Charlotte Balbier

the big debate. wearing white to a wedding

July 31st, 2015 | Julia Braime

Photography by jen huang photography

Jen Huang Photography

In the world of weddings it has long been the cardinal sin for anyone other than the bride to wear white (well, in most cases ivory) to the wedding.

But as ceremonies evolve and traditions aren’t always followed, we’ve seen some bridesmaids enter the once forbidden white wardrobe for their attire.

So as the rules seem to be relaxing, does this finally mean that female guests should no longer worry about donning the pure hue for fear of stealing the bride’s thunder, or should it still be no go beyond the main wedding party?

Image by Shane Shepherd

Shane Shepherd

rachel says: all white now

As a girl that has a monochrome wardrobe mainly consisting of black, white and grey, I’m someone who struggles a little when it comes to what to wear to a wedding. In most cases I drag myself out of my comfort zone and end up buying a more ‘I’m going to a wedding’ vibrant outfit that is unlikely to see the light of day for more than just that one occasion.

So as I tire of spending money on obvious occasion wear I’m stating that actually, it’s ok to wear white to a wedding. Did anyone just hear a gasp? That’s the usual reaction when someone suggests such an absurd action, but seriously, I’m not going to turn up in a white A-line princess dress with jewel encrusted bodice now am I?

Because really when you think about it, that’s how ridiculous it is. A guest rocking up to a wedding in a standard white dress is not going to A. outshine the bride, or B. cause confusion – if you need a clue, it’s the one with the bouquet and the veil that’s getting hitched.

Plus it’s now ok for bridesmaids to wear white and a growing number of brides are actually ditching the traditional hue themselves, in favour of pretty pastel or soft metallic coloured dresses. What next, a guest can’t wear blush pink to a wedding just in case the bride happens to have picked that colour for their dress too?

So though perhaps not a top option for all seasons of the year, white is certainly alright for wedding guests to wear in my book.

Photography by Tessa Barton Photography

Tessa Barton Photography

julia says: it’s a white out

Let’s get this straight – wearing a white, ivory or cream dress is NEVER acceptable at a wedding, unless you’re the bride.  Or the priest.

This is the bride’s big day, an occasion that she has likely put a lot of effort into planning, dreamt about, stressed about, romanticised about and had some sleepless nights about.  She’s also likely to have put a lot of thought into choosing a dress.  Her style and fabric choices were almost limitless but (on the whole) there was probably only ever going to be one colour option.

As a guest, however, you had a lot more colour alternatives available.

I don’t care if it’s your favourite dress, if it shows off your tan or if it’s not even remotely bridal.  You just don’t do it.  It’s only polite.  It’s the rules.  It’s GIRL CODE for godsakes!

So unless the bride actively demands that all her guests turn up wearing white (*waves to the Bridezillas in our midst*), just don’t do it. Or do it, and be prepared for some death stares from the top table, for someone to suggest to your date that you might be desperate to tie the knot, and for that very same bride (and most of her bridesmaids) to turn up wearing white when it’s your turn in the spotlight.

It’s definitely cooler – and more colourful – to back off the “it’s all about me” vibes on someone else’s big day.

Found on stylemepretty.com, Photography by Amy Jo Royall

image source, photography by Amy Jo Royall

what you said on facebook:

Jane: “I’d hate it if anyone wore white to my wedding.”

Rachel: “I’m not really that fussed. I’m happy for my guests to wear whatever they feel comfortable in.”

Vicky: “I’d never wear white to someone else’s wedding, so I’d expect the same from my friends.  I’m a bit worried now!”

Kate: “I’d hope that everyone would be able to spot the bride anyway!”

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love blossoms. a pretty garden wedding at headlam hall – faye & mike

July 30th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Garden Wedding at Headlam Hall (c) Tim Stewart Photography (38)

Today’s wedding is centred around the bride’s family’s gardening and floristry background meaning there are lots of pretty blooms and botanical touches peppered throughout.

To follow their church ceremony, Faye and Mike chose Headlam Hall as their reception venue which boasts its own fabulous gardens, further adding to the theme.

In memory of Faye’s dad Keith, who sadly passed away the year before the wedding, there were lots of touching tributes, including special speeches and favours.

All in all a personal and blooming beautiful day!

With images by Tim Stewart Photography.

