Charlotte Balbier

laughter & tears. an emotional wedding at newton hall – jordana & jay

May 11th, 2015 | Julia Braime

a pretty wedding at Newton Hall (c) Kyle Hassall Photography (43)

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.

a pretty wedding at Newton Hall (c) Kyle Hassall Photography (13)

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).

a pretty wedding at Newton Hall (c) Kyle Hassall Photography (17)

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!

a pretty wedding at Newton Hall (c) Kyle Hassall Photography (1)

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.

a pretty wedding at Newton Hall (c) Kyle Hassall Photography (3)

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.

a pretty wedding at Newton Hall (c) Kyle Hassall Photography (2)

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.

Jay wore a dinner suit from Kooples, shirt from TM Lewin and Paul Smith shoes.

a pretty wedding at Newton Hall (c) Kyle Hassall Photography (22)

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.

a pretty wedding at Newton Hall (c) Kyle Hassall Photography (24)

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.

a pretty wedding at Newton Hall (c) Kyle Hassall Photography (30)

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.

a pretty wedding at Newton Hall (c) Kyle Hassall Photography (35)

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.

a pretty wedding at Newton Hall (c) Kyle Hassall Photography (9)

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.

a pretty wedding at Newton Hall (c) Kyle Hassall Photography (37)

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.

a pretty wedding at Newton Hall (c) Kyle Hassall Photography (4)

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.

a pretty wedding at Newton Hall (c) Kyle Hassall Photography (45)

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.

Our J&J letters came from Coco Luminaire, and our balloons were supplied by Party Atmosphere. Both suppliers were flexible and friendly to deal with.

a pretty wedding at Newton Hall (c) Kyle Hassall Photography (34)

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.

a pretty wedding at Newton Hall (c) Kyle Hassall Photography (32)

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.

a pretty wedding at Newton Hall (c) Kyle Hassall Photography (50)

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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pretty chilled. a relaxed wedding at taitlands – emily & tom

December 4th, 2014 | Julia Braime

a relaxed wedding at Taitlands (c) Johnboy Wilson Photography (43)

Emily and Tom invited their friends and family to enjoy a relaxed wedding in the Yorkshire Dales, specifically not wanting to make the weekend “all about them”. Well, their wedding day was all about them - and in the best possible of ways: friendly, fun and full of special, meaningful details.

Exactly the way it should be.

With images by Johnboy Wilson.

a relaxed wedding at Taitlands (c) Johnboy Wilson Photography (3)

emily says: We got engaged in September 2012, on The Isle of Skye. It was my 30th Birthday and Tom proposed to me at the top of the Quirraing. It was a very special place to us from a previous adventure together. We spent the rest of the week in a cottage on the Isle of Lewis on a secluded beach.

We were married on 31st May 2014 as it is around our anniversary of when we met – we thought six years together should be celebrated!

We chose Taitlands near Settle in the Yorkshire Dales. We both love walking and the Dales is one of our favourite places in the world. We actually only looked at Taitlands as a venue, we knew the area was right and as soon as we met Emma (the owner of Taitlands) we knew she would help us organise a relaxed wedding set to the backdrop of the hills.

a relaxed wedding at Taitlands (c) Johnboy Wilson Photography (4)

We wanted a relaxed wedding and encouraged guests to stay in the local area for the weekend so they could go walking or have a meal down at the local pub before/after the wedding day. We didn’t want the weekend to be all about us!

The day was a mixture of themes to reflect the things we really love in the world. We chose natural materials such as wood and wicker and the decor and flowers were inspired by the Hebrides, but we decided to go more elegant for the ceremony itself.

As we love camping and walking I wouldn’t say I was overly girlie so I thought why not go for it on your own wedding day – we chose pale pink and cream theme for the ceremony and wedding breakfast and we teamed this scheme up with dark blue to balance it out.

a relaxed wedding at Taitlands (c) Johnboy Wilson Photography (15)

I looked at lots of dresses online as starting point. I then realised that I was putting off going to a shop to try on actual dresses – the idea made me feel very uncomfortable. I then found online a small independent shop in Pudsey called Scarlett Poppy. The shop makes bespoke dresses and I loved the fact that they are independent.

The ladies at Scarlett Poppy put me at ease and really listened to my ideas. The draft drawings were really helpful to envisage the dress and the process of designing something from scratch was amazing.

