October 31st, 2014 | Julia Braime
Is it just me, or did things suddenly get a little freaky around here?
I can’t resist a bit of Halloween mischief, especially when it’s executed as stylishly (and as eerily) as this gothic bridal shoot by Abi of Wooden Hill Images and her clever team.
Look out, she’s behind you…
Be honest, who checked?
Abi says: With a background in theatre and a passion for literature and transforming it into the visual, I wanted to be able to celebrate the change of season and create a Halloween ‘bride’.
My team researched the idea of a gothic bride and took influences from novels, listened to music and found a great location next to Lake Gormire at the bottom of Sutton Bank near Thirsk.
Brides and Belles supplied a wonderful dress from Victoria Kay Gowns which suited the brief and then we found the black velvet coat we wanted from gothic clothes supplier The Dark Angel.
We met on a day in October and our model Simona was transformed by Deborah from Love Hair and Beauty, who never fails but to understand what we ty to achieve and knows exactly how to create it.
Jane from Wedding and Events Floral Design had created wonderful bouquets and a head dress, collected fabrics and rabbit skulls, skilfully made a bustle for the back of the coat and finished off the detailing to the top hat.
It was a walk into the woods, with bags, boxes, a dog, wellies, umbrellas, smoke bombs and some cameras… and in a race against weather, we created!
It has to be noted that Bill the greyhound, despite shaking with nerves was a total professional.
October 30th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Earlier this week I introduced you to lovely Brides Up North Sponsor Rachel Joyce Photography, and couldn’t resist sharing a few sneak peek pics from Saoirse and William’s cute and quirky nuptials.
Today I’m back with the beautiful rose gold and ribbons celebration in all it’s gorgeous glory.
Brides Up North, if you’re wondering how you can work both pretty and original styling elements into your big day, here’s an absolute masterclass.
With images by Rachel Joyce Photography.
Saoirse says: Though we had discussed getting married, we had not made it public or official. So the proposal either occurred on Chinese New Year when I demanded of William: ‘Are you going to propose yet? I can’t spend every day waking up thinking is this the day I get engaged?’ or two days later, when we got engaged ‘officially’ in a coffee shop in London. The decision to look for a ring was mutual but after trying on a few and then almost deciding on one, we went to a coffee shop to decide. Then William said “Do you like that ring? Shall we buy it? Will you marry me?” I cried and we went to buy the ring.
We were married on 14th September 2014. Our ceremony was in the Haworth Art Gallery in Accrington. We didn’t want to get married in a church, or in an ‘all-in-one’ venue so we researched venues with wedding licences. The room was small, but it fitted our guest number perfectly.
Also, we were looking for somewhere where our money might do some good – Haworth Art Gallery is open to the public and I remember going when I was younger. Barley Village Hall was also a childhood destination of mine and is run and maintained by volunteers.
If there was a theme, it was ‘colour’. Everything was bright and that was intentional. It’s the north in September. We had no control over the weather but we wanted the day to be bright in any way it could.
In addition, a few of the motifs were ‘words & music’ due to my love of poetry and William’s of music. It was very DIY but it wasn’t intentionally meant to look that way, just that the day had our mark on it.
My wedding dress was from Vintage Lane Boutique in Bolton. I wanted a 50s/60s style dress with sleeves and luckily this was the first dress I tried on. I was only looking for ‘style’ but having tried it on and her friend, who is not a squealer, squealing, she was torn. One cream tea later, I went back to buy it.
It was perfect; a simple 1960s dress. Lace, long-sleeved but with a chiffon train.
My now mother-in-law made me a beautiful lace knit shawl in pale blue and my pink flat pointy shoes were from Russell & Bromley.
My hat was yellow, my flowers had multi-coloured ribbons and there were balloons! I chose a hat as a love them and it would be the only chance I really had to get one designed for me. The sister of a good friend is a miliner and I went and tried on a variety of styles. The one I chose was ‘the wild card’. Mary Franck – the miliner – then helped me changed the colour and shape. I love my hat and Mary was fabulous.
Our bridesmaids and groomsmen wore what they liked. We didn’t want matching outfits for anyone. Three ‘non-bridesmaids’ wore Miss Piggy rose wrist corsages, as did the mother-in-laws, whilst the men wore Miss Piggy buttonholes.
My bouquet was simply amnesia roses with rosemary from Garlands Florist in Oswaldtwistle. Rachel at Garlands listened carefully to my design and produced exactly what I had in my head, choosing a lovely mixture of colour and texture for the various lengthed ribbons.
