August 2nd, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
For our latest lookbook post, we’re taking lead from gossip mags’ favourite and reigning Brides Up North gym inspiration Pippa Middleton – seriously though, I would swap one of my legs for those biceps. Sigh.
Prior to the wedding of the year, fashion commentators consulted their crystal balls and clamoured to predict the style the Duchess’ little sister would go for – arguably it was all a bit more, well, interesting than the 2011 debate about Kate’s dress decisions because so much (length, sleeves, modest front) is set in stone for a Royal bride. Pippa however, could freestyle it a little – and so she did, surprising the world’s media with her unexpectedly classic Giles Deacon princess gown.
We’ve already fully dissected the new Mrs James Matthews’ bridal style in a Get The Look special, but today we’re zooming in on one of the key details of her stunning frock: namely, the high-neck. We’ve been thinking: what inspiration is out there (other than the £40,000 bespoke designer option, obvs) for a girl who wants a lot of front in her frock?
Main feature images from Julie Vino.
Well, first up is Ersa Atelier, with their to-die-for designs from Bucharest. Sisters Gabriela and Cristina make much artful use of the high-neck in their most recent collections and the results are just – well, see for yourself. Serena with its delicate beaded and detailed sleeved top and plain waisted frothy skirt gives the impression of separates and pulls off the almost impossible feat of being both regal and ‘fashiony’. Pea is at the opposite end of the formality spectrum and is everything its short ‘n’ sweet appellation suggests, with its dropped waist and simple crochet-style fabric. Celie, with its glorious Art Deco-style scallops, speaks of another era, and its high-neck almost looks like a little lace collar – statement and simplicity all at once. If you’re a fan of the high-neck, this collection demands closer inspection.
Jesus Peiro’s current collection also embraces high-necks but takes the look in a slightly different direction. Dresses 7019 and 7002 – the first a halter-neck with a draped sash and large bow at the waist, the second a breathtakingly simple origami-style bodice with subtly slashed neckline and full-on princess skirt – are almost sculptural in design and certainly current rather than classic in feel. Dress 7074 is more conventional – delicate lace overlay and elbow-length sleeves balanced by a mermaid flare – but no less attention-grabbing. The Nanda Devi collection heads for more ethereal territory, so if a Midsummer Night’s Dream-slash-fairytale vibe is your bag, JP’s website is definitely worth a trawl: drifting skirts, pretty lace crop tops and full-length lace sleeves abound. Dreamy bridal design brilliance.
You might be forgiven for thinking that ‘high-necked’ as a descriptor automatically aligns itself with ‘modest’ or even ‘prudish’, and that a high-necked dress is definitely a distant cousin of ‘modern bride’ and even further removed from ‘sexy bride’. Allow us to dispel all misconceptions with Julie Vino’s daring Napoli, Roma and Venice collections. Here we see the modesty of the high neck neutered with plunging backs, daring sheer panels, Swarovski and exposed shoulders – what on earth would Ms Middleton think?
And finally, in more situations than I’d like to admit I find myself asking the question “what would Vera Wang do?” and, in the case of designing a wedding gown for her Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 collections, the answer seems to have frequently been “put a high-neck on it”. Thank you, Vera, for showing us the way with the halter-neck wonderfulness of the Galilea, the all-over lace glamour of the Cecile and the wow-factor of Clemence’s peasant gown perfection. Inspiration overload.
June 20th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely. Usual service will recommence on Monday 3rd July 2017 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from the first half of the year so far.
Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your real wedding was one of our top picks.
Dressed in a gorgeous Vera Wang mermaid style gown, Laura looked every inch the beautiful bride. And with a dreamy palette of rose, blush pink and champagne combined with a dazzling sprinkle of gold – this, we think, is a wedding exuding all things classically chic and romantic.
With images by Fairclough Photography.
laura says: For his proposal, Ryan booked us a night away at Weston Hall in Stafford, as he knew how much I loved it there. When we checked into our lovely room I was hanging out of the window admiring the view of the terrace (dreaming of one day getting married there) then when I turned around he was on one knee with a huge grin on his face holding the most perfect ring! At first I thought he was joking but soon enough realised what he was actually asking. After all the crying, I remembered I to say yes!
