Charlotte Balbier

the big debate: your hen party. weekend long extravaganza or one night wonder?

March 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Found on, photography Paige Winn Photos

image source, photography by Paige Winn Photos

This morning, our big debate is one for the hens.  We’re wondering whether your hen party will be a stretched out celebration or a one day affair?  Grab a coffee (or hey, if you’re on Rachel’s side, why not make it a cocktail?), it’s time to open the floor…

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rachel says: make it a weekend

I know, I know – it’s too much time away from home, it will be expensive, people will struggle to get time off work, but it will also be one heck of a good time! In my eyes if you can stretch a birthday across a few days why can’t the same be done with a hen do? After all, you only live once!

If the trip is planned in advance and well thought out so your gals have plenty of forewarning about what’s coming they will have time to save and make necessary arrangements work and family wise meaning weekend-long celebrations aren’t out of reach for all.

Indulging in a full hen weekend away not only gives you quality time with the leading ladies in your life, but it also gives you lots of time to really explore your chosen location and to let down your hair after all that stressful wedding planning – girl you earned it!

Agreed a weekend hen do is undoubtedly going to cost more than a one-night knees-up but hens can choose to make it a budget or blowout affair. For example, great value hen party packages are available with accommodation, activities, and in some cases, food and drink, all in. There are also some fab cheap breaks abroad which can work out cheaper than remaining in the UK and will give you and your girlies the opportunity to catch a tan before the big day. Meanwhile for those sticking to home turf there are some gorgeous rural retreats and city centre apartments available for groups to hire and take their own food and drink along to save money. If you take up the rural option you can also make your activities cheap too – think chilled out walks (to the pub), sunbathing (if the weather is kind), DIY pamper sessions and afternoon tea.

If push to comes shove and some girls are governed by work, family or budget restrictions it might be that they can just join you for part of the celebrations (if you aren’t travelling too far from home that is). Having different people arriving at different times can also help freshen up the group and mix people together more gradually.

When all said and done, just like your wedding should be what you want, so should your hen do and if that means a weekend away your gals need to get packing!

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julia says: one night only

I have three little words for you: Three. Day. Hangover.

That’s what my last weekend long hen do did to me (and all the other ones before that). Girls, in the days of Deliciously Ella and Reformer Pilates, it’s just not the done thing to be sweating vodka on a Tuesday morning.

Ok, I get it. Your hen weekend is your last big hurrah with your girls (and if he’ll believe that, he’ll believe anything), an excuse for a bit of R&R (or G&T) in a fabulously glam city location or a chance to get away from wedding planning for three glorious lost days. But, I’m here to argue the side for less is more – a side I’m not usually sitting on – and like everything I do, I’ll sure as hell give it my best shot.

These days, I’m a bit of a convert to the mind-set that if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing really, really well. Why even try to keep the excitement going over a three day session? Why not concentrate all your spa bliss, glam-up enthusiasm, cocktail quaffing stamina and dance floor energy into one perfect 24 hours that you’ll remember forever as a brilliant burst of fabulousness.

No awkward, used all the conversation up yesterday, pauses. No splitting of the group. No hungover activity drop outs. No latecomers turning up on day two and wondering why the rest of you are all feeling a little flat.

Just a perfect day of all your best girls (or guys) together, doing something fun, and doing it with fully committed gusto.

It’ll be cooler, cheaper (something your hens will all be secretly pleased about) – and you’ll have saved yourself 24 hours of “down time” to recover before diving headlong back into the wedding planning, er, work, on Monday morning.

Think about it. And spend the saved night’s accommodation on a knock out, one night only ensemble.

That’s chicomics for you.

Have fun!

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what you said on facebook:

Kerri: “Blow out in Amsterdam with my closest friends and then going to have a meal in the UK so that everyone can come.”

Sophie: “I think the key is to keep it flexible so as many people as possible can join in as much or as little as their budget and family commitments will allow.”

Allison: “I’m having a meal & cocktails on the Saturday night then spa day on the Sunday. Staying at home though, just less expense for everyone & everyone has a choice if they want to come to meal or spa or both.”

Rachel: “Blow out in Barcelona, day out in York and work friend drinks… so I’d say I’m blowing out!”

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a wedding alphabet. m is for mum

March 26th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Found on, photography by by Pasha Belman Photography

image via, photography by by Pasha Belman Photography

For most girls that get engaged there is often one person even more excited the news than they are – their mum. Enter the mother of the bride

While you might think you have been dreaming about the big day forever, your mum has had the occasion firmly placed in her future diary since you were a little girl – and now it’s actually happening!

