May 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Bride Emily experienced a nightmare situation when the boutique she had found her gown in went out of business. Determined to still secure her dream dress, Emily went straight to the designer whose team went above and beyond to make sure she got her wish – and we’re sure you will all agree she looked absolutely stunning!
Groom Rory then chose to reflect his family roots by donning traditional Scottish Highland dress for the occasion and the pretty maids completed the attractive line-up in their elegant lavender dresses.
An abundance of pretty blooms in bouquets, button holes and décor enhanced the already romantic setting of Iscoyd Park for one very dreamy day indeed.
With images by Jo Bradbury Photography.
emily says: Rory had planned a romantic trip to Ireland where he intended to propose at Giant’s Causeway. Unfortunately heavy snow over two consecutive weekends scuppered his plans. I was wondering why he was so insistent that we travel to Ireland in a blizzard. Having asked my parents’ permission I think he was becoming worried about the cat being let out of the bag so, during a snowy weekend in January, whilst I was busy defrosting the freezer, he called me into our living room where I found him down on one knee. I was completely shocked, it was so unexpected but absolutely perfect as it was.
We had originally planned to marry on the 2nd August, which would have been five years to the day that we had met, but when we eventually found our perfect venue the only date they had available was 24th May 2014. So although it was a little earlier than we had planned it was absolutely worth it to secure the venue.
We got married at Iscoyd Park in Shropshire. Apart from being the most beautiful Georgian house in a gorgeous setting, from the very start the staff were overwhelmingly wonderful and relaxed and remained so right through to the big day itself – absolutely nothing appeared to be too much trouble. I had become a bit of a bridezilla and was struggling to find a venue that ticked all our boxes. Iscoyd Park ticked the boxes and more, I really couldn’t recommend it highly enough.
We didn’t have a fixed theme as such we just wanted an elegant and happy day with lots of personal touches and I like to think we achieved that. In terms of colour, we tried to match one of the colours to Rory’s family tartan, which was a sort of dusty lavender.
After a fairly exhaustive search, I settled on a dress by Sassi Holford. Unfortunately the shop where I had ordered the dress from went out of business just before the wedding leaving me without a dress. Thankfully Sassi Holford were incredible and after a trip from Derbyshire to Taunton to be re-measured they made another dress from scratch. I really can’t thank the team at Sassi Holford enough for pulling out all the stops to make the dress for me at breakneck speed to ensure I had the dress of my dreams.
Rory’s family is Scottish so he opted to follow tradition and wear a kilt, which was hired from Greenwoods. The best man also wore a kilt hired from Greenwoods. Rory also had sgian-dubhs, worn as part of traditional Scottish Highland dress, made and personalised to go with the kilts.
Sourcing bridesmaid dresses in the right colour proved more challenging than I had originally thought but, thanks to family in the USA, we were able to obtain them from Donna Morgan via Nordstrom.
We booked Iscoyd Park for the whole weekend so my bridesmaids and I stayed in a beautiful cottage in the grounds the night before for a girly spa evening and Rory drove himself to Iscoyd the morning of the wedding.
In our view, the photography was probably one of the most important elements, it is really the only thing you are left with other than memories after the day itself and I really wanted to be able to look back and see all the little details and moments from our wedding. Our photographer was Jo Bradbury. She had photographed my mum’s wedding to my step father at which I had been a bridesmaid, so I knew from direct experience that the photographs would be beautiful. Rory and I aren’t always the most serious of people, and models we certainly are not, so I really wanted someone who would be able guide us. I could not recommend Jo highly enough. She was there from getting ready, where she was incredibly non-intrusive during the nervous moments but was able to capture some really lovely shots. She then stayed almost right until the end to get photos of some dodgy dancing. Very importantly she managed to make one of the rainiest days of the year (we even had to throw the confetti indoors) look like a classic late spring day.
I carried a bouquet of white peonies, roses, freesia with a lamb’s ear greenry. All the bouquets and buttonholes were provided by Selina Godsal, the mother-in-law of Phil who owns Iscoyd Park. She is the on-site florist which is so handy for tying in meetings with venue visits.