The morning after the night before we went down for breakfast and I asked to see the Wedding planner at Weston Hall – there’s no time like the present, right?
We knew we wanted a spring wedding so didn’t hesitate to book for the 27th May 2016, this was the Friday before the bank holiday and knew it was the perfect date! May is one of my favourite months, too, I just love spring and know there can be some beautiful sunny days in the month of May.
We got married at the prettiest church just down the road from Weston Hall, called St Andrews. Whenever we had drove past we always admired how quaint it looked. With all the beautiful blossom trees lining the church path, it seemed too perfect having the wedding ceremony there then afterwards celebrating at Weston Hall.
We didn’t have a theme as such, all I knew was that I wanted it to look timeless and Weston Hall gave me the perfect backdrop to do so.
I chose a romantic colour palette consisting of rose, blush pink, nudes, champagne and lots of gold for a bit of glamour! I had these colours in mind from the beginning so when I found the bridesmaid dresses it all followed from there.
I tried on what felt like hundreds of wedding dresses, realising that the mermaid style was what I really wanted. I had always loved the Vera Wang Gemma dress and had it at the back on my mind, so I decided to go for it as I was only going to get married once – and I am pleased that I did! When I tried it on, nothing compared; I just knew that dress was made for me. I felt a million dollars! I teamed it with some stunning bespoke accessories from Joan Brown Vintage in Leek, Staffordshire, and some amazing Jimmy Choo’s to finish it all off!
Ryan wore a really nice navy blue three-piece fitted suit from Next’s Signature collection with a skinny navy blue tie, tan brogues and belt. He looked very dapper! The groomsmen wore the same Signature suits from Next as Ryan.
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March 14th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
After popping the question across the pond in sunny LA, Steve and his bride-to-be Amanda tied the knot at luxury Harrogate-based hotel, Rudding Park, in October 2016.
Wearing the most sublime Vera Wang gown, Amanda was the picture-perfect bride, with her gorgeous bridesmaids by her side in sophisticated grey maxi dresses.
We love it when a couple decide to get hands on and creative, and Amanda and Steve didn’t disappoint; making some of the key decorations and props for their special day, with the mother of the groom baking a stunning cake to match.
Truly elegant and understated – we think you’ll be just as smitten as us when you see all the precious highlights.
With images by Bethany Clarke.
amanda says: We got engaged when we were on holiday in the US. We had gone to New York for a few days, then flew to LA, where we then travelled over to Orange County to stay with some friends for a week. We then went from there to LA for a few days, which is where Steve proposed!
We were at the hotel waiting for our friends to join us and I had just woken up from an afternoon nap, when Steve got down on one knee! We then rang my mum to tell her the good news and she didn’t believe us! (We had been together for over eight years at this point, so I think she thought it was never going to happen!)
Our wedding date was 29th October 2016. We chose this date as – to be honest – we knew it would be cheaper than getting married in the summer and we both love autumn and the colours associated with it. There are also no expectations with the weather!
We got married at Rudding Park, Harrogate. We chose this venue as not only was it stunning with amazing food, but it was also reasonably priced and a good location for family and friends to easily travel to. We would highly recommend Rudding Park, they really helped make our day amazing and everything ran smoothly. The staff were all so lovely.
The colour theme for our big day was ivories and greens.
I wore an ivory strapless trumpet/mermaid gown by Vera Wang. I was really lucky as I managed to find one in my size on Still White, so I got it much cheaper than what it originally cost! I love Vera Wang’s designs and just loved the bottom of the dress – there were so many layers! I bought my shoes from Office and for the night do I changed into a Needle and Thread dress.
My bridesmaids wore grey multi-way maxi dresses. I chose these as all my bridesmaids loved them and felt comfortable as they could wear them slightly differently.