I went for a classic figure hugging dress as I love the art deco era and my Mum choose the beaded lace pattern for the back of the dress – a very special moment.

a relaxed wedding at Taitlands (c) Johnboy Wilson Photography (2)

Tom wore a blue suit from TM Lewin, his best man got married 9 months before and they agreed to where the same suits for both weddings.

a relaxed wedding at Taitlands (c) Johnboy Wilson Photography (7)

I wanted to get dresses that the bridesmaids would feel comfortable in and potentially wear again. I went for Karen Millen dresses in pale pink.

a relaxed wedding at Taitlands (c) Johnboy Wilson Photography (17)

Emma at Taitlands is also a florist which made the organising of flowers easy. Emma has fantastic taste and we gave her the colour scheme and a few details and she provided the rest – the flowers were elegant and suited the ceremony perfectly.

Emma provided flowers for the entrance, button holes and bouquets.

a relaxed wedding at Taitlands (c) Johnboy Wilson Photography (20)

Johnboy Wilson was our photographer. I would recommend Johnboy as a photographer; he strikes the balance between being friendly yet professional. We gave a brief to him that we only wanted a few formal photographs of the day and we would rather have more natural pictures of our friends and family having fun – he really did capture the atmosphere of the day and respected our request. I think the pictures speak for themselves.

a relaxed wedding at Taitlands (c) Johnboy Wilson Photography (26)

a relaxed wedding at Taitlands (c) Johnboy Wilson Photography (28)

I would highly recommend Victoria Edwards as a makeup artist, Victoria travelled to the venue making getting ready on the morning of the wedding a fun and girlie time. My Mum and bridesmaids looked fantastic and Victoria listened to each person to find out what style they wanted and gave some great suggestions. Getting ready together was a fun experience.

Our hairdresser was Hannah from Verve in Ilkley, again Hannah travelled to the venue and really transformed my hair into the vintage style I was looking for.

a relaxed wedding at Taitlands (c) Johnboy Wilson Photography (29)

a relaxed wedding at Taitlands (c) Johnboy Wilson Photography (31)

Our families helped the table decor and the marquee – it was a real team effort.  We decorated the main rooms ourselves, especially the marquee, where we had lanterns and pompoms. We even added beer mats from New York and Canada which is where we went on honeymoon.

a relaxed wedding at Taitlands (c) Johnboy Wilson Photography (34)

Taitlands has a wonderful chef that cooks traditional yet beautiful food. The guests commented on how fantastic the food was. As Taitlands is independently owned we were able to organise our own wine and Champagne for a corkage fee. The charge was very reasonable and it meant we could buy good quality wine.

Tom and I love cheese and we new pretty early on that we wanted a cheese tower rather than a traditional wedding cake. On our trips to the Dales we would stop off at The Courtyard on the A64. The Courtyard has an independent cheese shop which we love called The Courtyard Dairy. We knew we would have to buy our cheese from there as the selection and knowledge of the owner, Andy, was fantastic.

a relaxed wedding at Taitlands (c) Johnboy Wilson Photography (36)

Whether we should give favours seem one of the things we debated the most! We decided give favours in the end and went for quite a simple idea. We bought a favours kit from Hobbycraft and filled the small wine glasses with a mixture of five sweets including some sugared almonds to be traditional

a relaxed wedding at Taitlands (c) Johnboy Wilson Photography (42)

The best part of the day was walking round the lawn after the ceremony with my new Husband chatting with the people we love.

We had a selection of lawn games, which we arranged ourselves and we even made little signs. Taitlands supplied the Croquet.

a relaxed wedding at Taitlands (c) Johnboy Wilson Photography (45)

a relaxed wedding at Taitlands (c) Johnboy Wilson Photography (48)

One of Tom’s best friends, Simon is a wedding DJ and he did last performance in the UK as he has since moved to Dubai! The company was called BigBigLove. Tom and Simon worked together and use to DJ together at parties in Leeds.

a relaxed wedding at Taitlands (c) Johnboy Wilson Photography (49)

We had a short break in the Yorkshire Dales after the ceremony to just relax and remember the day, then three months later we went to New York and Canada, taking in the Niagara Falls, Victoria, the Canadian Rockies and Vancouver.

a relaxed wedding at Taitlands (c) Johnboy Wilson Photography (50)

A tip that was given to us and that I’ll pass on to other Brides Up North was to take the time with your Husband/Wife to just stand back and take in the moments on the day. It really made it special for us.

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relaxed romantics. a simple & stunning tipi wedding in Yorkshire – gemma & jim

November 11th, 2014 | Julia Braime

a cute tipi wedding with pale blue details (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (34)

This morning we join Gemma and Jim for their simple yet stunning wedding in the Yorkshire countryside.  Our homecoming couple kept things plain yet interesting with delicate, handmade touches and a pretty pale colour palette for their celebration under canvas at the heart of village life.