I wanted predominantly white flowers so we used peonies, roses, hydrangeas, gypsophila with a few coloured roses in the hanging vases behind the top table. We decided early on to do some of the flowers ourselves so my mum sourced an enormous van-load of flowers from her local flower stall in Manchester as well as the best part of a small lavender bush from friends. We arranged them in hundreds of vases sourced from Ikea. Selina then did some big displays for us in the ceremony room and a large ball display hanging from the centre of the marquee.
I wanted to do something a little different for the favours and as I had decided most of the flowers and table settings were to be white I added a little colour by planting succulents into small glasses which would double as a wedding favour and a name place setting. It’s quite nice really as I am still getting updates from our guests nearly a year on as to how their plant has grown.
I had seen a cake on Pinterest which I fell in love with and which fitted well into our dusty lavender theme. We had this recreated by The Cheshire Cat Cake Company. We couldn’t decide what flavour to have so went for different flavours in each tier. It was absolutely beautiful and tasted great too!
I was given free rein on the décor for the wedding but the food was definitely my husband’s domain. Iscoyd works closely with the Fine Dining Company - the food was incredible and not only tasted great but looked lovely too.
For entertainment, we had the Vittorio String Quartet play as our guests arrived and as I walked down the aisle through to the drinks reception. I’m not sure it was necessarily a wise decision as I managed to cry almost every time I heard them play in the run up to the wedding. Thankfully, I successfully held it together on the big day.
For the evening Iscoyd suggested a DJ for us which was really useful as we are not from the area so any recommendations were gratefully received. We spoke to Robert Maxfield who asked our likes and dislikes music wise and he really created a party atmosphere for our evening of dancing.
I took a lot of inspiration from Pinterest for the little details. We printed a little poem for the ladies bathroom complete with a basket of toiletries to try and refresh the guests before continuing the party. Another of my favourite details were the little packs of tissues on the seats for during the ceremony; ‘for happy tears’. I really wanted to personalise a lot of the wedding so we had various things made, from a wooden card box painted with our names and wedding date, to the arrows directing the guests to the venue.
Other suppliers we used that I would recommend include Sash and Co who supplied the belt to go with my wedding dress. This too was originally ordered from the bridal shop that went out of business so they also pulled out all the stops to remake the belt in time. Gemma Cosgrove was my make-up artist, who was another calming influence on the morning of the wedding, not forgetting my friend Emma who not only managed to do my hair but also four bridesmaids, two flower girls and a few aunts all in time for the ceremony! Jean Jackson Couture also deserves a mention for making my mum look amazing!
I actually don’t think I can ever recommend Iscoyd Park highly enough. Not only is it incredibly beautiful but the people there are great too, Jen the wedding planner and Phil the owner were always on hand for any questions I had and Jen particularly really put my mind at ease. They have the perfect set up from the onsite beauticians and florist to the luxurious accommodation and venue. They urge you to make Iscoyd your home for the duration of your stay which I have to say, during what can be such a stressful time, was a really welcome comfort.
The moment that stands out in my mind from the wedding day is hearing the string quartet start to play as I began to walk down the aisle and catching the eye of my soon to be husband – a moment which Jo managed to capture perfectly. My mum’s speech was also incredibly touching, not sure there was a dry eye in the house, including a couple of Rory’s friends from the Army. Other than that I genuinely loved everything from getting ready with all the girls to the amazing best man speech to endless dancing and finally being able to call Rory my husband.
We went on a mini moon to a lovely boutique hotel in Norfolk booked through Mr and Mrs Smith. Later in the year we then went to stay in Tuscany in the most magnificent villa called Villa Fontelunga. Neither of us had ever been to Italy before and it is without doubt one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Phillip and Paulo the owners of Fontelunga were so welcoming and although we were offsite in our own villa they were always at the end of the phone to make dinner reservations for us or recommend places to visit. They hold weekly dinners for all the guests where everyone can get together to eat, drink and have lots of laughs overlooking the gorgeous rolling hills of Tuscany! We absolutely cannot wait to plan our return trip!