March 2nd, 2016 | Rachel Parry
Did someone say vera wang? That’s right, today’s beautiful bride tied the knot whilst wearing the top bridal designer’s sensational Lark gown, complete with delicate floral lace overlay and a show-stopping organza ruffle mermaid skirt. Just wow!
Other stylish elements of Katy and Warren’s big day include the maids’ beautiful sky blue dress, the men’s dapper grey suits and the pale, blousy blooms, to name but a few.
We’ll leave the talking to Katy…
With images by Adamskii Photography.
katy says: We got engaged whilst holidaying in Thailand over New Year. It was New Year’s Eve and Warren had organised for us to attend a party on a beach on the island of Koh Samui. He proposed at the stroke of midnight, after finding a quiet spot on the beach, whilst the fireworks were going off. It was so cute.
We set the date for 10th July 2015. We were keen to get married in the summer in the hope that it would be a warm day to allow us to make full use of the stunning outdoor space at our chosen venue (and what a beautiful summer’s day it was!)
We both wanted a traditional church wedding and we were lucky enough to be able to get married in the beautifully stunning St Paul’s Roman Catholic Church, in Alnwick. The long aisle allowed for a grand entrance and the striking stained glass window was a stunning backdrop. We were also fortunate that it was in close proximity to Newton Hall, where our reception was held.
We chose Newton Hall because it is traditional manor house with unique twist, which suited us perfectly. The reception room was amazing, with exposed brick walls and grand chandeliers overlooking the beautiful Northumberland countryside. The venue also hosted multiple outdoor areas – beautiful quiet and secluded grounds to the front of the house where we enjoyed our drinks reception and a cute outdoor terrace with open fire, which was appreciated by many of the men in the evening while they enjoyed a cigar and a brandy.
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April 2nd, 2015 | Julia Braime
Here at Brides Up North we make no secret of the fact that we love all things pink! And so when we saw Stephanie and Robert’s incredibly pretty day (with lots of lovely pink touches) we knew we had to have it on our pages.
This big day is both cute and classy with special touches including a vintage tiffany blue VW campervan named Dylan, original Penguin paperback books as favours and wonderful décor in paper diamonds, twinkly lights and rustic style bike wheels in a nod to the couple’s love for cycling.
So let’s saddle up for this flawless Yorkshire celebration.
With images by Weddings by Smith.
stephanie says: We got engaged at home in our bedroom. It was a low key affair, fitting of our relationship – quiet and understated. The ring was a real surprise, and beautiful, inherited from the groom’s mother’s great aunt. It is lovely to have such a family heirloom.
We chose Saturday 13th December 2014 as our wedding date. We wanted a winter wedding as December has always been a special time for us, and we thought the Yorkshire setting would be stunning on a crisp winter’s day (which we got). We didn’t want to follow the traditional summer wedding approach, this was a way to make ours a bit different.
Our wedding was at East Riddlesden Hall, West Yorkshire. We chose the venue as it’s been somewhere we have cycled past on one of our many cycling outings, but never visited. The Rob’s sister, Sarah (one of the bridesmaids), had previously been to a wedding there and said it was wonderful. Upon visiting we fell in love with it straight away, the barn is beautiful and we loved the fact that the whole wedding could be held in the same venue. Also, being a National Trust venue, fitted with my past as a history graduate from Oxford University.
We didn’t have a specific theme but wanted all the details to be as personal to us as possible. As big cyclists we wanted to incorporate cycling into the wedding – hence the bike wheels decorated with flowers that were hung up around the barn and a poem about a couple and cycling as one of our readings. We’re also both keen readers – note the original Penguin paperback books as favours and place markers for the wedding breakfast.
The colour scheme was generally pink and silver, which were chosen to fit with the bridesmaids’ dresses. And pink has always been my favourite colour!
My gown was an ivory lacy dress with a satin underlay. The back was low cut and the dress had a very simple and sleek silhouette. I really liked the simplicity of the dress, with added elegance from the sparkles on the lace. I bought it from Teokath in Wimbledon. Originally I thought I would want a sixties style tea-length dress, but couldn’t find any that suited my figure. The dress I bought in the end was perfect for my figure.