With images by Hayley Baxter Photography.

a cute tipi wedding with pale blue details (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (13)

Gemma says: When Jim proposed it was totally unexpected! He had insisted on taking me out for a slap up evening meal as a Christmas treat. We live in London and it had snowed all day, I was wet, cold and just wanted to make sure we could get home! The odds were against him – my mood wasn’t the warmest, and little did I know, he had called my Mum to ask her permission – to be promptly told to call back later as she was ‘in the middle of dishing up tea’! Poor fella! He took me to the Oxo Tower Restaurant on the Southbank – at which point I insisted this was far too lavish and I would prefer to have a Chinese take away and save the money! He pressed on..! During the meal he started to look a little ‘off colour’ which I later realised was because he desperately needed the toilet but couldn’t risk standing up and me seeing a square bulge in the pocket of his skinny jeans! He proposed with the most romantic words of love for me and with a standing ovation from the other dinners when I said ‘yes’ (in floods!).

We married in a small village called Hackness, North Yorkshire on 6th September 2014 – close to where our families live. Hackness has a beautiful church and  wonderful countryside surroundings. It was quite tricky choosing the location as, living in London, there was a bit of a North, South divide! As luck would have it, we found a wedding blog showing a great wedding in the same village, with a Tipi reception at the village hall. We had been to our friends Tipi wedding and loved the idea of putting our own personal touches on the day. Plus we are outdoorsy people and go camping all year round – so this really suited us. It all started to fall into place!

a cute tipi wedding with pale blue details (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (17)

We wanted to make everything ourselves to give our day a real personal touch – and save money of course! Romantic, rustic and simple was the theme! We didn’t want to over decorate the tipis as we thought they looked wonderful with simple sparkly lights. We tied in parts of our London life – our table plan was based on the tube map and we used Oxo Cubes (engaged in the Oxo Tower) to hold each name plate. My Mum made meters and meters of hessian table runners with a lace centre, and we had lots of glass jars and sundae dishes with candles in them, with sand from Scarborough Beach to hold them in place.

The initial colour scheme was duck egg, but the actual colour of duck egg blue is a very serious debate within our family and friends now! So we’ll just say ‘light bluey’!

a cute tipi wedding with pale blue details (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (21)

My dress was from London Designer Bridal Room just off Oxford Street. I am very simple in what I wear day to day so I knew a large dress wasn’t for me…(I did have fun trying one or two on though!). I went for a simple, slinky dress which made me feel very elegant, womanly and, most of all, me!

Jim showed me quite a few pictures of David Gandy in suits…so I knew he wanted something quite fitted and trendy! We went to some amazing tailors but in the end the slim-fit style we found (as luck and budget would have it) in Red Herring at Debenhams was the one. It had a matching scoop neck waistcoat which looked perfect with his skinny French Connection tie. His shoes were from Linea at House of Fraser and shirt was a white slim fit dress shirt from TM Lewin.

The Bridesmaids and I had to do a lot of virtual shopping as they both live miles away. I came across the dresses on one of my many web searches and they both loved it! The dresses had a subtle sequin hem which tied in perfectly with my dress – from Kalico at John Lewis. The Bestman and Usher wore the same suit and tie as Jim. They were a little concerned with the ‘slim fit’ description but they both looked amazing!

a cute tipi wedding with pale blue details (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (23)

For our centre pieces we ordered 100 stems of loose gypsophila from our florist, to put into the vases we had decorated for the table centres. My Mother-in-Law has done a bit of floristry so she made sure each stem was cut nice and level. We also had (my favourite) white hydrangea heads in jam jars.

Our florist at Blooms of Scarborough was so clever, I wanted a simple gypsophila bouquet but she suggested tying in a hydrangea centre to match our centre pieces. I was so pleased with the final result which was all tied together with hessian.

a cute tipi wedding with pale blue details (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (25)

Our photographer was the wonderful Hayley Baxter. I have fallen in love a bit with Hayley… she is just a little genius and the nicest person to boot! We could not believe the wonderful intimate shots she managed – most of the time we had no idea she was there! Our edited pictures arrived very quickly – but we got a little sneak peek the day after via Facebook – which was such a lovely touch!

a cute tipi wedding with pale blue details (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (30)

a cute tipi wedding with pale blue details (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (32)

a cute tipi wedding with pale blue details (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (38)

a cute tipi wedding with pale blue details (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (1)

We made all the favours ourselves. I made pretty dangly earrings for all the ladies and Jim made a ‘mix tape’ of all sorts of music (some meaningful, some just fun!) for the gents. We spent many a Sunday afternoon cutting and sticking and creating. I think I loved this part a bit more than Jim… but he is a dab hand with the heart shaped hole punch now!