But after the whoops and cheers have died down some mothers of the bride, and sometimes of the groom, can be known to get a little carried away and overbearing when it comes to planning the ‘perfect day’.

On top of the stress organising a wedding can bring, the last thing you want is a family feud so it’s important to know how to handle over-enthusiastic mums that take off down this route. Brides Up North, I’m here to help.

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be clear from the start

Though I’m yet to have a ring on my finger I have to say me and my mum talk about my fictional wedding all the time, but then I constantly change my mind on what I think I’ll have (I blame the day job).

Whether your mum is in the know or not, once you and your partner have made some key decisions about the type of wedding you want, arrange to meet up or speak to your mum over the phone about your plans to gage her thoughts/approval. Be sure to give reasons on your decisions and emphasise that you came to these conclusions with your groom so that she can tell you’ve really thought about these elements and that it’s what you both want as a couple.

Whether she fully agrees or not she will appreciate you keeping her informed on the decisions and for seeking her opinion. Be sure to keep the updates coming throughout the planning process to ensure she doesn’t feel out of touch or surplus to your requirements.

meddling mums

If you and your mum have different ideas about what will make the perfect day your mum could come to meddle in your plans in an attempt to get her own way.

Try to figure out early on what elements of the wedding you think will be particularly important to your mum to avoid her trying to change your plans later down the line. This might be who should be included on the guest list, the location in which you should tie the knot or what type of food you should be serving up.

Take on board her thoughts and if you can compromise in these areas to avoid your mum looking like she’s sucking on a lemon at the top table come your big day.

Found on, photography by Lorraine Daley Wedding Photography

image via, photography by Lorraine Daley Wedding Photography

play on her strengths

Having a mum that wants to get involved in the wedding can work to your advantage, especially if they have a great skill set.

Think of your mum’s talents and try to give her jobs that will let her shine. So if she gives Mary Berry a run for her money in the kitchen ask her to make your wedding cake, if she knows of more flowers than Alan Titchmarsh take her along to the florists or if she’s more of a Kirstie Allsopp give her some crafty tasks to take ownership of, like making decorations or stationery.

Not only will she enjoy the challenge but she will also feel touched that you’ve given her a special role in the proceedings.

Found on, photography by Rob Greer Photography

image via, photography by Rob Greer Photography

set mum-sized boundaries

While you have taken the time to listen to the areas that are important to your mum and to include her, don’t be afraid to let her know the areas that are important to you and the groom, elements that you are not prepared to change your mind on.

Of course approach the conversation with care but gently let her know where you draw the line in negotiating.

Found on, photography by Katelyn James Photography

image via, photography by Katelyn James Photography

mums that overstep the mark

Having set the boundaries if your mum chooses to hop, skip and triple jump over them, pull her up on it to avoid heartbreak and fallouts.

Speak to her and try to figure out why she’s feeling the need to try to overrule your wishes. It could be that your parents are paying for the majority of the wedding and therefore she feels she has the right to call the shots. In such circumstances try to explain that while you are grateful for their kind contribution and want them to have a say and feel included, the wedding is a huge milestone in your relationship and should therefore be a reflection of you as a couple and what you want.

Alternatively it could be that your mother didn’t get much say in her own wedding and therefore she is either mimicking her mum by taking on the chief planning role or trying to create the wedding she really wanted through your big day. Again take the time to talk to your mum about this – listen to her feelings and share your own. Remind her how it felt to have someone else calling the shots and try to make her see that organising parts together is a much more enjoyable and fair way to go about things.

Found on, photography by Leo Timoshuk Photography

image via, photography by Leo Timoshuk Photography

dealing with the mother-in-law

Some mothers can find it difficult to let go of their sons and such feelings can manifest themselves in reactions to your wedding plans.

Just like with your own mum be sure to let your mother-in-law know your plans early on so she feels included and continue with regular updates. Also as a wedding is ultimately the joining of two families, invite your mother-in-law to join you and your mum when arranging some parts of the wedding, such as choosing the flowers or shopping for decorations. This will also help you to bond as a family.

If however your mother-in-law gets a little out of hand, ask your partner to have a gentle word with her and to explain that you have made your decisions as a couple to avoid her taking up issue with you alone.

Found on, photography by Caroline Maxcy Photography

image via, photography by Caroline Maxcy Photography

have fun

Most importantly – have fun with it. This is a great time of your life for mother/daughter bonding and while the planning path might not run entirely smooth, it’s a perfect opportunity to spend quality time together and to create some fabulous memories.