I arrived at the Gallery in a Morris Minor Traveller named Buttercup from Regent Classics. We both travelled from the venue to the reception in the same car.
We used Rachel from Rachel Joyce Photography. As you can see her photos are incredible. Everyone we have shown them to have remarked on how good they look. We heartily recommend her to anyone and everyone in the Lancashire area. And she is the only person who can make William smile in a posed shot!
For the reception, we had a variety of balloons from Party Glitz in Padiham. Other than that, we did all the decorations ourselves, from flowers in teacups, to bunting in the hall, and streamers, doileys, coloured table cloths and flowers from supermarkets. The flowers were in glass vases we had been collecting all year. The teacups were my grandmother’s wedding set.
In fitting with the ‘Words & Music’ theme, we gave everyone a pencil with the words ‘In Good Hands’ on them (this was the title of our first reading at the service) and a 7” record, supplied by William’s father who buys and sells records.
We had a three tiered cake, each with a different filling; one red velvet, one lemon and one Victoria sponge. It was made by a friend of William’s mother’s.
The food was supplied by Cabin Catering in Barley. Paula was brilliant in doing everything we asked for and providing a tasting session for us a few months before.
William’s mother and father kindly supplied the wine which they bought in France. The white was a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, the Champagne was Paul Goerg and the red has all been drunk so we can’t remember what that was!
We had an additional poetry blessing before the meal, with five more poems. Also, as we allowed our friends to brng their children, we gave them each crayons, colouring books and the older ones got finger puppets of the bride and groom, kindly knitted by William’s mother.
One set was stolen by a friend of the bride as she loved them so much!
We would definitely recommend Barley Village Hall. The couple who run it (John and Audrey) not only gave us free run of the place all of the day before and until lunchtime the day after, they also helped us set up.
In the evening, we hired a PA system and then Djed ourselves. It ended up that one friend did most of the music from his iPod.
William: My favourite part of the day was when Saoirse and I were first at the front of the wedding room in Haworth. We were holding hands and smiling to each other. It was wonderful to think that the decision we had made to be with each other was about to be made in front of all our family and friends.
Saoirse: My best bit was walking down the aisle. I had already met Will and said hello to most people so I was relaxed and thoroughly excited. I was so full of joy that I was to marry Will and these glorious people I loved were in one place that I got the biggest fit of giggles! I couldn’t keep my joy in!
For our honeymoon we stayed in a cottage in Staithes in North Yorkshire. We spent the time pottering about in the village, walking on the beach and taking drives to Whitby and Scarborough. We are planning a grander honeymoon to Texas next year when we have a bit more money.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to put your own stamp on the day. As much as you think all wedding have to be the same or it is easier to let someone do the majority of the organising, putting the effort in will make your day even more special. We had a lot of people say how inventive our day was, but all we did was take control of the arrangements and not do anything that we didn’t want to do. It caused quite a bit of stress (and a few tears) but knowing now how the day turned out, we would go through it all again.
Think how you want your wedding to feel and work on that. We made a list of what we wanted it to feel like (fun, easy, small) and a list of everything we didn’t want and stuck to it.
Whilst hard at times, our day was so special. I won’t ever stop smiling when I think about it. It was truly, truly glorious.
October 28th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I’m trying to embrace the season – hollowing pumpkins, fur lined boots, fireworks parties and thoughts drifting to Christmas lists… and then a wedding like this drops into my inbox.
Vicky and Matthew, what are you trying to do to me? Let’s soak up some sun, as we join this lucky Manchester based couple for their stunning destination wedding on the white isle.
No hard feelings. Not many, at least.
Images by Brides Up North Sponsor James Tracey Photography.
Vicky says: Matt proposed to me on a random Wednesday evening in August 2013. Matt took me by surprise and decided he would take me out for tea and an overnight stay in Manchester, this immediately roused suspicions but I continued pretending I had no idea. After dining at Australasia, Matt took a me back to the Great John Street Hotel – At this point I believed the proposal was not going to happen, but on arriving back to the room I found rose petals scattered on the bed and a bottle of champagne and strawberries awaiting me arrival. Needless to say tears of joy flowed and more alcohol was consumed.
We were married on Wednesday 27th August 2014 at Elixir Shore Club in Cala Codolar, Ibiza. After doing a 3 day long recce of our favourite Island (somewhere we frequent regularly) we settled on our final appointment ‘Elixir’. Not only were we blown away by the views (tears flowed again) but Vickki who was both the owner and in charge of running the venue, was the most welcoming, friendly person we had encountered so far.
