you won’t need it and, hopefully, like us, you won’t but it’s always better to be safe than sorry and, as it’s a one-off payment there are no hefty premium increases (Thornton Manor actually recommended a good insurance company to us so it’s worth asking the advice of your venue as they may know the experience of couples who have made claims). Also, a lot of people think that insurance is only for things that go wrong on the day and whatever the compensation, it wouldn’t make up for that part of the day going wrong but it may be that the insurance could help rectify a problem before the big day. For example, we could possibly have claimed on the insurance for re-printing the invitations due to the change of church; we didn’t as we just sent out additional notelets and emails for speed and ease but, if that was something that really mattered to us, the option may have been there. We were also lucky that our wedding was on a Friday as changing the church on a Saturday in summer would have been pretty impossible so, whilst Friday’s are now often no cheaper than Saturdays (it wasn’t in our case anyway), we had much more choice available to us in terms of suppliers, could take our time with our selection and had more options when problems were encountered with the church… so, Fridays are well worth considering in general!

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Other tips would be:-

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· Capture your wedding on video and preferably hire a professional videographer or, better still, a company that uses two videographers, like Marry Me Films. That way you won’t miss a minute of your big day – each time you play it back you will see things you didn’t notice on the day itself or even the last time you watched it and it will help all those beautiful memories come flooding back. If you do hire professionals, make sure you are comfortable with them and their style as then you will enjoy, rather than resent, the time you spend with them on the day and will be happy with the finished product, as was the case with us.

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· If you are having young children at the ceremony, ask if their parents will sit with them at the back and take them out if they are unsettled; particularly if you are having the ceremony videoed as all noise will be picked up by the microphones.

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· Prepare well in advance, down to details like listing the specific photos you want (not just the usual family line ups) etc. Have a timetable for the day and appoint someone to ensure you stick to it, whilst building in a bit of flexibility (your reception’s wedding planner, master of ceremonies etc will probably do this). Make sure that at least key people know the timetable as well – my mum nearly missed our first dance as we hadn’t told anyone what time we were planning it for (sometimes it’s the simple, obvious little things you forget)!

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· Shop around for exactly what you want at the best possible price and always ask for a discount (10% would seem to be the average). The cost of all precious metals is going up so it is well worth purchasing your rings as early as possible (ours doubled in price over a twelve month period!).

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· If you trust a particular supplier, ask them what other suppliers they would recommend for other elements of your day. We found our bridal boutique and photographer through our videographers!

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· Enlist the help of others where you can – there is always more to do than you think! Before the wedding, assign specific jobs to people for them to carry out on the day (e.g. helping round up guests for the photos etc). Also ask people to remind you of or take charge of things of importance to you e.g. if you want an unofficial photograph or a dance with certain guests, ask them to find you for this on the day; you will forget in all the excitement as you get swept along with all the events of the day.

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· If you have any form of gift registry, ensure that you open it well before the wedding and close it a few days after the wedding to give guests enough time to contribute – quite a few will leave it to the day or even afterwards.

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· Ensure that you have a post-box for all cards at the reception as it is easy for these to get misplaced and some guests may enclose money, even if you have had a gift registry.

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· Set up a wedding email-address early on so that all your wedding correspondence (rsvps, emails from suppliers and so on) are all in the one place and therefore easier to keep track of and manage.

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· You may not be able to keep all of the people involved in your wedding happy all of the time but, if not, remember that it is your day – the two of you and, notwithstanding the happiness and contribution of other, it is your happiness on the day that is the most important.

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Martin Hambleton Photography

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Congratulations Victoria & David!

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Get in touch to see your Real Wedding featured on Brides Up North. 

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  – Images © 2012 Martin Hambleton Photography

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