A mum’s input can be particularly helpful in areas that the groom just can’t get enthused about, such as chair covers and sashes, so there are plenty of different areas in which to get those most important to you involved.

Planning with your mum is also a great excuse for numerous shopping trips and glasses of fizz, just don’t mention it to the men that will be left at home!

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love locks. lilac and lace for a stunning celebration at adlington hall – sarah & ross

March 26th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (66)

Avid Brides Up North reader Sarah’s wedding to her new husband Ross was a truly gorgeous affair. From her lace Victoria Jane dress (oh, how we love a gown with beautiful back detailing) to the stately setting and vintage transport, everything about the big day is stunning.

We also absolutely adore the theme for this fabulous North West wedding – love is the key.

So join us as we unlock and relive Sarah and Ross’ big day.

With images by James Tracey Photography and Daniel Lloyd Photography.

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (2)

sarah says: We got engaged on 14th August 2013. This was the day before my birthday and Ross had surprised me with a night at Peckforton Castle in Tarporley. Whilst he was checking in, they told him there would be a tour of the hotel before dinner. I was more concerned about traipsing around in my heels but Ross managed to persuade me (as he had planned this it was a good job!) The guy showing us round took us all around the hotel, telling us the history which was great. In the grounds of the castle there is a chapel, as we walked in the whole place was filled with candles and looked beautiful. As I was looking around, Ross had gone down on one knee with a beautiful ring. I was so shocked and lost for words he had to ask me three times if it was a yes! We came out to a champagne reception and had the most amazing meal – it was perfect.

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (14)

We chose to get married on 15th February 2015. It gave us 18 months to plan which we thought would be about right. We looked at having it on Valentine’s Day but we though guests might want to be on their own that day. Also it means that Ross has to buy me a present for Valentine’s and our anniversary now instead of having a combined one!

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (17)

We got married at Adlington Hall & Gardens. We looked at a few venues, as we were having a civil ceremony, we knew we didn’t just want to get married in any old hotel room and none we saw were quite right. We made an appointment to view Adlington Hall and as soon as we walked into The Great Hall we were absolutely blown away by how stunning it was, it was the one! We loved the fact the whole place was ours for the day and we were truly treated like royalty. We also loved the fact we had two different venues in one. The ceremony in The Great Hall and wedding breakfast at the Hunting Lodge. From the very first meeting we had, the whole team were amazing professionals. This gave us confidence that the day would go smoothly. It was perfect!

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (19)

We have two children Scarlett, aged eight, and Oscar, aged three, who were our flower girl and page boy at the wedding. Scarlett did a beautiful reading (A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton) at the ceremony which was very special and there were definitely a few tears shed by all. It was lovely to have them involved.

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (23)

I came across the quote by Oliver Wendel Holmes – ‘love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness’ – and the whole ‘Love is the Key’ theme was born! I wanted something elegant and vintage that would reflect the history of the venue. Also very romantic with lots of candles, beautiful flowers and pearls.

We chose lilac and ivory as our colour scheme. Purple is my favourite colour and this fitted in nicely for the vintage elegance we were trying to achieve.

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (25)

I knew I wanted a fitted, mermaid style lace dress but I wanted something at the back of the dress that made it different. As soon as I saw the Victoria Jane Ivy dress I knew that ticked all the boxes! I loved the pearl draping at the back and I thought it looked very elegant and vintage, which is exactly what I was looking for. I teamed this with a beautiful pearl headpiece which reflected the draping on the dress. I got this from a shop on Etsy called Gilded Shadows, it came over from the United States and was perfect. I also wore a crystal edged veil which was my ‘something borrowed’ as it was my wonderful sister Rebecca’s wedding veil she let me use. My diamante encrusted shoes came from Next and matched perfectly.

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (34)

Ross wore a dark blue suit with grey waistcoat by Paul Costelloe. He teamed this with a grey and lilac tie which brought the whole outfit together. He looked very handsome!

My two sisters wore long lilac chiffon dresses with embellished necklines, which they teamed with a pale lilac feather cape from Coast. They also wore a pearl hair comb from Highland Angel which finished the whole outfit beautifully, they looked stunning!

The three (yes three!) best men and our fathers all wore two-piece navy blue suits from Austin Reed. They teamed this with a lilac tie. My son and three nephews as pageboys wore navy suits from BHS with lilac bow ties and lilac trainers – super cute! My daughter’s dress was by Pearce Fionda, I also got a vintage style diamante brooch to put on the waistband which mirrored my dress.

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (38)

My father, my son and I arrived at the venue in a stunning 1930s Beauford. The rest of the bridal party arrived in a Daimler State Limousine.