A Garden Wedding at Headlam Hall (c) Tim Stewart Photography (3)

faye says: We got engaged on 24th December 2011. Mike told me that they were going out for the day because it was Christmas Eve but didn’t tell me where. Upon arrival at Whitworth Hall Hotel, in Spennymoor, Mike suggested that we feed the deer and then took me to a quiet place in the gardens where he got down on one knee and asked me for my hand in marriage.

We set the date for 9th August 2014. We chose the date because we are both teachers and we wanted a summer wedding so we could enjoy a longer honeymoon.

A Garden Wedding at Headlam Hall (c) Tim Stewart Photography (13)

Our chosen venue was Headlam Hall Hotel, near Gainford. We chose the hotel because of its picturesque gardens, wonderful staff and phenomenal facilities. It also came highly recommended at wedding fayres.

The theme was growing and based around my family’s gardening background; our garden centre and floristry business. Our wedding quote was ‘let love blossom’. With this in mind we chose a green colour scheme.

A Garden Wedding at Headlam Hall (c) Tim Stewart Photography (16)

I had my mum to give me away at the ceremony as my dad Keith, had sadly passed away the year before the wedding. The service was very personal and included a hymn dedicated to my dad.

A Garden Wedding at Headlam Hall (c) Tim Stewart Photography (42)

I wore a fine laced fishtail dress which was trimmed with pearls and diamantes. My full length veil was then held in place by a matching side headdress of pearls and diamantes. The designer of the dress was Essense of Australia and I bought from Dobinsons of Darlington. Mrs Dobinson was extremely helpful throughout and offered good advice. I chose the dress due to the detail on the one shoulder strap, which I loved.

Mike wore a charcoal grey suit with a silver waist coat hired from Affleck and Moffat, Darlington. He also wore a slim green handmade cravat by Dobinsons of Darlington, which was made using the same material as the bridesmaid dresses. The groomsmen wore identical outfits to Mike, again hired from Affleck and Moffat in Darlington.

A Garden Wedding at Headlam Hall (c) Tim Stewart Photography (31)

The pageboys had stylish green bow ties, grey shorts, grey braces, white shirts and cool white Converse high tops. Our youngest page boy was a baby and he wore a silk, white rompa suit with a green bow tie and white Converse high tops to match the elder two boys.

My bridesmaids had short silk, blue grass green dresses and carried green anthuriums, while our flower girl wore a full length ivory tulle dress with a green silk sash and a bow on the skirt. All dresses and accessories were purchased from Dobinsons of Darlington.

A Garden Wedding at Headlam Hall (c) Tim Stewart Photography (37)

We travelled to the venue in a coffee and cream Brenchley car, hired from GW Holmes & Son, based in Bishop Auckland.

A Garden Wedding at Headlam Hall (c) Tim Stewart Photography (48)

We chose Tim Stewart, from Northallerton, as our wedding photographer. We would highly recommend Tim due to the extremely personalised service that he offers. Prior to the wedding we had various meetings and discussed key photos we would like and whereabouts. To our benefit, Tim was also married at Headlam so knew the venue extremely well.

We also hired a videographer, Paul Robinson of PER Productions, who produced a wonderful wedding DVD capturing our precious moments.

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lucky day. a hindu wedding at harewood house – sarah & jiten

July 29th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Hindu Wedding at Harewood House (c) Mark Newton Photography (59)

Sarah and Jiten’s wedding day was a fusion of beliefs and influences, set in the glorious surrounds of Harewood House in Yorkshire. Their day of two halves was bright, beautiful and full of love. We like their style.

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Mark Newton.

A Hindu Wedding at Harewood House (c) Mark Newton Photography (7)

sarahsays: Jiten booked out the whole of my favourite restaurant only for me to think that it was just a “Quiet” Tuesday night in Leeds! We had a lovely meal and then after exchanging Christmas presents, Jiten presented the engagement ring as the final gift… I said yes!

A Hindu Wedding at Harewood House (c) Mark Newton Photography (9)

We were married on 19th July 2014. We chose this date as it was the most convenient time in our busy schedules as doctors and also matched in the Hindu calendar as being a “lucky day” to get married.

A Hindu Wedding at Harewood House (c) Mark Newton Photography (14)

We tied the knot at Harewood House, West Yorkshire. We chose to get married here as we needed a venue big enough to cater for approximately 400 guests, and the parkland is so beautiful. Its location, near to our home made the planning of our wedding easier.

