July 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s real wedding takes place at the gorgeous The Black Swan hotel, one of our beautiful Brides Up North Sponsor venues, and so when Andrea talks about it being an amazing venue, we know exactly what she means.
To fit in with their roots and the idyllic setting for their big day, Andrea and Steve chose to have a pretty garden themed wedding, complete with a simple white and green colour scheme.
We love the relaxed drinks reception in the hotel’s pretty gardens and the gorgeous shots of the newlyweds in the surrounding countryside, which ties the whole day together beautifully.
Oh, and if you want to see more of The Black Swan, watch out for a stunning styled shoot at the hotel, coming up on the wedding blog this afternoon.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Georgina Brewster Photography.
andrea says: Steve popped the question on the evening of 29th November 2014. We had tickets to see Passenger at the O2 Academy that night and had gone for a pre-gig drink in a champagne bar in Leeds called Epernay on Great George Street. An unforgettable evening!
We got married on 23rd May 2015. After narrowing down our venues it was a case of what availability they had, we couldn’t believe our luck when the bank holiday weekend was still available so we plumped for that. As we were having the ceremony and reception under the one roof and it wasn’t our hometown, the bank holiday gave our guests a chance to make a weekend of it with us.
Our wedding venue was The Black Swan in Helmsley, North Yorkshire. It is just amazing! The staff, the area, the food, the accommodation and just the general feeling and atmosphere of the place. We can’t thank the staff enough, they were exceptional and looked after us all so well.
The theme just evolved. As Steve is from Lancashire and I’m from Yorkshire the roses seemed an obvious choice, although my white rose seemed to prevail over the red of Lancashire! Steve designed our logo that was printed on all the stationary and favours. The Black Swan has a great garden area to the rear and the wedding room is called the Garden Room so I suppose all in all it was a garden theme if any.
In keeping with the theme we had a simple colour scheme of white and green.
My dress was from Alison Jane Bridal in Mirfield, West Yorkshire. It was a Grecian style gown by Alexia Designs, with crystal detailing. Steve loves my back, so a backless dress was a design I chose.
We chose Georgina Brewster Photography, based in Skipton, North Yorkshire, to capture our day and we love our photos! We’ve had so many comments from our friends about them too. Georgina really captured every element so well, she is so personable and really went that extra mile by whisking us away at sunset to a location she had spotted on her drive over. We would highly recommend Georgina to any couple tying the knot. Amazing!
In terms of flowers on the day we had avalanche roses, freshias and vintage roses, which were all from Busy Liz’s Floral Design in Kirbymoorside.
Our favours were napkins with our guests’ names embroidered on the corner. We also gave raspberry and Chambord jam by Woody’s Preserves in Yorkshire.
Jo’s Cakes in Honley created our gorgeous three tiered iced cake of vanilla and chocolate sponge.
For entertainment we hired a pianist called Joseph Barton, to perform. The venue’s recommended musician wasn’t available that day and Joe was mentioned to us. We are so glad we chose him.
To add to the evening reception, we also hired some giant illuminated ‘love’ letters, which we placed in the garden. They were supplied by Fabulously Finished, near York.
We would most definitely recommend The Black Swan to other brides and grooms-to-be. They provide such great service and hospitality with a relaxed atmosphere. The food is exceptional too!
I can’t pin point one particular aspect of the day as my favourite as I loved all of it! It was so magical from start to finish.
For our honeymoon we travelled to Iceland, a place we were both keen to explore. We share a great love for the outdoors and when time allows we participate in triathlons to test ourselves. We had a wonderful time.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be simply to relax and enjoy every minute. The day really does go by so fast.
alison jane bridal, brides up north featured supplier, brides up north sponsor, busy lizs floral design, fabulously finished, georgina brewster photography, helmsley wedding, hugo boss, jos cakes, joseph barton, north yorkshire wedding, real wedding, the black swan, the black swan helmsley, tm lewin, uk wedding blog, woodys preserves
July 16th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
In preparation for a wedding a lot of attention is focused on the bride and what she will wear for her moment in the limelight. But we shouldn’t forget that the groom is also a main focal point and they too will want to look and feel their best on the big day.