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (47)

Our photographer was James Tracey. I had looked at loads of photographers on the internet and James’ images really stood out. We knew we didn’t want the cheesy poses and wanted natural, documentary style images that really told the story of our day. James did not disappoint at all. We met for a pre-wedding shoot which was fantastic as it really helped us to relax in front of the camera when wedding day nerves set in and gave us confidence that the images would be great on the day. The images we have are stunning and have really captured the best moments of the day. James really talked us through every stage but was so unobtrusive on the day, it was perfect. We were both blown away and would highly recommend him. So many of our guests have commented on how amazing the images are too!

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (50)

I wanted an informal bouquet in lilac and ivory with foliage. I had seen the amnesia rose and knew I wanted them included as they are a beautiful lilac colour and look so vintage. I also included lavender in all the flowers as I love the smell and the colours and style matched perfectly with the day. I also got some vintage style pearl brooches which were put onto mine and my bridesmaids’ bouquets and really finished them off. The flowers were provided by The Wild Bunch in Macclesfield. They were absolutely fantastic and exceeded my expectations in how they translated my vision for the styling of the day.

The Wild Bunch also provided flowers for the decor. I wanted lots of candles and cluster vases with various flowers that tied in with my bouquet. We had this set up for the ceremony table and also the top table. We used some vases which my sister-in-law had used at her wedding last year which was a special touch. It was stunning and took my breath away when I first walked in. The smell of lavender was amazing. The tables had fish bowl centre pieces with matching flowers. I had sourced lots of mercury glass tea light holders as well as some gorgeous antique lilac coloured ones which had pearl details on. There were lots of holders in various shapes and sizes on every table and around the cake. It created such a romantic feel to the day. There were also scatters of table pearls which completed the look.

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (55)

We gave our guests bottle openers shaped like a vintage key as favours. They seemed to like the practical gift! For the evening we made some hangover kits. I found some small muslin bags on Etsy and had them personalised and sent over from The States. I filled them with mints, plasters and Alka Seltzer and put them over a bottle of water. A lifesaver for those who were celebrating a bit too hard!

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (57)

My amazing friend Nova made my cake despite being nearly eight months pregnant! It was a three-tier sponge cake of chocolate, lemon and vanilla – delicious! It was lilac and ivory and had lace effect icing on the top two tiers. There were ivory and amnesia roses, foliage and pearl droplets in between the bottom two tiers. I also had an amazing cake topper custom made from Better off Wed on Etsy which said Love is the Key.

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (61)

Ross and I are massive foodies so this was a really important part of the day. We had a delicious selection of canapés after the ceremony with champagne and mulled wine, which was perfect for a winter wedding. For our wedding breakfast we wanted food that we love and decided on smoked salmon to start, fillet mignon, which was absolutely amazing and perfectly cooked, for main followed by profiteroles with chocolate rum sauce for the gents and raspberry creme brûlée with shortbread biscuit for the ladies with coffee and petit fours to finish. We had a choice of wine and champagne too. For the evening we had bacon, sausage and fish finger sandwiches. Just what was needed! The crepes just about finished us off but I managed to squeeze in a chocolate and Baileys one!

The food was unbelievable, all our guests couldn’t compliment it enough. We also used vintage champagne saucers for the toast. These had been tirelessly scoured for by Ross’ parents and sister Fran and had been used at her wedding last year. It was a lovely finishing touch and was extra special as they were hers.

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (65)

We used the amazing pianist Guy Porteous, to play from the ceremony right through to the end of the wedding breakfast. He is fantastically talented and was a lovely extra special touch to have him there. In the evening we chose to have a DJ to get the party started. He is the resident DJ at Adlington Hall and did a great job getting everyone dancing with a variety of songs that catered for the varied age range.

In terms of special touches, I had seen the large light up letters people hire for weddings and thought they made such a great focal point. I hired our LOVE sign from Dressed to Impress at Blakemere and it added a real wow factor, perfect for photo poses! We also had a wish tree as an alternative guest book. I found some tags on eBay which guests wrote their ‘key to a happy marriage’ message on and hung them on the tree. This was decorated with fairy lights, crystals and some vintage keys borrowed from Ross’ parents. I spent ages making escort card tags for the guest seating plan. I attached small keys to each tag and hung them from a mirror on ribbons. The guests then took their own key tag to keep. It was something different and the guests loved it. We hired a crepe station as a surprise for our guests in the evening. Original Crepes were fantastic, they provided a huge choice of sweet and savoury crepes and they tasted delicious. It was something the guests weren’t expecting and everyone loved it!