On each table setting we added a question card from the Logo board game, which we thought would be a nice ice breaker.

a cute tipi wedding with pale blue details (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (4)

Having a tipi wedding limits your food choices to a degree but we managed to work it – I think! Well… no one went hungry! Malton Relish made all our gorgeous canapes and the vegetarian options of ‘Wild Mushroom Loaf’ and ‘Italian Vegetable Frittata’ they delivered them on the day so we didn’t have to worry about chilling them. Stepney Hill Farm provided the main meal of a Hog Roast with stuffing and apple sauce. Jim’s step father is a dab hand in the kitchen so he lovingly prepared some amazing salad accompaniments. We had lots of cheese and biscuits, wedding cake and my friend made delicious chocolate brownies for dessert. Late evening we had Pickering Fish and Chips arrive with their mobile van – which went down an absolute treat! We ran a free bar so shopped for the alcohol during various promotions in the supermarkets. Aldi was an absolute winner for spirits!  We also had a hand pull real ale from Scarborough Brewery which people went crazy for!

a cute tipi wedding with pale blue details (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (9)

a cute tipi wedding with pale blue details (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (10)

Jim’s Mum is a wonderful baker and so she kindly baked our cake – traditional fruit on the bottom tier and lemon sponge with lemon curd and butter cream on the top tier. Her super clever friend did all the icing. We have the figurines set now and sitting on our book case – a wonderful keepsake!

a cute tipi wedding with pale blue details (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (35)

We were so pleased with The Big Party Band, a 5 piece band based in Keighley. We had seen them perform at a rare public gig and knew they were good! The music was a mix of modern and dance floor classics. The real wow factor comes when the band get on the dance floor with their wireless guitars – so much fun! We paid extra to hire their kit all day to allow us to have music during the day and a PA system for the speeches. We gave them two options for our first dance and they surprised us on the day having learnt them both – so gave us a first and last dance!

We put a confetti balloon in the centre of the dance floor which was popped during our first dance – the actually popping caused lots of laughs as it just wouldn’t go!

a cute tipi wedding with pale blue details (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (46)

We had these huge LOVE letters which I scrounged from Debenhams on Oxford Street –  it was one of their valentines displays that they were throwing away. We underestimated how large they were which made for a bit of hilarity when trying to get them home on the tube!

a cute tipi wedding with pale blue details (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (55)

Boutipi were our Tipi suppliers and they are just the best!! They are a family run business which really shows, nothing is too much trouble and they really care about giving you the best day possible! They even gave us a crash course in the Waltz the day before!

Crystal Penguin Events did our on the day coordination along with two waitresses my mum knows. I would recommend to anyone having a Tipi wedding to have someone there on the day to worry about timings etc. Steph made everything run like clock work, she also brought along some of her family to help run the bar and wash up!

Abbey Sound and Light hired our generator, we had no idea what size we would need but they worked this all out for us and plugged it all in – a real weight off our mind.

a cute tipi wedding with pale blue details (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (60)

Our wedding day was truly the best day of our lives. It’s impossible to say what our one favourite moment was – but saying our vows to each other was wonderful, we were finally becoming man and wife! I messed up my lines and cried all the way through…but people said they loved that it was sincere and not polished. The three days prior to our wedding was wonderful, everyone turning up to help decorate and lift and shift… just made your heart melt. We felt so lucky to have such hard working family and friends!

a cute tipi wedding with pale blue details (c) Hayley Baxter Photography (66)

We had a couple of days away after our wedding in Bruges – which was wonderful! Such a pretty and romantic place, perfect for relaxing and mooching about! We are planning our honeymoon for later next year.

I have so many tips for other Brides Up North! These types of blogs are so handy for reading about the experience of others. Having now been there, done that, I would have explored the second hand dress market a bit more, it is such a huge part of your budget and after all, most second hand dresses have only been worn once!

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bonnie & bright. a colourful wedding at St Andrews – clair & nick

October 29th, 2014 | Julia Braime

a colourful wedding in St Andrews (c) Anna Joy Photography (30)

Stunning scenery, rainbow blooms, tartan trews and spinning a reel… Clair and Nick show how an elegant wedding needn’t be a stuffy affair. Combining traditional charm with modern and personal touches, the couple’s colourful celebration is a bonnie day indeed.

Images by AnnaJoy Photography.

a colourful wedding in St Andrews (c) Anna Joy Photography (3)

Clair says: Nick and I met while studying at St Andrews in 2008. Our first little holiday together as a couple was to a lovely little guesthouse outside of Ballachulish in the Scottish Highlands. We had a lovely few days together as a fairly new couple. One of the things we both enjoy most is documenting our little adventures – we found an amazing, almost deserted road in Glen Nevis and realised it could be a lot of fun to take a series of stills of the both of us in the road, sort of like the flip books you get where when you look at the images quickly they tell a little story. As our new year celebrations finished in the early hours of 1st Jan 2013 Nick told me he was taking me back to that same guesthouse as a surprise gift! We went back to the same spot on the deserted road to make a new “flip book” of photos of us 4 years later and then Nick got down on one knee. It was beautifully romantic and entirely unique! Those pictures now have even more meaning!