Over time we’ve seen menswear designers branch out on the formalwear front to give style-conscious grooms choices beyond traditional top hat and tails and standard Prince Edward suits. This not only gives grooms the opportunity to be more fashion forward, but also means they can pick attire that will complement the bride, theme and even the setting.
To tell us more about current groom looks, we’ve called upon our expert friends at British menswear retailer T.M.Lewin, whose latest collection of luxurious tailoring includes up to 30 different cuts of suits in wool/mohair mix cloths, plus an unrivalled choice of beautifully finished 100% cotton shirts and finishing touches in the form of smart ties and dapper pocket squares.
Here they share their top five occasion wear trends for the upcoming season, and they’ve even gone to the trouble of matching them up to some of Brides Up North’s very favourite wedding venues. Handy eh?
cool contemporary – alnwick garden
A cool setting calls for a cool suit. Blue is perhaps the new grey when it comes to an alternative groom look so those planning a wedding in modern setting, such as The Alnwick Garden in the North East, should consider the handsome hue. We can easily imagine a groom in the bright and airy Pavilion Room taking his vows while overlooking the incredible gardens in a relaxed two piece suit. And to complete the look a crisp white shirt, tan belt and shoes, and textured bow tie. Finally, for the ultra-cool groom, a polka dot pocket square as men appear to be dotty about all things spotty at the moment.
urban elegance – braime pressings
City weddings give grooms the opportunity to mix up their look with some modern additions. For a venue such as 125-year-old steel factory Braime Pressings, attire that mixes old with new is an excellent choice as it will pick up on the venue’s heritage as well as its modern day surroundings. We suggest a classic three-piece suit but in a slim-fit cut and edgy blue hue to strike the right balance. Through industrial, Braime Pressings, in the heart of Leeds, features impressive parquet flooring and a marble bar which call for a hint of elegance. This can be achieved in finishing touches of a fabric button hole and slim tie, complete with tie bar.
timeless traditional – allerton castle
Certain venues do lend themselves well to traditional groom attire including the likes of Allerton Castle in North Yorkshire. Its fairy tale interior and dramatic features give brides the opportunity to be a real princess for the day, but of course they need a prince to match, making a three-piece suit with waistcoat a top option. We find that light grey and tonal blue tailoring is an ideal choice for a formal wedding day and our 50s inspired pastel accessories will polish off the look perfectly, whether it’s a sharp mint green fitted shirt with textured cotton linen mix tie, or a colourful pocket square and stylish lapel pin.
country casual – hilltop country house
With an increase in country garden themed weddings it seems only right that designers have come up with fitting groomsmen attire. Whether indoors or out, a wedding at a countryside location, such as Hilltop Country House in Cheshire, gives grooms the opportunity to go for a more laid back look that complements with their surroundings. Our new casual blazers are ideal for those in favour of more informal attire. Woven in tweeds exclusive to T.M.Lewin, they’re still smart when paired with a pressed pair of cotton chinos and one of the season’s new plain, patterned or textured pocket squares. Those wanting a smarter look still can add a waistcoat and tie while those who prefer the simpler things in life can go for a blazer, chinos and open neck shirt.
modern classic – the mansion
Just as some old venues are brought up to date with a few cosmetic tweaks so too are classic suits. So for a groom saying his ‘I dos’ in grand stately home, such as The Mansion in Leeds, which boasts beautiful boutique style décor, we suggest a simple yet sophisticated two piece suit, with a one or two button blazer. The accessories can then be picked to suit the colour theme and/or bridesmaid dresses whether that means pairing with a pale pink or elegant blue shirt, tie and matching pocket square.
For more designs and information, visit www.tmlewin.co.uk
June 15th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s couple had their heart set on their chosen wedding venue from the moment they viewed its website – and looking at the images below we can see why.
Meols Hall provided a wonderful rustic setting for Ben and Jen’s romantic big day with its exposed brick walls and large wooden beams tying in perfectly with the couple’s moss-green colour scheme.
To complete the desired look they added natural flower displays and a gorgeous naked wedding cake – rustic romance at its best!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, James Tracey Photography.
jen says: We got engaged in May 2012. It was a while back but we’ve never been a couple to rush things: we got together in 2004! Ben arranged a long weekend break to Paris for my 28th birthday. It was not the most original choice, but Ben was going for the double-bluff!