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (69)

I had a sign made for our son Oscar to carry down the aisle, it said: ‘Daddy here comes Mummy’. He’d been practicing holding it and walking so steadily and was so proud of himself when he got to the end! We also had framed photographs of both sets of parents on their wedding days, as they have both been married for over 40 years this was a good inspiration!

We hired a videographer as we wanted to capture the day and have a great memento of the action. We used Creative Videos, Barry was fantastic and as he had filmed my sister’s wedding previously, we knew the video would be fantastic.

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (73)

We would absolutely recommend Adlington Hall! From the moment we walked in we were overwhelmed by how stunning it was. The food amazing, the staff so professional and accommodating. Everything was more than we hoped for, my dream wedding venue!

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (76)

I think my favourite part of the day was when the doors opened to The Great Hall and I was ready to walk down the aisle. On my dad’s arm, looking at all the most important people in our lives all there just for us was totally overwhelming.

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (80)

We are going on a family honeymoon with our children in the summer. My next planning project now I have no wedding to plan!

a classic wedding at adlington hall (c) James Tracey Photography (79)

My top tip to other Brides Up North is to utilise the talents of your friends and family. My sisters Rebecca and Jessica did my makeup and hair and my talented friend Nova made our fabulous cake. It was extra special for them to play such an important role. Oh yes, and plenty of waterproof mascara!

From getting engaged Brides up North was my go to for inspiration. I have been an avid reader of the real life weddings and I’m so excited to now be one of them!

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rustic romance. a pretty barn wedding at east riddlesden hall – hollie & mark

March 25th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

a pretty pink wedding at East Riddlesden Hall (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography (73)

Today’s bride Hollie dreamt of a summer wedding with pretty pink touches and along with the help of her groom Mark the two executed the brief perfectly.

From the beautiful blooms, bunting and ‘love bug’ to the ombre pink cake, rustic centre pieces and adorable sweetie table, this is one seriously well styled wedding.

As huge fans of all things pink here at Brides Up North, Hollie and Mark we salute you!

With images by our Featured Supplier Lissa Alexandra Photography.

a pretty pink wedding at East Riddlesden Hall (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography (2)

Hollie says: We got engaged on 28th September 2012 whilst we were on holiday in Cuba. Mark took me by surprise when he got down on one knee and proposed on the first night with a beautiful bespoke ring!

a pretty pink wedding at East Riddlesden Hall (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography (1)

We decided straight away that we wanted a summer wedding, with high hopes of sunshine and so set the date for 9th August 2014.

We got married at our local church, St John the Baptist in Adel, followed by an evening reception at East Riddlesden Hall. We wanted a traditional church wedding and St John The Baptist is a beautiful old church with a striking Norman doorway and gargoyle sculptures dotted around which was just perfect. After looking at a number of evening venues, we fell in love with the converted barn and gorgeous surroundings at East Riddlesden Hall as it gave us a blank canvas to let our imaginations run wild and create a day that truly reflected us as a couple.

a pretty pink wedding at East Riddlesden Hall (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography (11)

We had a rustic theme to complement the barn, with vintage touches. I spent hours scouring Pinterest for ideas, earning myself a reputation as a Pinterest addict in the process!

The colour palette was dusky pinks, cream and rose gold. This is my favourite colour combination (in fact most of our home is decorated in these colours) so after ruling out the Leeds United colours pretty early on (!), it seemed like a no-brainer.

a pretty pink wedding at East Riddlesden Hall (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography (16)

After looking at lots of wedding dresses on Pinterest, I pictured myself in a fitted lace dress with cap sleeves but ended up falling in love with quite the opposite! I found a gorgeous strapless dress by Essence of Australia at Ava Rose Hamilton in Sildsen with a sweetheart neckline and big tiered lace skirt and the moment I tried it on I thought ‘now thisis a wedding dress’ and at that point I knew I’d found the one! The service at Ava Rose Hamilton was second to none and Rebecca made the whole experience from choosing my dress to getting last minute alternations done an absolute breeze!

As the dress was so detailed, I chose a simple one tiered veil and purchased a pearl necklace and earrings from Azendi. My little sister gave me her pearl bracelet from Tiffany & Co to wear on the day as my something borrowed. I found some beautiful rose gold strappy heels by Ivanka Trump on Pinterest, which went perfectly with my colour scheme. When I realised the style was called Hara (my maiden name is O’Hara), I knew I had to have them and had the shoes shipped over from America!

a pretty pink wedding at East Riddlesden Hall (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography (21)

Mark wore a grey three-piece suit which he hired from Yorkshire Menswear in Rodley, Leeds. He accessorised with an ivory tie and black shoes. I surprised him with personalised cufflinks and socks, and a Hugo Boss watch. He looked very handsome! The groomsmen wore matching grey three-piece suits with blush pink ties and personalised cufflinks.