We wanted our wedding to be relaxed and informal to suit the Ibizan vibe. After losing my father in 2013, I decided I would prefer a very informal affair where friends and family could come together and celebrate the event without it being a stifling ‘traditional English’ wedding.
We opted for bright colours so they would stand out against the Ibiza beach backdrop.
I decided to wear something light and comfortable, particularly with the time of year and the obvious heat expected in Ibiza. As it happened, our wedding day apparently reached temperatures of 43 degrees.
I purchased my dress from Bride by Swarbricks in Middleton. The dress is named the Pronovias ‘Pelicano’. The lady who looked after me also holidays in Ibiza every year so we had a lot to talk about during the fitting stages.
Matthew wore a powder blue cotton suit from Next, ideal for warm temperatures. The best man and ushers wore the same suit in a different colour.
James Tracey was our photographer as recommended by friends. We were blown away by his images of our friend’s wedding, particularly the contemporary edginess and just knew we had to book him.
All flowers were silk and created by Nicola Knight in York. All our guests brought a bunch of flowers with them, along with copper sprayed Kilner jars for the flowers to sit in on the tables. We gave away the flowers at the end for guests to keep as a memory.
All the decoration on the day was completed by family and friends, Molly, Phil and Amanda Newton, Rosie and some serious ribbon tying from Steven Grainger.
Our favours were created by Echo Designs and consisted of handmade hanging hearts with printed maps of Ibiza on them.
We opted for a very laid back cake, a favourite of ours, a Victoria Sponge made by my sister in law Molly in a villa microwave oven – it took a few attempts but tasted delicious!
We chose the luxury wedding BBQ as arranged by Elixir and we can honestly say it’s the best food we have ever tasted and many of our guests agreed. The BBQ was served as a buffet style again taking on a more relaxed feel to the day.
My mum pre-recorded her own performance of ‘All of Me’ by John Legend which was played as we walked back up the aisle. We prepared all other music ourselves and had a DJ, Steve later in the evening who was recommended by Elixir.
We used Kids in Ibiza to look after children who cared for the children perfectly. One of the guests was stunned to see her daughter being pushed around in her push chair by the babysitter so she was able to eat her evening meal. A close friend Heidi Heywood, prepared children’s party bags for the kids which they loved!
Una, who manages the weddings at Elixir, paid perfect attention to every single detail and everything ran so smoothly we couldn’t have asked for anyone better. We would 100% recommend our venue to anyone looking to enjoy a wedding on the White Isle.
We have just returned from a two week honeymoon, which consisted of one week touring Sri Lanka and one week in the Maldives on the island of Kuramathi. We had a cultured week in Sri Lanka then a week where we truly relaxed in the Maldives where we had the opportunity to snorkel with tropical fish and sharks.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be don’t sweat the small stuff (or big stuff) and enjoy every minute.
October 27th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
So the clocks may have gone back drawing the darkness in that bit earlier every night but today we have a super stylish wedding full of uplifting pastel tones that is bound to brighten up your day.
Rob and Mia wanted a simple and relaxed outdoor celebration made up of pretty colour and natural, simple décor.
Despite working on a budget, the creative couple pulled their desired look off beautifully showing others that even if you haven’t got bucket loads of cash to blow you can still have a flippin gorgeous big day.
Just like Mia I’m head over heels for pretty pastels and it was her bridesmaids’ lovely lilac dresses that attracted me to the wedding in the first instance. Add to this a stunning bride, fabulous blooms and an impressive venue and you’ve got all the ingredients for an incredibly swoon-worthy wedding.
With images by EverThine Photography.
Mia says: We got engaged on our fifth anniversary of being together when we were celebrating at a spa hotel. Rob got down on one knee and proposed in the hotel room before we went out for a beautiful dinner at a restaurant overlooking the Thames.
We set the date for Saturday 16 August 2014 as we wanted to get married after I’d graduated. We choose the summer because we both wanted an outdoor ceremony.
We both grew up in Yorkshire and knew we wanted to get married back there even though we were both living in London at the time. My mum came across our venue, Saltmarshe Hall pretty quickly which was great. It’s a beautiful venue in Howden, a gorgeous stately home with lovely gardens and surrounded by countryside – it feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere, which was perfect for us. The house itself is stunning and has lots of different rooms downstairs that can be used for different things and with the gardens it gave us the freedom to do what we wanted which was an outdoor ceremony (depending on the weather). It had just been bought by new owners and opened for weddings the year before so that was very lucky for us!