We had a wonderful time seeing the sights, but it wasn’t until the last day when Ben proposed. We went to Sacre Coeur on top of Montmatre (the telescope scene from Amelie, with a sweeping view of Paris). Despite us having been partners for more than seven years, Ben was shaking with nerves, and it ended up being a very emotional moment for both of us. He gave me a platted string ring that turned out to be impossible to put on! Ben knew that I would appreciate a say in the choice of ring so he was waiting until we could go ring shopping together.
We set the date for 28th March 2015. I’m a primary school teacher, so it coincided with the start of the Easter Holidays. We had a hearts set on the venue, and it was one of the very few dates left for 2015 that worked well for me.
Our chosen wedding venue was Meols Hall in Churchtown, Southport. Not far from Wigan, where my family live. We fell in love with it as soon as we saw their website. It is a wonderfully tasteful barn conversion that is more rustic than ostentatious. After we’d seen it, my parents went to visit it, and we were thrilled to hear that it was as beautiful in real life as it was in the website’s pictures.
We had a relatively informal feel to the day. We didn’t want things to be straight-laced and serious. It really helped us – we were as relaxed as we could have been throughout the day.
Our order of service matched the style of our invites. They were both designed by a close friend of ours and featured a collage of fonts and black and white photos of Ben and I. As we both now live in London we also had a London Underground theme on the day. We wanted to bring a bit of the south up north! Our table names were stations in London that have meaning to both of us. The table plan was presented with an old London Underground map. We wrote funny(ish) short blurbs of why we had chosen the stations on the flip side of the table signs, to help break the ice on the tables.
We went with a moss green colour scheme, to complement the rustic venue, but to also go well with my hair.
I wore a beautiful Justin Alexander dress which I bought from Angelica Bridal in London. It was simple, elegant and covered in lace. I absolutely loved it! I added a moss green belt with a lace applique to fit in with the theme which I’m really glad about because I think it made the dress come alive.
On the wedding day Samantha Marshall did my makeup. It was fantastic and made me look glamourous yet natural! I would highly recommend her. Meanwhile, one of my oldest friends, and now professional hair stylist, Nicola Farrell, made my hair look wonderful! She plaited gypsum into the back which fit beautifully with the tasteful flower arrangements at the venue.
Ben didn’t want to hire a morning suit because he wanted something he could be proud of wearing over and over again. He found a tailored-fit three piece dark grey suit from T M Lewin that fit like a glove. He wore a luxury wide-collared plain white dress shirt from M&S and a well-matching moss green tie from Debenhams. The grooms and my dad wore the same suits as Ben.
My bridesmaids wore a moss green dress from Monsoon. They were a bargain and looked amazing!
We hired a London cab to take us to the venue on the wedding day. We didn’t have any money left in the budget to hire a posh car, plus it fitted in with the London theme perfectly!
James Tracey was our wedding photographer. His ethos mirrored our intentions for the day perfectly. The photos on his website were of a very high quality, but what set him apart was the imaginative, playful and natural feel that they had. We couldn’t recommend him highly enough. He was unobtrusive and a lot of fun to be with throughout the wedding day, and we now have a gallery-worthy selection of photos of our special day to cherish for the rest of our lives.
I had a beautiful and simple bouquet of callow lily, white rose and gypsum. It was provided by a florist that Meols Hall deal exclusively with, called Mary Ambrose who provided flowers for the whole day.
Flowers were all white and mirrored the bouquet: callow lily, rose and gypsum. We were given a wonderful degree of choice for all aspects of the flower decorations, and Mary gave us exactly what we asked for. She was fantastic.
We didn’t give favours out on the day and instead are donating a sum to the National Brain Appeal. This was in appreciation of the work they and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery did for a close friend of ours, who sadly passed away two years ago after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.
For our wedding cake, we chose a slightly asymmetric naked Victoria sponge. It was based on a photo we had seen on the internet and was baked by All About Cakes in Southport. They recreated it perfectly and it tasted delicious!
Carringtons Catering deal with Meols Hall exclusively, so we chose a hot buffet with them for our wedding meal. We also chose a vegan stew to cater for Ben and a few other vegetarians. Before the meal we had canapés, and being a Wiganer, we had to have pies and peas for the evening celebrations!