We were married on 12th July 2014. We picked that date because both of us had extremely tight schedules at the time. I was in between graduating for a second time and starting work and had four weeks that I could totally devote to the last minute frantic preparations.

We got married at St Salvator’s Chapel, St Andrews. It’s the chapel associated with the University we both studied at and it just felt right to go back there. I wanted a very traditional service but in a place that was familiar, so the Chapel was perfect! Our reception was across the lawn at Upper and Lower College Hall, a beautiful building from the early 17th century. The grassy lawn in between the Chapel and the Hall was the perfect spot for drinks after the service and for the littlies to tear around. We were on a very tight budget funding the wedding ourselves – the Chapel and College offered the opportunity to put our own stamp on our wedding whilst fitting within a well-rehearsed framework for a very agreeable price.

a colourful wedding in St Andrews (c) Anna Joy Photography (9)

We decided that our wedding would have a ‘hint’ of vintage but that in order to really work with the venue it also had to be elegant. We decided that additions such as vintage china and pastel handkerchiefs would work with the room whilst I had to forgo the likes of bunting, as it just wouldn’t have worked. We also wanted lots of homemade elements – we are crafty people but also wanted the really personal feel that this adds. It also saves lots of pennies if you can make things yourselves!

We wanted it to be bright. And beyond that I didn’t want to complicate matters by having a colour scheme. As many of the fine details were done by ourselves, it was much easier to have a loose colour scheme for resourcing what we wanted at the price we wanted it for. I wanted my bridesmaids to have dresses they had picked and could wear again and shoes they liked rather than enforcing my choices on them – they all agreed that they would wear navy and between them all picked the same dress! But their shoes were all different. They all had a bright pink shawl and a posy of brightly coloured flowers – many of the same flowers that were elsewhere in the venue. Very loosely we tried to stick to oranges, yellows, pinks and purples but all sorts of other colours crept in too!

a colourful wedding in St Andrews (c) Anna Joy Photography (12)

The dress I thought I wanted and the one I picked were worlds apart. I have very much a pear shape, and realised that the dresses I thought I liked only accentuated my wide hips and left me feeling frumpy. I ditched my original ideas and in Pretty Woman in Edinburgh riffled through dresses they had hanging. I knew I wanted lace somewhere, and I had realised that something that fit snuggly at the waist but then skimmed out over my hips was going to be most flattering. With new thinking, the first dress I tried on was strapless – something I knew I just didn’t want on its own, but had been told I could add a lace jacket to. It had a sweetheart neckline, fit tightly at the waist and then had layers of tuille and a lot of taffeta to give a very full skirt and chapel length train. The instant I put the jacket on over the top I knew the look was exactly what I wanted. Both were made by Justin Alexander. The girls I was with at the time said it was the first time I had smiled as looked at in the mirror. That was it. I decided there and then that the dress and jacket were the ones I wanted.

a colourful wedding in St Andrews (c) Anna Joy Photography (5)

Nick wore a pair of McNaughton Muted Tartan Trews I had bought him as a Christmas gift. His father was Scottish and this was his family tartan (McKendrick). His bow tie was in the same tartan to match. The Prince Charlie jacket his Mum had bought him a Christmas later, so that he had a complete outfit. His lovely shoes were Loake – his favourite brand of shoes, and compensation for all the pennies spent on my dress. The dress shirt came from TM Lewin and his copper cufflinks I had bought on Etsy as an engagement gift – they had the co-ordinates on them of the exact spot in Glen Nevis at which he had proposed.

a colourful wedding in St Andrews (c) Anna Joy Photography (17)

The bridesmaids’ dresses were made by LightInTheBox – a company based in China which make beautiful quality gowns to order. I sent them the girls’ exact measurements and the dresses arrived and needed only the smallest of tweaks. The groomsmen wore a mix of their own Highland wear or suits. We were flexible with what the boys wanted to wear – it fit with the relaxed colour scheme. Each of them had a set of pirate Lego cufflinks – Nick’s stag had been on a boat in the Norfolk Broads that the boys had customised into a pirate ship.

a colourful wedding in St Andrews (c) Anna Joy Photography (19)

We hired a beautiful Rolls Royce Silver Shadow from Prestige Cars of Fife – a company owned by Tom McKean. The car worked with our loosely vintage theme and was a definite luxury. Tom was the perfect driver, putting our nerves at ease and then drove us around St Andrews for some of our photos after the service.