My four beautiful bridesmaids wore blush pink maxi dresses from Oh My Love, with a cream and rose gold belt which had a cute bow on the front. I gave each of them a rose gold pearl bracelet on the morning of the wedding with their initials, which they wore on the day.

a pretty pink wedding at East Riddlesden Hall (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography (23)

For the transport we hired a convertible 1970’s cream Beetle from Love Bug Celebrations. They dressed the car with pink ribbons and flowers to match the colour scheme and included a bottle of champagne for Mark and I to enjoy on the drive from the church to East Riddlesden Hall, which was a lovely touch. Mark and the groomsmen arrived to church in a black customised Range Rover, which his parents arranged as a surprise.

a pretty pink wedding at East Riddlesden Hall (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography (37)

Choosing the right photographer was very important to us and when we met Lissa Alexandra at a wedding fair at East Riddlesden Hall we knew she was the right lady for the job! Her photography is very natural with a vintage edge, which is exactly what we wanted. We had an engagement shoot in Knaresborough a month before the wedding and, although it was pouring down with rain on the day, Lissa made us feel totally at ease and took some brilliant photos.

On the wedding day she brought her assistant photographer Jamie and they both did an amazing job of capturing all the special moments of our big day. They were both so friendly and it was an absolute joy to have them there on the day! Lissa is exceptionally talented and I can’t recommend her highly enough.

a pretty pink wedding at East Riddlesden Hall (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography (46)

I carried a bouquet of dusky pink and cream roses, mixed with gypsophila and bound with lace and pearls. The bouquets, buttonholes, corsages and church flowers were all supplied by Lily’s of Bramhope. Rachel was extremely helpful and went the extra mile to find the perfect roses to match the bridesmaids’ dresses.

We bought a selection of pink and cream roses and bunches of gypsophila from the Morrisons Flower Shop to decorate the barn, which helped us keep within our budget.

a pretty pink wedding at East Riddlesden Hall (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography (49)

In the lead-up to the wedding we collected lots of little trinkets and did a lot of crafting to decorate the barn. My friend Zoe was an absolute Godsend and spent many a late night designing and printing stationery for us and other friends also helped out making metres of hessian and lace bunting and chalkboard signage. The parents of one of my bridesmaids then kindly dressed the barn for us on the morning of the wedding along with the East Riddlesden Hall wedding team and did an amazing job of bringing our vision to life.

a pretty pink wedding at East Riddlesden Hall (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography (72)

As favours everybody received a personalised wooden heart and we had a sweet table for everyone to tuck into, which went down an absolute treat!

My friend Sally kindly offered to make our wedding cake and did an absolutely fantastic job! She made a beautiful three-tiered cake with a mixture of chocolate and Victoria sponge and pink and white ombre frilled icing, which we displayed on a tree stump with our initials and wedding date carved into it.

a pretty pink wedding at East Riddlesden Hall (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography (59)

We chose GFS Catering as our caterers as they allowed us to create a completely bespoke menu. We had Pimms and canapés on arrival and a gourmet barbecue later in the afternoon, followed by a trio of desserts including cherry crème brule (my favourite), profiteroles (Mark’s favourite) and New York cheesecake (failsafe). We then a choice of either Thai green curry or tikka masala curry in the evening.

a pretty pink wedding at East Riddlesden Hall (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography (77)

We wanted the wedding to feel relaxed and for everyone to let their hair down and have fun, so entertainment was a very important element when planning the wedding. We had giant Jenga set up outside the barn and we also hired the Booth Revolution photo booth for the evening, which our guests loved. As part of the wedding package we received a wedding album full of photos and messages from all our friends and family, which is a lovely keepsake.

a pretty pink wedding at East Riddlesden Hall (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography (80)

Luckily my bridesmaid Kelly knows an amazing wedding band called Tom Rocks & The Replicants – her dad is the bassist! They played a mixture of covers from old classics to recent hits and got everyone up and dancing – somebody took a brilliant photo of my dad doing the twist! Lots of people commented on how brilliant the band were and they’ve also had a couple of booking from guests for their own weddings since which is a real testament to their talent!

a pretty pink wedding at East Riddlesden Hall (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography (94)