When it came to choosing entertainment, we listened to a lot of bands online before stumbling across Toni James. She sounded head and shoulders better than anything else we had heard, so chose her instantly. Although Toni provided us with the option of having a bigger band accompanying her, a pesky sound limiter at the venue meant that we couldn’t really have more than a four-piece. We were anxious about what sound they would be able to make, but they absolutely rocked! They normally play a lot of pop music, but Ben is a big fan of funk and soul. They had enough in their repertoire to make him very happy, and even learnt Erma Franklin’s Piece of My Heart for the evening.
In addition, a friend of mine, Zoe Baldwin, is an opera singer, and she very kindly agreed to sing three arias during the signing of the register. Our guests – and the registrars – all appeared spellbound! It made the ceremony very special indeed.
As extra entertainment, we had little fun activities after the ceremony. There was a Polaroid camera and some old-fashioned fair games, like hoopla and a sweet stall, all made possible by our wonderful friends who created and operated everything.
We would absolutely recommend our venue to other couples! It was a stunning back-drop, with the whole day based in the one location. There was enough space to make it suitable for all weather possibilities. Also, the staff at Meols Hall were friendly, relaxed and professional, and helped the day progress seamlessly.
It is hard to choose to favourite part of the day as we had a few; saying our vows which we wrote ourselves, listening to Zoe sing, and dancing the night away whilst eating a pie! Heaven!
For our honeymoon we went to Marrakech for five days. It was incredible. We stayed in a beautiful, scented and tranquil Riad just a few minutes’ walk of the main market. We took in the sights and sounds, bartered in the souks, ate like kings, pampered ourselves in one of the best spas the city had to offer and caught up on some much needed sleep! Although it flies by, no-one tells you how tiring your wedding day will be.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to relax and enjoy yourself. As our photographer said, you get to be a rock star for the day – make the most of it! Also, use your friends and their talents. It made it really special, personal and unique.
We are hugely grateful to everyone who helped make our wedding the magical day that it was. In particular, my parents who gave so much of themselves on the day and the months leading up to it.
June 11th, 2015 | Julia Braime
While we love to see the quirky wedding themes that certain couples pull out of the bag here at Brides Up North HQ, we also never tire a classic and romantic themed celebration like Emma and Mark’s big day.
After a decade together, Emma and Mark tied the knot during a traditional church ceremony followed by an elegant reception at Rockliffe Hall, complete with pretty styling in loved-up hues of pale pink and champagne.
Emma looked absolutely stunning in her lace Pronovias gown but was also keen for her maids to feel amazing on the big day too and so let them choose their dress style for the wedding. Certainly no sign of Bridezilla here then!
With images by Brides Up North featured supplier, Stan Seaton Photography.
emma says: Mark and I had been together for eight years when he proposed. We met at college at 16. Mark proposed to me in our flat in Gateshead on Christmas Day. I remember the morning vividly, in fact he hadn’t slept well all night! He woke very early on Christmas morning, showered and shaved and encouraged me to get dressed. I insisted on staying in my PJs like I always do on Christmas Day. Mark let me open my other presents under the Christmas tree. There was then a large box left at the back of the tree. As I unwrapped it I quickly saw there was a smaller box inside. At this point Mark went down on one knee and popped the question! My family were excitedly waiting to see the ring at Christmas dinner.
Our wedding was the 3rd August 2014. We were very keen to have a summer wedding and hoped for a warm sunny day which we were fortunate enough to get. With being a teacher it made sense having a summer wedding as we have lots of family and friends who are teachers who we wanted at the wedding. It also allowed a good amount of time off for our honeymoon.
We got married at St Philip and St James Church in Witton-le-Wear. I was born and raised in Witton village and the church was very meaningful to me and my family as it was where my younger brother and I were christened.
We then travelled to Rockliffe Hall for our reception. My mum encouraged me to visit Rockliffe Hall when we were first planning the wedding and as soon as we stepped inside we knew it had to be our venue. Rockliffe Hall is absolutely stunning and the staff are so accommodating.
We chose to get married in 2014 as that year we celebrated our tenth anniversary together. We chose a ‘Ten Years in Love’ theme where each table name was a year we had spent together with a picture of something special we had done during that year. We were both keen to keep the style of the wedding as traditional as possible and so went for a romantic feel with pink and cream roses.