a colourful wedding in St Andrews (c) Anna Joy Photography (22)

Our photographer was Anna Hamill of AnnaJoy Photography. She was perfect. We knew at our engagement shoot we had found a real treasure. She was wonderfully discrete but also somehow captured every single moment beautifully. She didn’t mind being punted into taxi’s across town to be a part of everything and in the midst of relative madness, she was calm. There are lots of little touches Anna brings that others don’t – beautiful little business cards with pictures of you on, USB sticks sent with edible goodies, emails that are more friendly than blunt business, and the rights to do with your photos as you wish. And Nick and I would recommend her in a heartbeat for all of this.

a colourful wedding in St Andrews (c) Anna Joy Photography (25)

My bridesmaids and I carried bouquets of flowers constructed by my beautiful and incredibly talented Mama. We ordered them wholesale from Triangle Nursery who delivered them to where the bridal party had gathered for a few days prior to the wedding. Mum then assembled them into beautiful creations and somehow knew what flowers would work where. She was magical.

Our flowers for the venue came from the same wholesalers. In keeping with as much being made by the people we love most, we got a bunch of my girlfriends, my sister, Nicks Mum and Great Aunt together and led by my Mama they each made one of the decorations. Each one had the same flowers and greenery in, but was assembled however they wanted. And they all looked fantastic. We had peonies, dozens and dozens of roses, freesias, gerbera, chrysanthemums, gypsophila, thistles and more!

a colourful wedding in St Andrews (c) Anna Joy Photography (33)

We had a wedding tree as an alternative to a guest book – it’s now framed and hanging on our wall as a memory of all of those that joined us. We also asked every guest to bring their favourite recipe so we could create a ‘wedding cookbook’.

Perhaps the most personal thing for us was that our family and closest friends joined us for five days in total – a few days before preparing, and a couple of days after the wedding. Having our favourite people around us for a little bit more time was so important to us both.

 

a colourful wedding in St Andrews (c) Anna Joy Photography (35)

We used Gordon’s Cater Hire for our vintage crockery and chairs – I wanted lime-washed chairs as I am not a fan of chair covers or sashes. They were excellent and provided an excellent service.

a colourful wedding in St Andrews (c) Anna Joy Photography (29)

As favours, we gave ladies vintage handkerchiefs for “happy tears” and men brightly coloured silk pocket squares. Everyone also had a personalised name tag made from salt dough – something else people could take home and hang somewhere if they wanted.

a colourful wedding in St Andrews (c) Anna Joy Photography (38)

We chose traditional Scottish options for our food. We sent guests a selection of three options for main course and dessert and asked them to get back to us – we wanted our guests to eat food they wanted to eat! St Andrews University created delicious dishes and many of our guests complimented the quality of the food. We sourced our favourite wines from the supermarket – we just waited until they were on offer and bulk bought. We had to pay corkage but felt for the same cost as the cheapest wines on the wine list we had wines we loved and that we thought other people would enjoy.

My favourite cake of all time is the fruit cake that my Mum makes for Christmas and this was the only cake I ever considered for our wedding. She also made a madeira cake for those people that don’t like fruit cake. She decorated them beautifully with hearts and pearls and lace and ribbon. Oh they were gorgeous. And to please Nick, who, if he could only eat one food for the rest of his life it would be cheese, we had a stack-of-cheeses cake. We served the cheeses and cakes as our evening buffet and they went down a treat!

One of our cheeses came from Cote Hill, a farm in Lincolnshire where Nick’s family is from – it was delicious!

a colourful wedding in St Andrews (c) Anna Joy Photography (49)

We are largely a Scottish family and many of our friends are Scottish. We had been to a friend’s wedding and were amazed at how a ceilidh got everyone up and dancing – so we emailed a dozen bands and eventually settled on one we liked the look of – Ceilidh Sound. We also had a close friend who did a fantastic job of MC during the speeches – he had everyone in stitches.

a colourful wedding in St Andrews (c) Anna Joy Photography (48)

The whole day was perfect. The moments we had as just the two of us were just as precious as those we shared with our friends and family. Our mothers gave us kisses right before we said our vows, our ‘last kisses’, and dancing with my Dad was one of those moments every little girl wants. The whole day was completely wonderful and we are off to Barbados in just 8 days! We are so excited!

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to plan plan plan. It’s never too early. We had all of our big things booked well in advance, including our band, Anna, the venues, the accommodation, my dress, our rings. It meant closer to the time we had plenty of time to focus on the fine details. Also, an Excel spreadsheet is a girl’s best friend.