We didn’t really have a theme for the wedding. We wanted to get married outside so we started by basing things around a garden ceremony, like having a simple dress and bridesmaid dresses and natural flowers. The hall itself is stunning so didn’t need much decorating, just small details and then we went with our own choices so having black tie and summer dresses for the dress code and our own choice of music and the vows and readings within the ceremony to make it personal.
I love pastel colours and decided on lilac for the bridesmaid dresses because it’s a really pretty colour. The colour scheme wasn’t strict; we just had a range of pastels because it kept with the idea of a garden wedding and suited it being in summer. The bridesmaid dresses were all slightly different shades of lilac, the flowers were creams, pale pinks and lilacs and then the table decorations were pale pink, lilac, pale blue and mint green
I had an idea in my head of what dress I wanted. Quite simple, nothing too big (as I am quite short) and with it being quite a simple ceremony in summer I wanted something suitable to that – light and comfortable. After A LOT of shopping, which was fun but got frustrating after a while, I found my dress in a shop in Beverley called Bridal Reloved. Kate there sells second hand and sample dresses, so beautiful dresses with a reduction. She was so helpful and honest about everything. I knew I wanted white/cream with some lace, and I really wanted an open/pretty back. I think the dress I chose was the perfect dress because it had all those things but was also something different that I hadn’t seen before. It was simple but still ‘wedding’ enough and had stunning details like the lace edge at the bottom and cross straps at the back. My veil was something borrowed from my oldest sister Lauren, who got married the year before me, and my shoes were cream lace peep toes from Next. For my something blue my sister India sewed a little blue tag into the inside of my dress with the wedding date and our names on the front and inside was a sixpence given to me from the lady who sold me the dress, for good luck.
Rob wore a black dinner suit from House of Fraser with a dicky bow. He also wore blue superman socks, which were a little wedding present from me.
My bridesmaids all chose their own dresses. I said I wanted lilac but wanted them to be comfortable and find something that they loved and that suited them. They were all slightly different shades of lilac and different lengths and styles that showed off their personalities and own styles. The groomsmen all hired black dinner suits from Slaters in Hull with black dicky bows.
Lucy and Nate Aspray at EverThine Photography did our photography. I would absolutely recommend them to anyone. I’ve known Lucy for a long time as she is best friends with my sister so it was lovely to have someone I knew there taking the photos. She is very talented and takes stunning photos. We asked for very natural shots of the day, wanted the small details captured and asked for a few specific shots – for example I wanted a photo of my bridesmaids and me holding the bouquets over our faces. They really made everyone feel comfortable and took great photos but without imposing. Looking back through them they captured the happiness of the day perfectly and I hardly remember most of the photos being taken!
Gill Tomkinson, a local florist/plant seller from Broomfleet, did my bouquet and the bridesmaid bouquets. I asked for natural, hand held bouquets which were lilac with some pale pinks and creams tied together with lace. She did an amazing job and did the button-holes and corsages for the wedding party which were beautiful and really suited the garden/outdoor style.
The venue flowers were by Hannah from Vintage Rose, a florist from Newport. Again I asked for lilacs, pale pinks and creams and I wanted some gypsophila and roses – the lilac roses were particularly stunning! The table flowers were in little milk bottles and there were hanging jam jars of flowers on the sides of the seats in the ceremony. The rest of the decoration was all done by me pretty much. I painted wooden numbers in pastels for the tables, and blackboard hanging hearts for the place names. Rob wanted photos of us at each of the tables so on table one there was a picture of us both at aged one, right up to table seven. We used those photos for the table plan, tea lights and photos of us as decoration around the venue, lace bunting made by my sister India and a wedding sign made by my sister Talitha and an old painted suitcase to hold our cards.
As a special touch Rob and I wrote our own vows and chose the readings from film quotes and lyrics that we loved, which made it really personal.
We enjoyed the whole day so much! It was great to see it all come together after a year-and-a-half of planning, and to share it with family and friends. I think my favourite part was the ceremony – we got to have it outside which is what we both really wanted, it was so personal to us and it was just amazing to get to marry the love of my life and my best friend.
We had little chocolate heart lollipops as favours as well as the place names, which were blackboard hearts which could be hung up by lilac lace.
Jan Harker made the wedding cake, who is my best friend’s mum. We wanted a three-layer round cake with a layer of vanilla, chocolate and fruit cake. The icing was white with a ruffled effect, there was a bow on the middle layer and white roses on the top.