We chose champagne as our wedding colour scheme as it fitted well with our romantic theme. My bridesmaids were at the front of my mind when picking the colours for the wedding as I wanted a colour that they would all feel comfortable wearing.
I knew from the beginning of planning the wedding that I wanted a lace wedding dress. Though I did make sure to try on other styles too. I was keen to wear a fitted lace dress and chose a beautiful Pronovias gown from Mia Sposa in Newcastle.
Mark was keen to buy himself and the other groomsmen a suit that fitted well. This wasn’t the easiest of tasks as we had to find a suit that would fit both my 16-year-old brother and our dads! We purchased the suits from T M Lewin. We hired the ivory waistcoats from Affleck and Moffat in Darlington and bought the champagne ties and pocket squares from Moss in Newcastle.
The bridesmaids were a great help in finding their dresses. I was keen for them to help shop for them as I wanted them to feel comfortable and happy on the day. We found their champagne BIBA dresses in House of Fraser. They looked beautiful.
For the big day we hired a Daimler and a Beauford from Classic Wedding Cars. My dad and I travelled in the Beauford and our bridesmaids and my mum travelled in the Daimler. Mark travelled with our best man in his car alongside my brother and his brother. Mark and I then travelled to Rockliffe in the Beauford.
Our photographers were Jane Miller and Stan Seaton from Stan Seaton Photography in Darlington. There was no question about choosing Stan and Jane as our photographers as my family had already worked with them before on a family photo shoot. We took a look at their wedding albums at a wedding fayre and were blown away by the quality of their work. They are both extremely professional but also very friendly and helpful.
On the day they felt more like our guests than photographers. Many of our guests commented on their work on the day of the wedding and also since seeing our wedding album. We would highly recommend them and can’t wait to work with them again in the future – perhaps when we have a family of our own!
I carried a beautiful bouquet made by Flowers by Nattrass in Darlington. I chose to have pink and avalanche roses in my bouquet as they are my favourite flowers. The flowers also worked extremely well with the colour scheme and complemented both my dress and the bridesmaids’ dresses.
Nattrass also supplied our flowers for the church and reception. Laura from Nattrass was extremely helpful when we were choosing our flowers as we were unsure how to decorate the room. Laura invited us down to the Rockliffe during a wedding fayre to see an idea set up on the table. It was a great help to visualise the room and we ended up going for that display. We had roses inside large martini glasses.
We had our wedding stationery designed by Kristen from Noble Fine Art. She was an excellent help and certainly very patient as we made our decision. We could not have asked for nicer wedding stationary. They complemented the tables in the orangery extremely well.
We wanted to keep the traditional part of the wedding of cutting the cake but neither of us were too worried about spending lots of money on a cake. As such, we bought a jam and sponge wedding cake from Marks & Spencer and decorated it ourselves with fresh roses from Nattrass and champagne ribbon.
Choosing the menu for the wedding breakfast was a huge highlight of our wedding planning (especially for Mark). We knew all the food at Rockliffe would be stunning and we found it extremely difficult to choose.
For our wedding day entertainment we chose to have David Ball play the piano during the drinks reception. Later in the evening he also performed a live set with his guitar and sang a range of songs from Buble to Kings of Leon. We also had a photo booth for guests to have fun with the props. This worked well as our guestbook too as they stuck their photos in alongside a message and then had a set of photos to take away with them as a wedding favour.
A very special touch to our wedding day was my younger brother Patrick playing me down the aisle. He played Trumpet Voluntary on his trumpet. A family friend of ours Ali Cochlan also sung a modern version of Ave Maria whilst we signed the register.
Later in the day my parents surprised us with another performance by Ali and Richi of May You Stay Forever Young by Bob Dylan as part of my dad’s speech. That was a real tear jerker for all the guests but a wonderful surprise too.
Rockliffe Hall is a stunning venue and we would certainly recommend it to others. We especially enjoyed having our wedding breakfast in the orangery as it was so light and airy. It felt so private to us and the guests. The staff are extremely helpful and on the day everything felt seamless. The grounds of Rockliffe are superb and made for great photo opportunities. Overall it was a perfect experience and we certainly didn’t want to leave the next day!