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stately lace. a pretty wedding at Wynyard Hall – stacey & michael

September 16th, 2014 | Julia Braime

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a distinct “Tuesday feeling” for much of this morning (the direct opposite of the Friday feeling, which is far nicer).  I’m not sure if it’s a come down from the heady mix of industry and bridal events, high heels and glitter whirlwind that I’ve been spinning around in for the past week or so, but today’s huge to-do list of deathly dull admin left me feeling meh.

That’s until I started putting today’s real wedding feature together.

Stacey & Michael’s beautiful celebration at North East landmark venue Wynyard Hall reminded me exactly why I love this job and that however many VAT returns I have to chew through, I wouldn’t swap it for the world.

Get ready to pretty up your Tuesday and get lost in lace, blooms and birdcage veils…

With images by Foster & Foster Photography.

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Stacey says: We got engaged in October 2012. I was meant to have some annual leave from work, but had been very busy at work and consequently had cancelled my holidays.  Unknown to me, Michael had planned a couple of days away.  I phoned him from a work to let him know and when I got home from work, I changed into my pyjamas and began to prepare dinner.  He nipped upstairs and reappeared in our sitting room on one knee and proposed.

He said that he did it because now he was uncertain as to when we could go away he couldn’t wait!

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We were married on 8 March 2014. We knew we did not want a long engagement and 16 to 18 months felt about right.

I didn’t want a typical summer wedding as I envisaged the bridesmaids wearing fur capes outside.  We plumped for early March as it was likely to be past the worst bits of winter (heavy snow) but still chilly.

We chose Wynyard Hall, Teeside as our venue. We knew we wanted to get married in the North East as this is where most of our friends and family are.  We also knew we wanted an old venue as this suits our taste. We visited lots of venues, but when we drove up to Wynyard we were blown away by the building and its grounds.  When we went inside and seen the amazing stain glass ceiling with grand piano below, I was sold.

When shown around, we liked that we could use three different rooms through the various stages of the day and have our own bar area.  The terrace on the right was exclusively ours and allowed our guests privacy. In addition Wynyard had amazing bedrooms to accommodate our immediate family and friends, whilst being near enough to other hotels for other guests. It is an incredible venue, with lots of places for amazing photographs as well as creating the perfect atmosphere.

The team at Wynyard were very helpful and friendly and we knew we’d be in good hands on the day. Chris, our master of ceremonies, kept everything on track and did an amazing job.  Maggie our wedding coordinator was very attentive, answered all my queries well and efficiently and everything went smoothly on the day.

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Given the venue, I chose lace and, in hindsight, a vintage theme. The boys’ ties were a soft sage green and the bridesmaids wore nude.  The flowers then picked up on these colours with ivories and soft peach. I wanted to go for pale colours and tie everything into the lace that I had chosen for the tables.

I wore a fishtail lace Pronovias dress in an off white colour (Diago).  I bought it from Mia Sposa in Newcastle.  I knew that my preference was for a dress with straps/sleeves and no “bling”. When I tried this dress on, the way it moved made me feel amazing and the lace detail was spectacular.  Every dress I tried on after it I kept comparing to this one.

What Katy Did Next made me an amazing bespoke birdcage veil. It had a large ivory flower with pearl centre and jewelled leaves on either side.  The small veil was then detachable after the ceremony.  Her expertise and skill was second to none, as was her service.  She also made me some heart shaped shoe clips in ivory so that my shoes were unique!

Michael and the rest of the bridal party wore a mid grey three piece suit hired from Mia Sposa. We bought white shirts from TM Lewin and bought the ties with matching pocket squares from an online retailer.

I had the bridesmaid dresses made to measure by Eve and Adam in Newcastle.  They were nude coloured, sleeveless maxi dresses made to my specification. I chose to do this as I had two adult bridesmaids and two children (13 and 9) so it was difficult to find an off the shelf style to suit all.  I also wanted a dress they could easily use again.

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I had a bouquet of white lilac, champagne, soft peach and ivory roses and ivory peonies.

Katherine’s Florists in Newcastle provided these and they were amazing.  Helen at Katherine’s really understood my vision and worked with me to achieve the look I wanted.  She understood that I wanted to use fresh flowers but peonies were out of season at this time so she sourced high quality silk ones which you would not have known were silk when in the arrangement.

The bridesmaids carried very similar bouquets, with more soft peach shades and slightly smaller.

All of the groomsmen had button holes of champagne roses, along with Michael’s grandparents and mum.  My mum had a pearl wrist corsage with a champagne rose which was beautiful.

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We cannot praise Sarah and Mark enough for the huge part they played in our wedding day.   We were recommended to use Foster and Foster Photography by several friends and from the minute we contacted them for a quote the service we received was exceptional!