We had a civil ceremony in the morning, followed by a Hindu wedding in the afternoon.

A Hindu Wedding at Harewood House (c) Mark Newton Photography (15)

We chose a shabby chic style for the civil ceremony and a full Hindu experience for the afternoon. The themes suited our upbringing, personality and beliefs

The Hindu wedding and civil ceremonies featured lots of red colours, which is in keeping with good wishes and good luck in Hindu beliefs.

A Hindu Wedding at Harewood House (c) Mark Newton Photography (16)

I chose a white dress in the morning civil service followed by a fabulous saree for the Hindu part. I carried a bouquet of wild flowers from Daisy Chain in Roundhay.

Jiten bought a Hindu formal male wedding dress from India. It is called a Kurtha and was custom made for him in India. For the civil ceremony he had tails with a cravat.

A Hindu Wedding at Harewood House (c) Mark Newton Photography (19)

The groomsmen wore Kurthas all bought from India, and suits for the Civil ceremony. My bridesmaids wore custom made dresses followed by Indian dresses bought in Birmingham.

A Hindu Wedding at Harewood House (c) Mark Newton Photography (24)

Our photographer was Mark Newton. He was a legend! Very polite, unobtrusive, well read on Hindu ceremonies and made us feel very, very, very relaxed. We can highly recommend him.

A Hindu Wedding at Harewood House (c) Mark Newton Photography (36)

A Hindu Wedding at Harewood House (c) Mark Newton Photography (32)

The favours were all hand painted sherry glasses that we made ourselves, and our Star Wars themed cake was made by a friend of ours from Birmingham.

A Hindu Wedding at Harewood House (c) Mark Newton Photography (39)

A Hindu Wedding at Harewood House (c) Mark Newton Photography (48)

We had a local DJ from Bradford (Soul Asia Roadshow) who kept everyone entertained and played dancing games with all the guests.

A Hindu Wedding at Harewood House (c) Mark Newton Photography (50)

We had a slideshow with embarrassing childhood photos of the two of us and the rest of our family. We also had some special surprise dances from our family members.

A Hindu Wedding at Harewood House (c) Mark Newton Photography (56)

Our favourite part of the day was dancing with all our family and friends at the end of the evening. Mark Newton’s photography really captured how much fun we all had during the day and we cannot thank him enough.

A Hindu Wedding at Harewood House (c) Mark Newton Photography (61)

For our honeymoon, we went to Lake Como for a week and then travelled around northern Italy for the second week. Lots of pizza, ice cream, prosecco, nice people and great scenery.

A Hindu Wedding at Harewood House (c) Mark Newton Photography (62)

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to get planning early and enjoy the whole process with your other half. Having an online Excel document to allow both of you to make changes and refer to regularly saved our bacon on many an occasion.

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wild at heart. a shabby chic wedding at chester zoo – sam & dan

July 28th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (42)

Yes you read right, for today’s wedding we’re heading to Chester Zoo to relive Sam and Dan’s gorgeous big day.

Despite how it might sound there were no ‘I dos’ in the lion den or drinks reception in the elephant enclosure, for Chester Zoo has a stunning manor house in its grounds, which is available for ceremonies and receptions.

Not only is this wedding incredibly beautiful, thanks to Sam’s love of all things shabby chic, but it also looks incredibly fun, with guests smiling, laughing and generally having a fab time in the somewhat unusual setting.

But enough from us, we’ll let you see the wild and wonderful day for yourselves.

With images by Yana Photography.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (1)

sam says: We got engaged in January 2012, while we were in Madrid. Dan had the proposal planned for a while and I didn’t have a clue. I knew we were going to Madrid but thought it was just for a bit of sightseeing. Dan was trying to pop the question down a cute little street but I was too busy looking around so instead he asked me once we got back to the apartment, after a lovely meal out.