Croft Kitchen provided the catering for the day. We served canapés and prosseco after the ceremony and then had a sit down dinner with three courses. For starter we had Italian meats and anti pasti, for main rosemary chicken and vegetables and for dessert mini banoffee pies (Rob’s favourite pudding).
We would definitely recommend all our suppliers including the venue. The food by Croft Kitchen was lovely, well presented and a very reasonable price. Vintage Rose and Gill Tomkinson did exactly what we wanted them to and the flowers were stunning. EverThine Photography captured the day perfectly, we are so so happy with the photographs and have had many compliments on them. Saltmarshe Hall is a beautiful venue and with the many rooms and gardens it really is left open for you to do what you want with it. The owner Kate was so great and suggested vendors and ideas but also allowed us to do what we wanted with our special day.
We went to Riviera Maya in Mexico for two weeks for our honeymoon. We both love the sun and spent a fortnight in a gorgeous hotel and laid on the beach, just relaxing after the wedding and spending time together. It was perfect.
We were on quite a tight budget with our wedding. The advice I would give to other Brides Up North would be don’t settle with what you first find. Sometimes it takes a lot of time and a lot of frustrating hours sat at a computer or on the phone to find the right thing but researching and looking is the only way to find it and it’s definitely worth it.
Personally I loved planning it and being involved, it was stressful at times but being able to make things like the table decorations was a lot of fun and I felt really proud on the wedding day when I saw everything together.
October 24th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I honestly can’t quite fathom it, but our very last Brides Up North event of 2014 is upon us. What an abso-effin-loutely amazing whirlwind of a season it’s been. Our best yet.
But we’re going out in style, with more than a good sprinkle of vintage sparkle! *Does dance* The finest North West vintage wedding industry talent will be descending upon The Bowdon Rooms, Altrincham, for our fourth Luxury and Vintage Wedding Exhibition at this unique and authentic vintage venue next Sunday 2nd November 2014!
I don’t know about you, but I feel like a bit of a party…
the bowdon rooms
Brides Up North Luxury & Vintage Wedding Exhibition
The Firs, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 2TQ
Sunday 27th April 2014
12pm till 4pm
This brilliant, exclusive use venue is as fun as it is special, with it’s high ceilings, sparkling drapes, ornate fireplaces and perfectly sprung dance floor. Dancing shoes at the ready! If you are looking for a bespoke and private wedding venue with a little added period pizazz, it’s your lucky day.
We’re giving away up to 150 free Bride To Be goody bags, filled with glossy magazines, treats from Brides Up North, exclusive offers and some little pressies from our sponsors John Lewis Cheadle & Love Hearts. As demand is high, to pick up your VIP bag all you need to do is pre-register using the form below.
While stocks last only.
We had such a fantastic time at our last three events at this beautiful venue – these images were snapped by Martin Hambleton Photography – and can’t wait to do it all again, with a host of great suppliers ready to make your big day into the stuff of your dreams.
Like everything vintagey, these events just get better and better with age. It’s going to be even fabulous this time around. You need to be there.
The venue’s helpful team will be on hand to answer your queries and take bookings (form an orderly queue please!) and I’ll be there to talk wedding pretty till I’m hoarse. I genuinely love this venue and am really excited to see my gorgeous readers there. Please do seek me out and say hello, I adore hearing about your plans.
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October 23rd, 2014 | Julia Braime
Sian and Stu’s outdoor wedding is full of individuality, meaningful touches, casually cool couture and fun. A bride who carries a textbook bouquet and plans a laboratory style bar for her guests is absolutely my kind of geek.
With images by Chelsea Shoesmith.
Sian says: We got engaged just before Christmas 2012 back where I grew up in Anglesey, and we were married on 23rd August 2014. We were lucky enough to be able to choose the summer bank holiday, with the intention of our families, who would be travelling, to be able to enjoy the long weekend.
We had the wedding ceremony at Heaton House Farm, and the reception in a nearby field owned by Fairborough’s Farm. We love the beautiful scenery in the Peak District and the Staffordshire Dales. We were very keen on having the Tipis for the reception, and centered our search on finding venues with outdoor spaces with great views, which we found in spades in Rushton Spencer. The Tipis were provided by Peak Tipis.
I was keen on keeping the decor and styling quite rustic and natural in order to keep in line with the look and feel of the Tipis. We also wanted to feature a bit of science and chemistry, as both of our careers are chemistry based. It was a fun little juxtaposition with all of the natural elements.