They met with us prior to the wedding to understand the approach we wanted for our photos, get a feel for our wedding and just get to know us in general.  They guided us on the optimal way of getting the crucial group shots we wanted whilst also allowing us to spend time with our guests.

On the day they were very much in the background, but still managed to capture amazing images!  They made us feel very relaxed throughout the day.   Michael in particular was nervous about being put into staged shots and feeling uncomfortable, but Sarah and Mark really made us feel at ease. They were brilliant at taking the group shots we wanted without being intrusive into the natural flow of the day.

The finished product was beyond our expectations and the follow up service has been exceptional!  They sent us a small sample of their shots the day after our wedding which was amazing as we were jetting off on honeymoon.  They then quickly produced a slideshow to send to our friends.  All of our friends and family adore the images and commented on how well executed the photography was on the day.

We also opted to have an album and they worked with us to include all of our favourite pictures.  More importantly they used their expertise to produce a professional finish which flowed well and captured all elements of the day.  They also helped us to get some extra shots printed for our family.  Small things like arranging specific times to deliver our disk of photos and album (to ensure we would receive them quickly and in perfect condition) really added to the already exceptional service.

I would not think twice about recommending Sarah and Mark as any couple’s wedding photographer.  The service was faultless and they are a lovely couple who work incredibly well together.  We are very lucky to have such amazing pictures from our special day!

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We did not want people to sit on certain sides in the ceremony so had a personalised framed picture made saying “Today two families become one, choose a seat not a side”. I reserved the first two rows of the ceremony room for immediate family, bridesmaids and groomsmen and had names badges made which I used as place names in the ceremony room.

Down the aisle we sprinkled petals and had white lanterns with big candles in them which looked amazing.

In the room where we were married we had to two tall slim vases with large ivory hydrangeas.  These were moved to our wedding breakfast room after the ceremony. Each table had a centre piece with tall vases containing a combination of the bouquets flowers with some ivory hydrangeas.

The top table had several small vases and jars dotted along the table with one or two of the bouquet flowers picked out.  There were then five circular vases into which my bouquet and the bridesmaids’ bouquets were dropped before the wedding breakfast. These were all supplied by Katherine’s Florists.

In addition, as part of our wedding package, Wynyard supplied a floral pedestal display and a floral spray for the registrar table in ivory colours.

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I made some vintage style ladders for the table plan which were very unique and stood out next to the piano.  We also had a table of family wedding photos next to the piano, which was brilliant as some people had passed away and it was a way to recognise them.

I also had made some extra frames with M&S in as well as some Mr and Mrs signs.  One of my bridesmaid’s bought us a Mr and Mrs Hall sign for the top table which finished it off perfectly!  She gave it to me the night before which made it an extra surprise!

I hired Posh Chair Covers and Bows to do the lace bows and hoods on the chairs as well as lace runners down the tables which fitted perfectly with the theme!

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The cake was one of my favourite things! It was off-white to match my dress and covered in flowers in pale green, peach and ivory to match my colour theme.  They cascaded down the cake and were more closely gathered near the bottom.

The bottom layer was fruit cake made by Michael’s brother (and the best man) who is a chef. There were then two layers of chocolate cake and one of vanilla. It was made by a family friend, Sue Hall. We also had a huge stack of cupcakes to match the main cake as cupcakes are a favourite of mine!

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For the wedding ceremony and drinks reception we had a piano player Mark Deeks of Music Newcastle.  We knew we wanted to use the grand piano in the main hallway where guests would be chatting.  It was the perfect accompaniment to our ceremony and Mark provided an excellent bespoke service!  He took requests on the day which our guests really enjoyed!

On the evening we had a local band, The Fontains.  They were better than we could ever have hoped!  They performed our first dance song “Read My Mind” by The Killers and the arrangement was fantastic!  The atmosphere they created was beyond what we could have hoped for!

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My favourite part was walking out of the wedding ceremony to the drinks reception because I was officially married to Michael, everything looked perfect and everyone seemed to be having a brilliant time.

I felt I could relax as everything had come together as planned!

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For our honeymoon, we went to Barbados for two weeks.  The first week we spent on the west coast near Holtown self catering and the second on the south east coast near St Lawrence Gap.

The weather was perfect for us as it was hot with a breeze.  We explored the island in the first week, visiting various places by bus and foot.  This included going on a catamaran cruise and Landrover off-road island tour.

The second week was absolute luxury in an all inclusive Sandals resort which was amazing and very relaxing after the hectic wedding build up!

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One of the last things we booked was a wedding videographer, Ben at HNE Media.  It was one of the best decisions we made as it allowed us to relive the day and listen to the speeches again.  Ben was brilliant and the final product was perfect!

As my top tip for other Brides Up North I would definitely recommend splashing out on a videographer.

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