Our favourite part of the day has to be exchanging our vows in front of all our family and friends. We had both known from an early age that we wanted to marry each other and when the day finally came we couldn’t wait. We both also enjoyed the evening reception where we got to relax and party with our close friends and family, some of which had travelled some distance to be there so it was great to catch up with them!
We went to Santorini in Greece on our honeymoon. Mark actually booked it as a surprise and I had no clue where we were going until we reached the departure lounge! It was a great feeling having the surprise after a busy 22 months planning the wedding. The only difficulty I had was knowing what to pack! Lots of my friends asked me how I felt leaving the honeymoon plans to Mark but I knew I could trust his decisions. We spent a glorious two weeks away in the sun eating lots of beautiful Greek food.
Our top tip to other Brides Up North would be that although at times you can get carried away with the wedding plans (and sometimes get stressed) remember what the big day is really all about. The only important thing that matters on the day is that you are committing to spend the rest of your life with your best friend and the person you love. Don’t let the small things worry you!
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May 11th, 2015 | Julia Braime
I love it when the images from a wedding really reflect the way people were feeling on the big day. Today’s real wedding captured by Kyle, of Kyle Hassall Photography, provides a perfect example.
Here we see everyone from the bride and groom to the maids and guests shedding a tear of happiness as emotions run high. Thankfully the tears are broken up with lots of laughter & smiles, suggesting that all involved had a fabulous time.
I think the memories of this gorgeous day will last a lifetime, not only for Jordana and Jay, but also for their guests who were clearly moved by this wonderful occasion.
jordana says: We got engaged 18th August 2013. We went for a long walk in Helmsley, North Yorkshire, on a sunny day. Jay had his hand in his pocket holding the ring the whole time which I was completely unaware of as I was too busy chatting away. He finally managed to shut me up by getting down one knee and popping the question in the middle of a corn field with beautiful views of the Yorkshire countryside. There were no tears, just laughter. We then sat on a picnic blanket swigging warm champagne from the bottle which Jay had managed to sneak in the car boot (he forgot the glasses).
Our wedding date was June 4th 2014. There was no reason for that particular date. It was a Wednesday so the cost of the venue was a lot cheaper with it being mid-week and we hoped that the people we wanted there would understand and wouldn’t mind taking the time off work. Luckily it worked out.
We got married at Newton Hall in Northumberland. I saw a picture of the venue in a newspaper article and showed Jay, we thought we might as well check it out as it would be a nice day out at least (we live in Leeds). It was the first venue we went to, but as soon as we stepped through the front doors we loved it. We loved the décor, it had a relaxed feel to it and the staff made us feel completely welcome with their infamous northern charm. We really felt it was perfect, and after having a wander down to the beach nearby we were sold!
We were determined not to have a ‘theme’. We didn’t want to limit ourselves by having a particular colour or theme to have to consider constantly. However after the wedding, our close friend (who was determined we must have a theme) said it was ‘shabby chic boutique’ so I guess that’s the closest description we have.
Again, we didn’t have a particular colour in mind, we chose a lot of metallic and glass pieces for the tables and venue decoration but then used a lot of pastel colours in other areas, such as the pom poms, bridesmaid dresses and flowers.
I chose a princess style dress which was the complete opposite to what I thought I would go for. There’s a lot of pressure finding a wedding dress which is ‘the one’ – I never really got that feeling but I’m so indecisive that I’m not sure I ever would. I ended up purchasing my dress from Boutique Bridal in Leeds, the shop was the third shop I had looked in and was a lot more informal, which I like. I changed a couple of aspects to the dress and I loved wearing it on the day. My shoes were from Dune.
The bridesmaids wore Grecian style dresses from Debenhams and the groomsmen wore their own navy suits with shirts from TM Lewin. Jay changed all the buttons on his and the groomsmen’s shirts to black, to give the look of a dress shirt and to work alongside their black bow ties. They also wore matching socks.
I stayed in the bridal suite of Newton Hall so didn’t have far to walk. We hired a big house nearby and stayed with friends and family for the week of the wedding so Jay stayed there the night before the wedding and drove our car to the venue.