We decided to set the wedding date for 16th May 2015 as we thought it would be a good time of year weather wise.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (4)

We got married at Chester Zoo, in the Oakfield Manor House. Dan come across the zoo as a wedding venue on the internet and as we didn’t want a traditional wedding, we thought it would be perfect for us. Which it was. We live quite close to Chester so it was an ok distance to travel for us and our guests.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (6)

The theme and colour scheme for the wedding was ‘pastel shabby chic’. I love everything and anything vintage so the styling was always going to be along these lines and pastel colours work really well for a shabby chic wedding.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (7)

My dress was from First Lady Bridal in Wrexham. It was the second dress I tried on and fell in love with it straight away, it made me feel amazing. I always knew what kind of dress I wanted and it was just perfect. The dress was full length ivory, fitted, fishtail style, with a huge train. It was full lace with pretty beading detail. My veil, with full lace trim, was the best bargain of wedding – an eBay bargain! My shoes were a light pink/salmon colour from Kurt Geiger.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (25)

Dan wore a navy fitted suit from Matalan, waistcoat from Next, shoes from Zara and a navy and white floral printed tie that really worked with the theme, which was from Primark. All the groomsmen were in matching suits, again from Matalan.

I only had one bridesmaid, my 13-year-old sister. She wore a light blue maxi dress, with multi-coloured floral print all over, from ASOS. She had pastel pink shoes and belt to match.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (30)

My mum arranged the transport for me as a gift. I had a Jaguar to travel in, which was hired from RB Wedding Cars, Wrexham.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (33)

Our photographer was Yana Photography, who we would definitely recommend. Yana was really friendly and helpful with family and friends, and the pictures look amazing!

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (51)

Flowers were provided by Vivid Floral Design in Wrexham. My bouquet was made up of beautiful pinks, blues, pastel coloured peonies, roses, gypsophila, gerbera among other flowers. I went for a meadow look. My bridesmaid’s bouquet was a mini version of mine, we both had lace and hessian wrapped around to carry on the theme.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (50)

All venue decorations were either made by myself, friends or family. I had a very DIY approach to the wedding which fitted the shabby chic theme really well. Decoration wise I had hessian table runners, and chair bows, ditsy print napkins, engraved wooden table numbers made by a friend, bunting made by myself and a friend, jam jars dotted with hessian and lace trim filled with flowers, tea cups and jugs filled with flowers and our name places were little flags with different floral/ ditsy print, which were made by a friend.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (9)

Our favours were Tunnocks Tea cakes. They worked well with theme and looked really cute.

We didn’t have a traditional wedding cake to cut, but instead a dessert table for guests to help themselves. My friend (Button Bakes) is amazing at baking so I asked if she would make a lovely selection of cakes: classic Victoria sponge, chocolate cake with raspberries and lemon cupcakes.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (11)

To provide the evening entertainment, we hired a DJ called Steve Lewis Entertainments, from Chester. My friends, family and I absolutely love dancing so I wanted someone who was going to play amazing music all night for us to not stop dancing. And that’s exactly what happened – lots of dance offs!

For extra entertainment we had a sweet stall for guests and a dress up corner, which was lots of fun.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (53)

As a special touch on the day my brother played the guitar for when I walked down the aisle and after the ceremony. Also, our wedding rings were specially made using my mum and dad’s wedding rings. My dad passed away before I was born, so this was something my mum suggested. A really lovely idea and they mean so much to us.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (61)

We would absolutely recommend our wedding venue to other couples. The staff were amazing on day, everything went perfect. The venue is absolutely stunning inside and the guests have the zoo to keep themselves busy. No bored guests at all.

It’s so hard to pick a favourite part of the day but I would have to say the ceremony itself was amazing, a lot more emotional than I thought. I also loved the first dance, it was perfect – I felt so happy and in love. We keep playing the song in the car all the time, as I want to relive that moment over and over again.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (63)

Following the wedding we had a short minimoon – a five day break in a log cabin in Keldy Forest, Yorkshire, which included a hot tub, prosecco and lots of food. We just wanted to completely chill out. We took our dog with us too, our little family getaway. Perfection.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (56)

My top tips to other Brides Up North would be to look around for bargains and do as much DIY as possible, it adds an extra touch and nobody else will have anything like it. But the main thing is, do what you both want. It’s your day so make it perfect for the both of you! It will be the best day ever so take it all in, as it will be over before you know it. I was crying at the end of our night because I didn’t want the night to end and our guests to leave.

A Shabby Chic Wedding at Chester Zoo (c) Yana Photography (67)

Our day was made perfect thanks to the amazing help we had from family and friends. All my girls chipped in and paid for us to stay in the Double Tree Hilton Chester for the wedding night and they had the room decorated for when we arrived. My two best friends made a video of how Dan and I got together, which we loved – it was so funny. My mum, sister, nan and family members did a surprise routine to Beyoncé for me. They’d been meeting up for months in secret and doing rehearsals – this was the best wedding gift ever! Finally, I had my grandad and step dad give me away.

