March 6th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Today’s real wedding saw Jess and Rob pull off the mean feat of a Valentine’s Day wedding without the cheese. Instead of succumbing to Love Hearts and an all-out pink colour scheme, the bride opted for a tea-length polka-dot dress and timeless, elegant shades of silvery blue and dove grey.
Ready for a chic urban wedding that shines with love? We are.
With photography by Brides Up North Sponsor Mark Newton Weddings.
jess says: We got engaged on Christmas Day 2015 after around eight years together. I didn’t think it was going to happen as Rob had given me all my gifts in the morning and he waited until midnight to propose. It happened at home, which was lovely as I didn’t really want a big fuss.
Our wedding date was 14th February 2016 – Valentine’s Day! We didn’t really choose the date as such; it needed to be in half term as I’m a teacher, and we preferred a Sunday. So it just happened to be Valentine’s Day!
We got married at Great John Street Hotel in Manchester city centre. Rob and I knew we wanted something different and quite urban, so I decided to go along to the wedding open evening. I never imagined that we could afford such a beautiful venue but the packages that they offer there are very good value for money.
The venue itself is just stunning! We got married up on the rooftop, which is gorgeous. It’s such a modern and elegant hotel, it really suited us perfectly.
There was no set theme for the wedding but we constantly reminded ourselves that this was our day. It’s very easy to get caught up in what other people want but we tried to make our decisions for us. Also, we wanted a less traditional day so we tried to make our choices as unique and individual as possible.
Although it was Valentine’s Day, we wanted to avoid the obvious reds and pinks so we decided on greys and blues. I didn’t want everything to match perfectly so I just picked any variation of blue or grey that I liked. We also wanted hints of blue to incorporate our love of our football team – Leicester City!
My wedding dress also followed the ‘non-traditional’ direction we were taking; I always knew I didn’t want a full-length dress. A shorter dress always felt more ‘me’ and I wanted to feel like myself. My beautiful dress was made to measure by a wonderful shop in Nottingham called Frock. Esther who runs the shop was amazing throughout the whole process and the dress was nothing less than perfect. For any bride wanting a tea length dress, Frock is a must!
December 2nd, 2016 | Laura McDonagh
Today’s chic city real wedding simply exudes elegance. There’s a stunning Maggie Sottero dress, a gorgeous autumnal colour palette and an organic, woodland theme.
There was also plenty of personality to this stylish wedding too, with nods to the groom’s love of owls, Cockney rhyming slang table names and a real ale special brew called ‘Old Legover’!
With images by Olivia Brabbs Photography
rachel says: Robin’s proposal centred around an owl theme. He has a particular passion for owls – since he was a child he collected all things owl. It has turned into a running joke that owls are literally taking over our house, so it was no surprise that they featured quite heavily in Robin’s proposal. Robin went to great lengths to set out an owl-themed treasure hunt, which went on for a few weeks (!) and, led by a number of clues, I found Robin under the ‘Owl of Justice’ – a carved owl that can be found at the back of the Civic Hall in Leeds, where Robin proposed and we later got married.
Our wedding date was the 9th September 2016. We both love autumn and wanted a natural earthy wedding. The weather also always seems to be lovely in Leeds in September, so we were lucky to secure the date when we did.
We got married in the Banqueting Hall in the Civic Hall in Leeds city centre. We chose the venue for obvious reasons (hello gold owls!) but we were both so stunned at how beautiful the hall is once you get inside. We even decided to have a drinks reception after the ceremony to make the most of our time there. We really wanted to have our reception somewhere close to where we got married and settled on the Devonshire Hall in Headingley, to have our party; an amazingly grand hall of residence, which forms part of the University of Leeds. We loved the blank canvas of the dining hall and the design of the building is so lovely with the cloisters and outside space. We both got a great feel from the place when we visited so it was an easy decision.
In terms of theme, we’re big lovers of the great outdoors and our vision was for a woodland/autumnal/natural style of wedding. If we’d been brave enough (and my mum had allowed us!) we’d have had our reception in the woods, so this was a good compromise.