Our photographer was Kyle Hassall and we would definitely recommend him. Kyle was lovely to have around on the day and captured it perfectly. As part of the package Kyle offered, we had an engagement shoot which was great in helping us get to know him and feel a bit more at ease on the day. We didn’t want to spend a great deal of time away from the wedding party having pictures taken of just Jay and I – Kyle completely understood and managed to get a perfect range of pictures which reflected the feel of the day.
I carried a bouquet of various roses and peonies. We purchased the flowers from a wholesaler and after reading a few blogs and watching videos on YouTube, we made the flowers arrangements ourselves.
To decorate we used a range of roses, peonies, carnations and gypsophila for the venue which we purchased from the wholesaler. We did the flowers with help from family, friends and our lovely wedding planner Jayne from Newton Hall.
We made CDs as wedding favours with songs which are special to Jay and I from over the years and which would be played on our wedding day.
We chose a three tier cake from Marks & Spencer which was chocolate sponge with white chocolate cigarette coating. It was amazing and we were still eating it when we got back from our honeymoon.
We wanted a relaxed feel to our day so in terms of food we opted for canapés, which included a mini cottage pie in honour of my dad (it’s his signature dish), followed by a barbecue as the main meal, white chocolate cheesecake for dessert and fish and chips on the evening. All the food went down a treat with all of our guests. Drinks wise we provided prosecco and beer on arrival, red and white wine for the meal and tea and coffee refreshments after dinner.
Getting the music right was such an important aspect of our day for us. We asked all of our guests to rsvp and include song requests, and an old friend of ours who used to DJ agreed to pre-mix the music which worked perfectly. Every song had a memory to match it which felt so personal and the dance floor was never empty.
Along the way we added our own special touches to the day. We made our own wedding invitations together and included a folded ‘fortune teller’ which revealed the details of the day. For table numbers we dug out pictures of Jay and I when we were aged 1, 2, 3 etc. and we gathered pictures of all the guests which formed their place settings. Our friends and family helped us decorate the venue the day before, including making confetti cones with poems attached, our wedding arch and lace chair ties.
A last minute addition was the lighting of candles during our ceremony. Our mothers each lit a candle from which Jay and I lit a further candle to represent the coming together of two families to form a new one.
During the reception we had black and white romantic movies projected onto a big screen, we stole the idea from a lovely restaurant we dined in a few years back. We hired ‘J&J’ movie style lights to create a focus point to where you would usually find the DJ. We held a balloon release when the evening guests arrived; the guests released white balloons whereas we released two red hearts – of course Jay’s got stuck in the tree, which added a bit of extra entertainment.
We would defiantly recommend our wedding venue to others. We love Newton Hall as a venue, the stylish mix of old and new, the location, the luxury accommodation and the food was delicious, but the staff truly made our day what it was. The day ran like clockwork, all the while keeping it personal rather than regimented. We are aware of how popular the venue is, however, we were made to feel so special and that it really was ‘our day’. Any request was met by the endearing response ‘ne bother’ and they could not do enough for us. Our wedding planners on the day, in particular, Jayne and James, left us with extremely fond memories and we will always be thankful.
I’d say my favourite part of the day was sitting on the top table during dinner, looking at all of our loved ones together enjoying dinner and letting it sink in that we were now man and wife.
After the wedding we had a few more days with our friends and family exploring Northumberland, including a boat trip to the Farn Island, and then we spent a week in Hvar, Croatia for our honeymoon. The Croatians were welcoming and witty. We enjoyed incredible food everywhere we ate and the town was extremely romantic with lots of little bars and ice cream parlours down cobbled streets. The only drama we had was when we braved taking a small motor boat out for the day to a nearby island and Jay managed to step on a sea urchin. However, after a quick stop at the doctor’s we were on our way and ready to enjoy another cocktail.
We tried really hard not to get wrapped up in other people’s expectations and also to absorb and enjoy the whole process. So my top tip to other Brides Up North would be don’t spend all your time anticipating the big day and miss out on enjoying the preparation of it.
Another little tip we were given, and which we would also be keen to pass on, is consciously take a ‘time out’ together as bride and groom on the day. For us this was when all of our wedding guests were being seated for dinner. Otherwise the day can fly by so fast and you forget to take it all in.
Our only regret is not getting video footage of the day – pictures are a great documentation, but there are elements, such as the speeches, that we would have loved to relive more.
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