I picked the colour scheme – neutrals with blue accents – to inject a bit more colour into the decor of the Tipi without looking at odds with the the colour of the canvas.
I fell in love with infinity dresses while looking for a bridesmaid dress that would suit all three of my very different bridesmaids. I found Coralie Beatrix on Etsy who also makes bridal infinity dresses and loved the idea of being able to wear the dress in different ways as the day went on, and being able to choose complementing shades for my bridesmaids. My own dress was actually custom made for me by my mum, Linda, which is amazing to have something so personal.
For the boys, we chose Edinburgh Woollen Mill waistcoats, BHS trousers, Burton shirts and stag head lapel pins from River Island. We wanted something more relaxed and casual than the traditional suits, whist still looking put together.
My bouquet was made out of pages of an old chemistry textbook, glued together rather messily by me and my mum in the dead of night a few days before the wedding. I loved being able to make as much as I could for the wedding, but I did superglue my fingers together on several occasions on this particular project!
We met with a few photographers and found Chelsea Shoesmith who has worked at the venue may times before, which gave us a lot of confidence. Of the photographers we met, she had the perfect balance of professionalism and friendliness, and throughout the planning process and the wedding day put us at ease and got the best out of us. She was totally on board and enthusiastic about doing a ‘First Look’ photo shoot too. This allowed Stu and I to see each other just before the ceremony and calm our (his) nerves and get some portrait shots in, leaving us with more time after the ceremony to get the group shots done and get back to the day. I’d recommend this to any couple who aren’t fussed about only seeing each other coming down the aisle for the first time; we aren’t traditional in that sense. I’d recommend Chelsea to anyone, and already have!
Glass jars were collected for me by various people and we decorated them ourselves using various techniques, including authentic Trearddur Bay sand collected by my niece in the summer. I found so many amazing ideas on Pinterest but had to reign myself in and only use a few to keep things looking cohesive! The bunting and cutlery sleeves were made by Stu’s mum Lynn and were some of people’s favourite features (a lot went missing)! We have kept some bunting and plan on putting it up in our first nursery as a little reminder of the day.
The first concrete decision I made about the wedding was that instead of giving our guests favours, I wanted to make a donation to Cancer Research UK. Like all families, we have lost and won battles with cancer and I know that all of our guests would appreciate the gesture.
My sister Rachel’s chocolate orange cake has long been one of my favourites, and asking her to bake our wedding cake was a total no-brainer. We had four layers: chocolate orange, carrot cake, lemon drizzle and vanilla sponge. We also have an amazing log cake board cut and engraved by my uncle. I’m going to have to start baking in order to use it again!
We had a barbecue consisting of lamb, ribs and sausages, salads and breads supplied by Vanilla in All Seasons. I think the best testimony we can give was that one of my friends had to be sent back to the table as he was up for second helpings within minutes before everyone had even been fed! In the end I think there were some people going back for thirds… fourths… fifths…
We supplied the drinks ourselves, with a master plan of having a chemistry lab/bar set up. In the end it wasn’t as grand as we first set out, as it turns out some of the lab glassware was extremely fragile! We also had mini-kegs of beer from Stewart’s donated from our friends Charlotte and Jamie after being a big hit at their own Tipi wedding.
For the ceremony music we had string and instrumental versions of a couple of our favourite songs by Incubus and The Cure. I think there were only a few people who noticed!
We also asked our friends’ band to play, and they ended up doing an acoustic set with a few of their own songs and a few covers that they knew we’d like, then played a carefully selected playlist in the evening. It was tough to put together as there were people with very different music tastes, but I think we managed to pull it off pretty well. We actually shared the wedding playlist with our friends afterwards, too.
During the day we had a few outdoor toys, bubble machines etc for the kids (and big kids) to play with, which they loved.
I would recommend this venue to any couple, especially those who just doesn’t get excited by the ‘standard’ weddings they see, and want to shape their own day.
I realised the time half an hour before I knew we were supposed to finish and pack up, and I was desperate for it not to end; for it to carry on with us all singing and dancing. There were little details that hadn’t gone exactly to plan or that I hadn’t thought of, and I knew that none of them mattered at all because I’d just had so much fun all day with all the people that I love most around me, and I could see how much fun everyone else was having, too.
With the money generously gifted to us by our guests, we went on a last minute all-inclusive holiday to Cyprus, where we both got to put our feet up and plan absolutely nothing after the stress on planning the wedding!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be that I’ve been assured that it’s normal to feel like you haven’t spent enough time with each guest – although I certainly tried!