We worked in a few extra touches through the day too. We hired hay bales to create seating alongside the lake which opposite the barn and provided bags of duck food which the children enjoyed feeding to the ducks! We also hired large illuminated M&H letters from Add Vintage which we positioned on the stage next to the band. These made an amazing backdrop for the photos of our first dance!

a pretty pink wedding at East Riddlesden Hall (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography (78)

East Riddlesden Hall has a golf buggy that can be hired to transport guests to and from the restrooms, which are separate to the barn itself. We decorated it with fairy lights and our guests absolutely loved taking a ride up and down the path! We would definitely recommend our wedding venue to other couples. East Riddlesden Hall is stunning and unlike many other venues, it gives you a blank canvas to create your vision for your wedding. Emma and the wedding team are also great at what they do and they made the whole planning process as straightforward and stress free as possible.

a pretty pink wedding at East Riddlesden Hall (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography (82)

Saying our vows in front of all our nearest and dearest was so special and a moment I’ll treasure forever. The speeches were also great and had me in tears one minute and in fits of laughter the next, but it was also lovely to have some time just myself and Mark on the journey from church to East Riddlesden Hall to take everything in.

Following the wedding we went to Dubrovnik in Croatia for a five-day ‘minimoon’ and have recently returned from a three-week honeymoon in Hong Kong and Thailand, which was beyond amazing!

a pretty pink wedding at East Riddlesden Hall (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography (98)

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to make your wedding day personal to you. It’s the one day you can have everything just the way you want it to be so embrace it!

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happily ever after. romantica for a family wedding at rushpool hall – cheryl & john

March 24th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

an elegant wedding at Rushpool Hall (c) Diamond Photography (31)

I don’t know about you but I’m a sucker for a cute engagement story and today’s real wedding starts with a great one. Having been together just short of nine years brave bride Cheryl decided to turn the tables and asked partner John for his hand in marriage during a romantic weekend away to celebrate their anniversary. Huge kudos to Cheryl for ditching tradition – oh, and for also quickly pointing out to John that he owed her a ring to make it official.

To make their big day a real family affair Cheryl and John made their two beautiful daughters, Millie and Ellie, a big part of the day and it looks like the girls carried out their duties perfectly. Well done girls!

So let’s hear that engagement story…

With images by Brides Up North featured supplier Diamond Photography.

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cheryl says: John and I have been together for almost nine years and we have two beautiful daughters, Millie and Ellie. We had talked about marriage over a number of years but something else always seemed to arise, in regards to work schedules and having two young daughters. Our anniversary was fast approaching and we always make the effort to go for an overnight stay somewhere so I made the decision that this was it – I was going to ask him to marry me! I’d always been adamant I would wait until he proposed but I guess the time just felt right. So, after looking at different hotels and listening to other people’s experiences I decided to book Yorebridge House boutique hotel in the Yorkshire Dales. On 1st November 2012 we set off for our overnight stay, I told John that we wouldn’t bother with gifts this time as we had paid that little bit extra for the hotel stay.

After a glass of wine (for courage) I handed John a gift-wrapped box, which he cautiously opened but seemed pleased when a box of Thorntons chocolates were presented to him. However, he had to do a double-take when he realised what the chocolates spelled out the words ‘will u marry me?’ I was relieved when he smiled and answered ‘Yes!’ Next I presented him with a smaller box containing a jelly Haribo ring and a note stating, ‘you owe me.’ I felt comforted and very excited afterwards as we both began to contact our family and friends to share the news.

an elegant wedding at Rushpool Hall (c) Diamond Photography (6)

I had hoped to book an earlier date, preferably before the football season started but those dates had already been taken, so we agreed finally agreed on our date, Saturday 30th August 2014.

We got married at Rushpool Hall, Saltburn, described as ‘a fairy tale castle set in picturesque surroundings’. We liked that our ceremony, wedding breakfast and reception would be all in the one venue. We chose the blue room with beautiful décor, which overlooks Saltburn Valley with additional sea views. This had been one of the hotels that John and I had previously stayed at and once we began to look at wedding venues we revisited the site and instantly knew this would be where we would say our wedding vows.

an elegant wedding at Rushpool Hall (c) Diamond Photography (10)

Our wedding colour scheme was ivory and pink. The pink element stems from both of our daughters’ love of the colour.

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After visiting six different wedding dress retailers, I went back to Exclusively Yours at Wingate, County Durham. I chose a selection of three/four dresses but I kept returning to a particular dress, which I had previously tried on. I soon realised I’d found the one. The dress was Romantica Zeta, a straight A-line dress with crystals on the bodice, which featured a zip fastening on the back with crystal buttons. The dress was ivory in colour.