Our colour scheme was navy and gold and, fitting with the autumnal theme, the groomsmen wore navy suits with a variety of dark gold and burnt orange accessories. My sister is a personal stylist so she helped choose the bridesmaid dresses, and navy is a gorgeous universal colour that looks great on everyone. I’m also a big fan of a bit of sparkle so gold shoes were a must!
If I’m honest, I wasn’t entirely looking forward to the wedding dress shopping – I had no idea what I wanted and felt a bit nervous about it all. When I walked into the first bridal shop (the wonderful Bridal Boutique in Baildon) I knew that the first dress that I saw would be the one I’d wear. I tried on all sorts of different styles anyway – and was surprised by how much I loved the huge princess dresses! But I settled for the first dress: Vidonia by Maggie Sottero. Such gorgeous detailing and I felt so comfortable in it, I knew it had to be the one. I cancelled my next booking!
The bridesmaids wore A-line navy dresses from Coast and they each chose their own gold shoes. As a thank you for being my best women, I got them all engraved bangles made by the fab Libby Jubb Jewellery. They had a little birdy charm on them which matched the turtle doves I wore in my hair. Hannah De Ath and Annabel Bailey also did a fantastic job with hair and make-up and made my mum, bridesmaids and me feel like a million dollars.
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February 12th, 2015 | Julia Braime
I do love a stunning piece of architecture and clearly so too do today’s real wedding couple Kate and Chris, who picked Manchester’s beautiful Palace Hotel in which to tie the knot.
Its regal marble floors, wood panelling and domed ceiling provided a stunning backdrop for the couple’s vows and evening reception. During the day the new Mr and Mrs headed out onto the streets of Manchester with their photographer James Tracey, for some edgy urban shots which contrast beautifully with those taken inside The Palace.
In addition to a great location, highlights of Kate and Chris’s big day include an opulent colour scheme, delicious food and toe-tapping entertainment. Enjoy!
With images by James Tracey Photography.
kate says: We got engaged on Christmas Day 2013. I had an idea Chris might propose but when I opened all my presents and there was no ring I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. However later in the day Chris surprised me by asking me to marry him and gave me a beautiful ring. As it was Christmas it was great being with family to help celebrate our engagement.
Our wedding date was 4th October 2014. We knew we wanted a local wedding but we weren’t too bothered about it being in the summer months as you can’t guarantee the British weather. Instead we decided on early October as it was just out of season but we though the weather wouldn’t be too wintery.
We got married at The Palace Hotel in Manchester city centre. We wanted our ceremony and reception all in one venue but wanted to find somewhere with character which is why we both loved The Palace Hotel. As soon as we walked into the hotel and saw the domed ceiling we both knew it was right for us. We also thought that the hotel would be a great backdrop for our photographs in case the weather was really bad and we couldn’t have any outside, but luckily on the day we were able to get a mixture of both.
I’d definitely recommend The Palace Hotel as a wedding venue. It’s a beautiful setting for a wedding and the layout works really well. We liked the fact that the ceremony room was separate to where we had our wedding breakfast and the bar area had plenty of space for all the guests. The wedding organisers were very helpful, and on the day the service and staff were great. We didn’t have to worry about anything which is what you want on your wedding day.
When looking for wedding inspiration I loved rich, jewel colours, which I thought would be perfect for an autumnal wedding rather than the more pastel shades that you often see in spring and summer. We decided to go for two colours in the end, a deep purple and a teal colour. The teal bridesmaid dresses were the first things I bought and I thought matching the exact colour of the dresses might be difficult which is why we introduced the purple colour. I loved the fact we had two colours and that everything didn’t have to match.
I love sparkles and lace so my wedding dress was the perfect combination of both. The dress was by Ellis from the Blossom Collection. I bought it from Timeless Bride in Poynton. Janine, the owner, is lovely and made the whole experience really great. I saw the dress on the shop’s website and when I tried it on I knew it was the one! I loved the keyhole back design and little details such as the staggered button back and the floral gem waistband, which made it different to other dresses I tried on.