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rustic luxe: a styled country wedding shoot at the black swan, helmsley

July 27th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (26)

If there’s one thing that makes me go weak at the knees, other than gorgeous weddings, it’s a cute dog.

Having grown up with canine companions a firm part of the family, there aren’t many mutts that don’t evoke a genuine ‘ahh’ from me. So when our fabulous Sponsor, The Black Swan hotel, sent over the results of a recent styled shoot at the venue, which featured a fine Irish Red Setter, it was a ‘yes’ from me.

The ‘groom’ isn’t bad either, is he?!

Located in the idyllic North Yorkshire village of Helmsley, the black swan is the perfect venue for a romantic country-inspired wedding (did you catch the beautiful celebration we shared on the wedding blog this morning?). With this in mind the hotel welcomed photographer Annemarie King and a talented bunch northern wedding suppliers, to use the venue as a stunning backdrop for a rustic luxe styled shoot, complete with dapper tweed, natural blooms and detailed dresses.

The setting of the hotel brings all elements to life for an incredibly well-executed shoot that will make you go ‘ooh’ and well as ‘ahh’ (and not just over that dog). So let’s handover to The Black Swan for those all important details…

With images by Annemarie King.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (14)

the black swan says: The well-loved country charm, welcoming atmosphere and quaint English gardens, overlooking the pretty churchyard next door, made The Black Swan the perfect venue for Annemarie King and her team to co-create a rustic-luxe themed photographic campaign.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (10)

Model James with his red-haired beauties, ‘bride’ Zara and Connor, the Irish Red Setter, are on location at the hotel and also at Helmsley Walled Gardens, which brings the theme to life with a touch of nostalgia. The evocative images are intimate, dream-like, and sometimes fun and light-hearted.

The timeless, informal elegance of the photography mirrors the essence of this historic hotel venue – the smartly-tailored handsome groom James, in his Yorkshire tweeds and smartly polished brogues, along with his bride’s sweet, ethereal beauty and swan-like elegance make for a beautiful pairing, and Connor certainly adds a special appeal to the ‘family shots’.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (11)

The various settings demonstrate the hotel’s oak beamed Tudor Lounge, the oldest part of the venue with its original inglenook, and the cosy stone-walled Crosland Lounge, as well as the pretty English walled gardens, in which The Black Swan’s new Oak Gazebo is located, which is now available for outdoor summer wedding ceremonies and celebrations. Helmsley Walled Gardens also plays a part, giving a super botanical backdrop to the shots.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (19)

A creative team led by York photographer Annemarie King, is responsible for the shoot with all those who offered their talents and goods on the day doing a fantastic job. Two of Annemarie’s passions are showcased within the shoot as she’s an award-winning photographer specialising in both country weddings and canine photography.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (8)

The shoot’s retro-inspired gowns, which include the Alan Hannah’s Tara long lace gown, White Rose’s 50s style R920 gown, Angel B’s peppermint bridesmaid dress Am 242, and the flamboyant Cymbeline Adele design, were kindly loaned by The Bridal Lounge in Northallerton, along with selected accessories.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (7)

Carters Country Wear provided the tweed tailored outfit sported by groom, James. Carters specialise in suits and country wear tailored with cloth from Saville Row and Yorkshire tweed mills, with a particular emphasis on country sportswear. They enjoy an international clientele who value their quality and highly personalised service.

Much of the jewellery was generously loaned by Libby Butler Jewellery, located in Helmsley.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (3)

The striking makeup and hairstyling of our bride Zara, is by award-winning hair and make-up artist Kate Pymm, who based in the North East and works throughout the UK on a wide portfolio of projects, including bridal hair and makeup.

The sweet bouquets and simple floral arrangements with home-grown ‘grandma’s cottage garden blooms’ inspired by the rural-luxe theme, were all created by Liz Wood at Busy Liz’s Floral Design, of Kirbymoorside.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (5)

To complete the stellar line-up, Celebrate Country Cake Design, located in Helmsley’s Walled Gardens, supplied the cake, Fabulously Finished, of Ampleforth, supplied the props and the chair covers were loaned by Chair Covers of Yorkshire, located in Easingwold.

For more information about weddings at The Black Swan, contact 01439 770466 and ask to speak to their Wedding Co-ordinator. Alternatively, visit their website

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