John wore a suit with a waistcoat and jacket and an ivory cravat from Moss Brothers at Dalton Park.

Our two daughters Millie and Ellie both wore ivory bridesmaid dresses from Next which had an ivory band round the middle and fastened in a bow at the back. Bryan the best man wore the same suit as John from Moss Brothers.

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Andrew and Mandy of Diamond Photography were our photographers. I’d arranged to meet with Andrew who showed me different wedding packages and photographs that himself and Mandy offered. Andrew was very easy-going and added no pressure. Across a period of time before I got married I often messaged Andrew who always answered any questions and worries I may have had. On our wedding day they captured amazing moments, I’m not a person who particularly likes to be in the limelight, but Andrew made me feel very comfortable and settled my nerves at begin photographed. Andrew and Mandy were lovely. They had captured particular photos we had requested and more. They were so friendly and created a very professional and well-produced package, without being intrusive. I would definitely recommend future brides to meet Andrew and Mandy – I cannot thank them enough.

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My two daughters and I had small hand held bouquets, which consisted of my favourite flowers tulips and roses. My friend Tracy arranged our flowers for us along with the corsages and buttonholes. Our daughters carried a sign each, one saying ‘Here comes Mammy’ and the other saying ‘Last chance to run Daddy’.

an elegant wedding at Rushpool Hall (c) Diamond Photography (33)

Our top table had an ivory ‘Mr & Mrs’ sign, with a small tea light candles in diamond cut glass holders and a bowl with other floating candles. The guest table centre pieces were ivory jewelled candle holders with diamonds scattered across the table. On the fireplaces we also had bowls with floating candles. In the evening we had a wedding wish tree, along with paper lanterns and large pink and ivory balloons.

The favours were lucky sixpences, which were personalised to each guest in a small wallet with ‘John & Cheryl’ written on, alongside our wedding date.

Our cake was pink and ivory with four tiers – the top tier was carrot cake, the second sponge cake and the two bottom tiers were fruit cake. It was delicious! It was made by Michelle who owns Michelle’s Cakes shop, situated in a wedding store called A Bit of a Do in Hartlepool. I often messaged Michelle with different pictures of cakes and constantly asked questions but nothing was ever too much trouble.

an elegant wedding at Rushpool Hall (c) Diamond Photography (3)

For entertainment we had a disco which was provided by Rushpool Hall and the resident DJ, who was very good played all requests – we opted for a lot of 80s music. Our photographer provided a freestanding photo booth, which at the time was part of a special promotion. There were lots of props and guests were provided with a copy of their photo moment! I have to add that Andrew and Mandy were very patient as by this time everyone at the wedding party had, had quite a bit to drink – and shall we say, in very good spirits! We also had a caricaturist during the day to entertain our guests.

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Other great suppliers we used included Elaine Butler, who designed our wedding invites along with our guest place cards, table plan, sweet jar labels, and table numbers. Made At Home made our lovely sign, which I placed next to our cake which said ‘& they lived happily ever after’, along with beautiful handmade wishing dandelions for our daughters. Heart Shaped Home made lovely framed verses which we gave to our parents as gifts and also the signs that Millie and Ellie carried. Angela Leonard from Unique Styles in Hartlepool did my hair and Deborah Campbell did my make-up. Deborah and I have been friends since we were young and she offered to do my make-up as she knew I would be panicking about it. When she mentioned eye lashes I was panic stricken, however I was gently persuaded and loved them!

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We would certainly recommend our venue to others. Rushpool Hall is a perfect romantic setting, with beautiful grounds and an open staircase along with log fires. The team at Rushpool Hall were fantastic and very friendly, nothing was too much trouble and I must not fail to mention to Kerri who assisted us in the run up to the wedding and on our actual day, thank you.

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Our favourite part of the day had to be spending it with our family and friends, most of all our two beautiful daughters Millie and Ellie. I also think remembering those people that couldn’t be there to share our special day, in particular my Granddad Tommy, and John’s Granddad Bobby, was a special moment.

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For our honeymoon we went to the Grand Sirenis, Mayan Beach Hotel in Mexico, Riviera Maya. We were lucky enough that our family looked after our daughters for a week while we went away. We had an amazing week, with sunny skies and plenty of strawberry daiquiris. We spent days floating round the lazy river but our most enjoyable moment was swimming with dolphins, something that I had always wanted to do!

My top tips to other Brides Up North is – enjoy every moment and try to make a little time to take it all in! Don’t let the day pass you by and try not to be too nervous.

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