My top tip for other Brides Up North to help with the planning would be – Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest (you can follow Brides Up North’s boards on Pinterest here). It became my wedding planning bible, from colour schemes to flowers, to personalised details, I found it a really useful tool to create a mood board for the wedding.
May 26th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
If there’s one event where female celebrities raise the style stakes it’s the met gala. Primarily the annual event is held to raise funds for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York, though the glitzy bash also gives top celebs and designers the opportunity to team-up and create some show-stopping red carpet looks.
Each year’s gala celebrates the theme of that year’s Costume Institute exhibition making the dress code for 2015 ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’. However, to us the theme may as well of been ‘bare all’ as that’s what many of the female A-listers decided to do.
Make no mistake, sheer gowns were big news at the event with bootylicious ladies Beyonce, Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez entering into some kind of flesh-off. While were very impressed with the bravery of all involved, for us it was Queen Bey who ran the red carpet.
And so today we’re putting the Love on Top singer in our celebrity spy spotlight to see how fierce and fashionable brides-to-be can take inspiration from Beyonce’s glittering getup, slick hair and pretty makeup.
Girls, you’re going to be crazy in love for this one!
What there was of Beyonce’s dress was custom made by Givenchy and left very little to the imagination. In fact her modesty was only covered with strategically placed sparkling gems – similar to the look she adopted for her Dangerously in Love album cover, way back in 2003. The girl’s still got it though and even if a few people lost their breath when she stepped out on the red carpet, there’s no denying she worked the bold look incredibly well.
We realise that this exact look would be wholly inappropriate for a traditional church wedding, or many other styles of ceremonies for that matter, but there are certain elements of Beyonce’s style that ladies can steal to add some attitude to their attire.
The majority of the sheer wedding gowns that we’ve seen on the bridal catwalks thankfully offer more coverage than Miss Knowles’ gown – with full length nude underlays and carefully embroidered panels hinting at nudity rather than actually revealing it. There are of course more daring dresses with embellishment or delicate 3D flowers covering just the area between the bust and the bum.
More conservative creations give brides the option of a design with just one or two sheer elements, such as the sleeves, back or side panels of the dress, so they can choose which areas of their body they feel most confident flaunting (as well as what’s deemed appropriate). Alternatively for brides that want to remain under wraps there’s the option of a gown with a sheer lace overlay or jacket that will give a translucent look but without the need to flash any flesh that you’d rather your parents, in-laws and the vicar didn’t see.
And as if she needed to reveal anymore, Beyonce’s dress did also feature sexy cut out back detail, which is an easy feature for brides to mirror.
Ponytails are growing in popularity, particularly with brides looking for a simple up do that will last the day, and the test of time. That said, the majority are keeping their hair ties a little lower than Beyonce who chose to pile her hair high, presumably not to distract from the dress.
Brides in favour of the high ponytail can choose whether to keep the look sleek and straight, undone and messy or classy and curly, like Miss Knowles. Meanwhile if you like the idea of high up hair but want something a little more exciting for your big day, further options include the top knot, ballerina bun, sophisticated chignon or an intricate twisted do.
In terms of accessories most ladies tend to keep the look quite simple opting for a cute girly bow or blousy floral corsage hair slide. Locks scraped away from the face also gives brides the opportunity to rock some elaborate earrings such as sparkling chandelier styles.
Once again, not to detract from the gown, Beyonce kept her makeup fairly simple opting for classic rosy cheeks and lips.
Her eyes were the main focal point which featured a mint green hue on the lids to pick out the stunning colours of the gems sprinkled across the dress. To open up the eyes just a flick of liner was used on the top eye line, adding a sexy edge, while the bottom was left bare – much like the rest of Bey’s body.
Lashings of mascara and perfectly sculptured brows completed the look which is certainly one brides could adopt for their moment in the limelight.