October 22nd, 2014 | Julia Braime
It’s been a phenomenal year for us here at Brides Up North HQ so far. A brand new look, more fabulous sponsors getting behind us than ever before, a fan-blooming-tastic spring and autumn exhibition schedule, and a hat-trick of awards nominations!
I’ve said it (wistfully!) before, but I used to think a blogger’s life would go a little like this: sleep late, RSVP to a few party invitations, full hair and make up, coffee with beautiful industry friends, a bit of light writing, meet the husband for cocktails and skip off to bed… how wrong I was.
Running and writing a full editorial schedule, organising and styling shoots, managing twenty wedding exhibitions, sales, admin, marketing, keeping on top of a mountain of emails, taxes, VAT, meetings with sponsors, working on new projects, liaising with the press and PRs, freelance features, social media, venue visits whilst simultaneously nurturing a young family… and remembering to brush your hair in the morning. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, It’s fun, fulfilling, exciting and no day is ever the same. But its not quite the Carrie Bradshaw life I thought it might be.
So it’s with pride and pleasure that I celebrate the fabulous bits.
I’ve already told you about our reaching the finals in the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards, and our “Highly Commended” accolade in the “Best City Blog” category in The Wedding Blog Awards, and now there’s just one glitzy ceremony left to attend!
Perfect Wedding Magazine have gone and absolutely made my year, by shortlisting us in the “Best Wedding Blog” category in their prestigious industry awards.
Despite all the events, networking parties and the constant conversation on social media, blogging can be a pretty secular profession, so this support really does mean a lot. It tells me that you like what I do, what I’m striving towards and that I should keep on doing it.
I’ve shared this exciting news already on the blog, but as the voting closing date approaches next week, I’d be ever so grateful if you could spare a sec or two to vote for Brides Up North. The line up in our category is pretty stellar, so this Northern Revolution needs some people power.
(If you needed any encouragement, every person that does is entered into a special draw to win an amazing one-night break for themselves and a guest at one of 18 luxurious spa venues in the UK, a delicious three-course evening meal, breakfast, a 60-minute spa treatment for each guest and a cream tea courtesy of Q Hotels. Nice.)
Voting closes 29th October 2014.
October 22nd, 2014 | Julia Braime
Today’s real wedding is something special. A little bit wild, a teeny bit untamed, but altogether natural and entirely beautiful.
I’m completely in love with Kate and Mike’s happy go lucky approach to planning their gorgeous big day and the oh so pretty result.
With images by Chris Parkinson Photography.
Kate says: We got engaged on a bench at Kew Gardens on October 18th. We were living in London at the time and it was raining on the day, so I was pretty sceptical about a picnic at Kew – especially as Newcastle United were on TV. But Mike convinced me the rain didn’t matter so we headed out with a rucksack. Mid afternoon we picked a bench for our picnic and Mike knelt down in the wet grass with a beautiful ring – 2 rings intertwined with 22 diamonds, I have a bit of an obsession with even numbers! I’m sure he never doubted that I’d say yes.
We got married on 8th August 2014 at St Philip and St James Church in Witton-le-wear. I have lived there since I was a little girl, so it was really important to me that we were married at that church. The morning we got married the village green was lined with people waving and wishing us well!
Because we got married in the village church the ceremony was filled with special touches, a poem my mum wrote and a reading from Mike’s father, and my next door neighbour rang the church bells. Olive and John opened the Dun Cow, our local pub, for all our friends to gather before the service.
The reception was at Lumley Castle in Chester-le-Street. We booked the venue without ever having seen it, as we were living in London at the time. We sent our Mums along to check it out and trusted their judgement completely. It was great seeing the castle for the first time knowing that was where we would be having our reception, as we got to experience it through the eyes of our guests.
We never planned on having a theme and were just picking stuff we liked. Then at the church the vicar gave a sermon and commented upon the proposal at Kew Gardens, the wild flowers, hand dried confetti and floral illustrations on the order of service, and at that point we realised that maybe there had been a theme without us realising. The whole day had a bit of a pagan feel to it, from the flowers and dress to the centrepieces and castle.
There was a lot of green and pink in our colour scheme with the combinations of wild and botanical flowers, but that happened by accident.
Mu dress was from Happily Ever After in Darlington. It was the third one I tried on. I just felt really comfortable in it and I wanted something that didn’t cover my tattoo. I’ve always loved flowers and wear them in my hair all summer, so the floral detail at the waist band was what attracted me to the dress.