Chris chose his own suit and I didn’t see it until the morning of the wedding! He did a brilliant job. He wore a navy blue morning suit with a dove grey waistcoat and gold tie. He hired the suit from Swarbricks but bought his shirt and tie from Charles Tyrwhitt.
My four best friends who were my bridesmaids wore floor-length teal dresses from Coast. I actually got them in the January sales so they were a great bargain. The groomsmen wore the same navy blue morning suits and grey waistcoat as Chris. We also bought the shirts and ties for them but they wore purple ties rather than gold.
A soon as I booked the wedding I knew I wanted Donna Crompton at The Halo Rooms to do mine and my bridesmaids’ hair. She’s fantastic at up dos and is great for ideas and inspiration. Donna also put me in touch with Louise Elliott, a freelance makeup artist who did my makeup on the day. It was great being pampered on the morning of the wedding and not having to worry about anything.
I decided I didn’t want to spend a lot on transport to the venue so I travelled in a black cab to the hotel with my brother who gave me away. My bridesmaids followed behind in a separate taxi. Chris stayed at the Palace Hotel the night before the wedding so he had no excuses for being late!
We used James Tracey Photography for our photos, who we booked after he photographed my brother’s wedding the previous year. We loved James’ style of photography; he’s really friendly but also very professional and talented. He captured our day perfectly and we are so pleased with the lasting memories of our wedding day. We ended up with a great mix of more traditional and contemporary photos, especially the ones he took around Manchester city centre. I’d absolutely recommend James.
Before the wedding, I had a craft day with my bridesmaids where we created our bouquets. I liked that with artificial flowers I could create exactly what I wanted and not be restricted by what was available in terms of types of flowers and colours. It was also a cheaper alternative to fresh flowers and I’m able to keep my bouquet forever.
The Palace Hotel was great and helped with setting up our room on the day of the wedding. I had in my mind how I wanted the room to look and they recreated it perfectly. I provided mirrors, tea lights and scatter crystals for the guests’ tables and the hotel provided the candelabra. For the top table we had floating candles in glass vases as well as my bridesmaid bouquets. We also used Divine Designs who provided white chair covers with a purple sash to finish the room off.
Our favours also doubled up as our name places. Each guest had their name printed on a traditional sweetshop paper bag which we filled with a few pick ‘n’ mix sweets. Keeping on the sweet theme, our wedding cake was a gift from Chris’ parents. It was made by Joanne Howson at Imagicakes. It was three tiers – chocolate, lemon and carrot cake in a ‘bling and rose’ design. It looked stunning but it also tasted delicious!
We both love music and knew we wanted some sort of entertainment for our evening reception. In the end we booked the Live Lounge Duo who are Danny Lee and Gary Kirk. They played a great mix of songs that got everyone up on the dance floor straight away. As part of our package they also provided a DJ, which was great for keeping the party going until late.
We also had a photo booth set up for the evening reception, which was great fun. All the guests enjoyed getting dressed up with the props they provide. The photos are printed instantly which was perfect as the guests all went home with a memento from the wedding. We hired the booth for a couple of hours from Phil Burdge at Digi-booth.net.
It’s hard to say my favourite part of the day as I really did love every minute of it, it’s such a special feeling. I think we both enjoyed the evening reception when the party got started. It’s so nice to have all your friends and family together celebrating with you and having a good time.
We went on a two week road trip to Las Vegas and California as we wanted an action packed honeymoon. We spent five nights in Vegas and then flew to San Diego for a couple of nights. From there we drove up the Pacific highway stopping at various places such as LA and Santa Barbara before we reached San Francisco for the last part of our honeymoon. It was amazing!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be decide on the things that matter the most to you both about your day and spend your wedding budget on these things. It’s easy to get carried away and stress over things that won’t even matter to you on the day. Most of all, remember to enjoy it and have fun!
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