May 26th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Today’s bride Emma decided to keep her vision chic and simple by opting for an elegant vintage wedding theme with pretty pastel touches, and the results certainly don’t disappoint. Everything ties in perfectly from Emma’s lace detailed princess dress to her dreamy blush bouquet and the wonderfully quaint venue.
It’s not just about the aesthetics though – the bar shots in the evening suggest an excellent time was had by all at the reception too with the newlyweds celebrating becoming Mr and Mrs with a shot (or two, or three)!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Lee Brown Photography.
emma says: We got engaged in December 2011. James picked me up from work but pretended to split up with me (not the most romantic proposal) by saying ‘I don’t want you to be my girlfriend anymore’ a few times as I was in shock, and then followed this up with ‘I want you to be my wife’ and held out my ring.
Our wedding date was 30th August 2014 as even though we were engaged for a good few years we didn’t decide to set a date until April 2014 and wanted to do it as quick as possible and still in the summer.
We got married at Hyde Bank Farm in Romiley, Stockport. I’d had my eye on this venue for a while so it was great to finally secure the venue for our big day.
The chosen theme was vintage with pretty pastel colours.
I chose a lace princess dress with short sleeves and see-through lace that covered the chest area. This was the dress that first stood out to me as I knew what type I wanted and the others I tried on were just not right. I bought it from a shop in Bolton called Because I love You.
To transport us on the day we hired a Mercedes from work as I work for Nationwide Vehicle Contracts, which is a car leasing company.
Our photographer was Lee Brown who I would most definitely recommend. Our photos are perfect, he did a fabulous job.
To match with the chosen colour scheme I carried a pastel bouquet designed by Carla at The Classy Room Company. I used very similar flowers to my bouquet for the whole day, including for the bridesmaids’ bouquets and the tables decorations.
I also had flowers in vintage style birdcages for my centre pieces and our favours were Ferrero Rochers, which we placed in vintage paper birdcages with a ribbon on. As well as providing the flowers, Carla from The Classy Room Company dressed our reception room for us too.
For our wedding cake my Grandma bought a plain triple cake from Marks & Spencer and decorated it herself, exactly how I wanted it. It was a lovely personal touch. We continued the sweet treats with a candy cart in the evening and also hired a DJ to keep our guest entertained. The DJ even put on a few games for us.
I would most definitely recommend our wedding venue to other couples. Although small it’s a really lovely setting and we enjoyed our wedding day from beginning to end.
For our honeymoon we went to Meloneras in Gran Canaria. We chose Gran Canaria as we wanted somewhere warm still but not too much of a long flight as we only wanted to go away for a week as our children were staying with their Nana and Granddad.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to enjoy your day and make the most of it as it goes too fast. Don’t worry over the little things and what might go wrong, it will be what it will be and nobody notices the minor things that don’t go to plan anyway.
May 21st, 2015 | Rachel Parry
There’s something extremely enchanting about saying ‘I do’ in a castle setting as today’s couple demonstrate.
Every inch the fairy-tale bride, Caroline wore a stunning Maggie Sottero organza ball gown for the big day and carried a romantic bouquet of pink and ivory roses, peonies and ranunculas.
Add to this some incredible floral displays, stunning grounds and a fine feathered ring bearer and you’ve got one very grand affair indeed.
With images by Martin Hambleton.
caroline says: We got engaged back in June 2011 whilst on holiday in Turkey, during a visit to the harbour in Fethiye.
Upon returning we set the date for Sunday, 8th June 2014 at Peckforton Castle, Tarporley, Cheshire. I spotted Peckforton online whilst looking for potential venues and I was instantly drawn. It just looked so beautiful. After arranging a visit that was it, we loved everything about it and we knew our guests would too.
We didn’t have a theme as such, just a bit of everything we like and loved. Our colour scheme was silver, grey, cream and ivory.
My mum chose my dress for me at Brides Gallery near Chorley. The ladies their Alison and Liz were amazing and so helpful. The dress I wore was a Maggie Sottero organza ball gown called Hanaleigh. It was a sweetheart fitted dress, with a ruched bodice, loads layers and hand-sewn flower detail. It was huge and so fairy-tale like. Far from what I originally thought I would go for, seeing as I was looking at a non-detailed, no frills, slim-fitted dress. But I loved it and I knew it was the one.