My bouquet was from Eliza Blooms in Darlington. She was just fantastic and really understood the natural, unstructured look I wanted. Daisies and pink peonies were the main flowers, with lots of greenery.
Mike wore a traditional suit from Moss Bros, with a sage green pocket scarf and cravat. He looked hot!
The bridesmaid’s also wore dresses from Happily Ever After. The girls loved the mesh detail at the neckline and the flared layers. The groomsmen also wore suits from Moss Bros, but they ditched the cravat and waistcoat for the evening!
We travelled in a vintage Rolls Royce, which was hired from Elite Cars in Etherley. The driver was actually my dad’s mechanic and he was great! He had a constant stream of polos and jokes to keep up relaxed.
We arranged a vintage bus to take our guests from the church to Lumley castle, which we booked by making a donation to the North East Bus Preservation Trust. It was a beautiful bus and we bought a crate of mini prosecco for our guests to drink on the journey!
Chris Parkinson was our photographer. He lives in the village and was recommended by a friend. I love his photographs, they are really different and very artistic. I am quite creative so it was great to meet someone who I knew would do something original. The photographs are so lovely and so unique, it really feels like he captured the essence of the day.
My mum and I picked the flowers for the church the morning before in a wild meadow near our village. It’s a memory I will never forget: of me and my mum amongst a field of wild flowers, grasses and hundreds of butterflies. My mum’s friends brought flowers from their gardens to decorate the church. The pew ends were made of poppies, corn flowers and ferns and then the arrangements consisted of daisies, cow parsley and dried grasses.
Mike and I made the woodland centerpieces ourselves. We went to the beach with Mike’s father and his wife to collect driftwood, then arranged these amongst ferns, succulents, birds nests, orchids and moss. We wanted the centrepieces to look like they had just been lifted from the forest floor.
My mum and dad made all of the confetti. It was lovingly hand dried petal by petal. It was stunning when everyone threw the confetti – 20 seconds that had taken 9 months of preparation!
We didn’t have favours – we bought everyone an extra glass of wine!
The cake was from Marks & Spencer – a beautiful surprise from my mum!
We would definitely recommend Lumley Castle. It was so well organised and that’s exactly what we wanted planning a wedding from London. Our wedding coordinators were lovely and really understood what elements of the day were important to us.
We loved the ceremony, it was just so special to have it in the village church. We both thought we’d be such a mess and wouldn’t be able to stop crying, but we just smiled and laughed our way through.
The first dance was also pretty special. We chose ‘She Bangs The Drums’ by the Stone Roses. About a minute into the song we realised we couldn’t get away with swaying along to the music so all our friends joined in. After seeing the Stone Roses live with our friends a couple of years ago it felt extra special to relive the moment.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to smile and don’t get hung up on the small stuff, it really doesn’t matter. Spend as much time together as possible on the day and if it doesn’t go as according to plan laugh if off!
October 20th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Now, I’m a girl who loves her fashion. And bridal fashion? The best type there is.
As a result, one of the highlights of my year is always my annual pilgrimage to the capital every spring, to check out the newest collections from the big name bridal design houses as they debut their latest offerings to assembled trade and press visitors.
FROW. It’s the only way to go (dahlings).
One of the most anticipated openings in my schedule is always the suzanne neville show at the historic Tower of London. What this talented lady delivers with shape, structure and fabric is always delectable, and this season’s ‘Novello’ Collection for 2015 didn’t disappoint.
Suzanne Neville is known for creating elegant fashion forward gowns with a real wow factor. Every couture gown is beautifully hand cut and individually made in London, overseen by Suzanne herself. Frequently requested for red carpet events and television shows, the incredibly flattering dresses are always in demand.
I’m proud to share this beautiful selection of dresses with you today. The images are a selection of official shots and my iPhone candids from my catwalk-side seat back in April.
Suzanne Neville say: Modern clean lines work in harmony with clever construction, in ultimate luxury fabrics with gowns such as the satin bias cut ‘Chelsea’ and the effortlessly chic ‘Brompton’.The detail is in the cut and the design, with fabrics sourced to compliment the fall of the gown in true Suzanne Neville style. Other highlights include gowns such as ‘Grosvenor’ with its classic silk organza skirt and contrasting French lace long sleeved bodice.
For more, and details of Suzanne Neville’s stockists, click here to visit the official site.
October 18th, 2014 | Julia Braime
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