My bridesmaids wore silver/grey A-line/sweetheart floor-length chiffon dresses with pleated and beaded/sequin detail. I bought these by recommendation from JJ’s House online.
We used Hipswing for the lighting and entertainment. They also supplied our chair covers and sashes as well as the sparkle lit dancefloor. We would highly recommend them. Our DJ Dan was great, he played all our favourite songs and the dance floor was never empty. Tansy and the team were so helpful with helping organise our day and nothing was too much trouble.
We also used Eventures wedding venue decorators. The team did an amazing job for the ceremony and the wedding breakfast. Everything looked incredible and the flowers and bouquets were stunning too. I had a hand-tied bouquet of white and ivory roses, pink avalanche roses, peonies and ranunculas, finished with lace and diamante pin detail. We cannot thank them enough.
Our photographer was Martin Hambleton. We met Martin at a wedding fayre, he was so easy to talk to and his work was just incredible and exactly what we were looking for. Knowing I would be nervous on the day, Martin made me feel at ease and half the time I didn’t even know I was being photographed. Martin captured every aspect of the day. Our photographs are beautiful and we cannot thank him enough either!
Chris designed all of our stationary; the invites, order of the day, the seating plan, place names, table numbers and also the favour boxes. We both then did the making and the embellishments. It took a long time but was well worth it.
For some extra décor I bought tall lanterns for the entrance to the Great Hall and vintage birdcages which I decorated with flowers, pearls and diamantes bought from Country Baskets. I also did my own sweets and treats table.
As a special touch we had Mango the owl deliver our rings during the ceremony and a falconry show at the drinks reception, which was enjoyed by all.
My auntie had our cake made for us as a wedding gift by family friends who have done this for many years. They did an amazing job. We had a three tiered cake; one lemon sponge, one Victoria and the other was fruit. It had ivory icing with vintage detailing in lace, pearl flowers and fallen petals.
For the transport on the day we hired two Imperial Landaulette cars from Horgans. I have to say these are by far the best supplier in wedding cars you’ll find. The cars were immaculate and the drivers were lovely. They arrived in plenty of time and even got us to the venue, some 40 miles away 20 minutes early, avoiding all the traffic, road works and chaos that some our guests got stuck in. Definitely number one for reliability. Thankfully all ended well and everyone made it in time.
I couldn’t pick a favourite part of the day as I loved everything about it. Following our special day we jetted off on honeymoon to Puerto Vallarta in Mexico.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to try and relax during the lead up to the wedding – don’t stress and enjoy every moment. It’s your day after all. Everything will be perfect.
May 20th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Is there anywhere more romantic to pop the question than Paris? Ok, so I’m a little biased, as that’s where my other half got down on one knee, but another proposal in the French city of love is how today’s story begins.
After a dream engagement Emma and John bagged their dream venue Thornton Manor, for their big day and got the preparations underway.
They agreed they wanted the wedding to have a classic feel to suit the venue and we think you’ll agree that everything from Emma’s lace dress, to the maids’ pastel blue gowns and simple blooms say elegance.
Looking at the wedding snaps it’s easy to see why Emma and John had their hearts set on this venue – the reception room is nothing short of incredible!
With images by Matt Parry Photography.
emma says: We got engaged outside Montmartre cathedral in Paris at midnight on the 28th December 2012. John had planned to propose on New Year’s Eve but had the urge to do it on the first day we got to Paris. We had dinner in our favourite restaurant in Montmartre then John took me up the hill to ‘see the laser show on the Eiffel tower at midnight’.
We wanted a summer wedding, we knew you couldn’t guarantee good weather in England but thought we’d have the best chance in the summer months. The 28th August 2014 was available at our dream venue so we booked it. We married one month after my 26th birthday and the weather was stunning.
We got married at Thornton Manor on the Wirral. We had looked at the venue on the internet but dismissed it as we felt we couldn’t afford it. On a Sunday we were going to a wedding fair but it was awful so we googled if there were any other fairs in the area and there was one at Thornton Manor. When we got there we were welcomed by the owner, Phillip, and we were blown away and instantly knew we would do everything we could to get married there.
We wanted an authentic, classic feel for the wedding and knew we wanted elegance to match the house. We had top hats and 1950’s style bridesmaid dresses.
The main colour was pastel blue. It is my favourite colour and we felt it was perfect for a summer wedding. Our bridesmaids, groomsmen and page boy wore pastel blue. The stationery was ivory and pastel blue.
I chose an ivory David Tutera for Mon Cheri dress. It was a sleeveless soft lace mermaid gown with lace straps with a scoop neckline. The dress had embroidered Swarovski crystals with a spun gold waist.
John wore a charcoal morning suit and grey top hat. His outfit and the groomsmen’s outfits were from Slaters in Liverpool.
The bridesmaids wore a 1950’s pastel blue style dress from Dorothy Rose Bridal in Ellesmere Port. Everybody was blown away by the dresses and the fit was beautiful.
For our wedding transport we had a vintage Bentley in cream and black. It was hired from a company local to the venue.
Matt Parry was our photographer, without a doubt we would recommend him to anybody. Matt made us so comfortable before the day with meetings via Skype to talk about ‘essential’ photos and talk to us about his style etc. On the day John met Matt at the venue a little earlier than expected, Matt was having a look at the venue to get some ideas for his shots. Matt then came and spent a lot of time with me and the girls getting ready before going back to the venue to get those ‘nervy’ shots of John.
Throughout the day Matt wasn’t in anybody’s way, John said he didn’t notice him at all during the speeches but when you see the photographs you wonder how! He was a great friend on the day and we were absolutely overwhelmed when we got our beautiful presentation box through the post with all our gorgeous shots.
My bouquet was made up of ivory roses with Chinese grass loops, arranged by Amore Flowers in Widnes. The bridesmaids had ivory and pastel blue roses.
Amore also did our reception flowers, we would highly recommend them. We gave Joe the florist free reign to do as he pleased within our theme and he did a beautiful job!
We gave out jams and chutneys as favours, which were made by a company called Posh Pickles based in Knutsford. With customized labels and ribbons to match our theme, Rob and Steph did a great job and their Jams and Chutneys are amazing!
We had a four tier lace cake with roses and rose petals in the theme of pastel blue and ivory – the layers were lemon and carrot cake. A friend of mine, Coleen, did the cake – she was great!
The venue had a caterer list that we had to choosefrom to provide our wedding breakfast – we chose Anne Wilson Corden Bleu. We had a pate starter, pork trio main and a trio of deserts – it was so nice!
For entertainment we had a DJ in the evening and gave him an extensive playlist – basically every song for the evening! In our RSVP’s we asked our guests to give us a song that would get them on the dance floor.
We also booked a string quartet to play before/after the ceremony and during canapés after the ceremony. They played as I walked down the aisle and also the music John and I walked out of the room to – they were absolutely brilliant and so many people commented on them.
We would definitely recommend our wedding venue to others purely because it’s magical. There is something about the music room that leaves you feeling calm and humble. The Manor House ball room is breath taking and given rain or shine any bride and groom will have the best time of their lives celebrating there.
One of our favourite parts of the day was when our photographer Matt took us off into an old green house to take some unusual shots of us. We loved this part of the day as we were able to spend time together and it was really fun trying not to smile or laugh at the camera. The pictures turned out to be amazing, just what we expected from Matt.
For our honeymoon we decided to go stay on the Palm in Dubai, the hotel was on the beach which was total paradise. We loved our stay and will definitely be returning in the future.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to remember the reasons why you are getting married. I think some brides/grooms can get carried away with making sure absolutely everything is perfect but just remember that you can’t please everyone no matter how much you will try. Remember your wedding day is your day and at the end of it all you’ll always have your best friend beside you so there’s nothing to worry about.
Also try not to spill red wine on your dress!
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