Rob wore a navy suit from Moss Bros. He, along with the groomsmen, all had pink socks to keep in with the theme. Rob wore a charcoal tie to match the bridesmaids’ dresses while the groomsmen had pink ties. These also tied in with the maids’ dresses, which were pale pink and charcoal dresses by Vera Wang.
Our transport for the day was Dylan – a vintage tiffany blue VW campervan. It did two trips, one with four bridesmaids, and a second trip with the two remaining bridesmaids, the father of the bride, and the bride. It was perfect! Dylan stayed around for photographs afterwards, and was a key part of our vision for the day.
Tom Smith of Weddings by Smith was our photographer. He is a friend of the Rob’s and was a wonderful and perfectly unobtrusive photographer. We wanted photos that weren’t too formal, but picked out the small details we had spent time organising and making. We were also keen to have photos of guests that were of individuals picked out from the crowd in a natural setting, rather than any posed photographs.
Beth Webber, another friend of the Rob’s, did our flowers. She is not a professional florist, but has some experience helping out at other weddings, and we both think she did a wonderful job. We had a theme of wild flowers in pinks and greys. None of the flower arrangements were too fussy, we just wanted to work a casual vintage theme. We think the flowers perfectly reflected the happy, relaxed vibe of the day.
We hired caterers GFS to take care of the food.They were wonderful and fitted the menu around what we wanted. Specifically we requested half the welcome drinks to be Kir Royales (to go with the pink theme), Yorkshire pudding with the main course, the groom’s favourite sticky toffee pudding for dessert (along with specially requested jugs of extra sauce for the tables) and a bottle of port and petit fours to follow dessert. My talented mum made our iced wedding cake of three tiers – one fruit and two sponge.
A group called The Frankies provided our entertainment. We originally requested a band known as The Funtime Frankies, but unfortunately they were not available. However their B group, The Frankies, were, and they were no less fun!
We incorporated several special touches into our day to help reflect our theme. We used beautiful vintage crockery to go on the tables and each guest had their own unique combination of crockery, including tea cup and plate. The effect was wonderful.We also had bike wheels hung on the walls around the barn, decorated with flowers to reflect our love for cycling. Rob’s mum made our hand folded heart books and his sister made paper diamonds in all different sizes and materials.
When guests arrived at the ceremony they were met by the groomsmen, who had a basket of badges with a photo of either the bride or groom on. They were asked to pick a badge to wear for the day to identify themselves. We chose not to have traditional divisions in seating (groom’s family/friends on one side, and the bride’s on the other). Instead we asked guests to mingle, to reflect the relaxed vibe of the day.Our table plan for the reception was created by cutting out photos of all of our guests and placing the photos into wooden pallets. Each table had its own small pallet. We wanted to do something quirky and original.
We would most definitely recommend East Riddlesden Hall to other wedding couples. The venue is stunning and being able to hold everything in the same place really helps when it comes to logistics.
We followed our wedding up with an amazing honeymoon – three months travelling around New Zealand!
My tip to other Brides Up North would be to enjoy every moment; it will be the best day of your life, so relish every second of it!
December 31st, 2014 | Julia Braime
Merry Christmas! Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break for the festive season, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely.
Usual service will recommence on Monday 5th January 2015 (with some big news!) but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year. Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks for 2014.
Turns out that our talented Brides Up North Sponsors make the very prettiest of brides. Today’s absolutely beautiful wedding at Eshott Hall, starring our own Natalie Power, is a lovely lesson in romantic pastels and pretty detailing. I’ve saved this to share with you for a special start to the week, Pinterest fingers at the ready…
With images by Helen Russell Photography.
natalie says: We got engaged in November 2008, it was my birthday and Warren had surprised me with a trip to Barcelona. If that wasn’t surprise enough, he proposed, I could not believe it, it was so unexpected but perfect!
We were married on Saturday 31st May 2014, at Eshott Hall, Northumberland.
After looking at other possible venues we were becoming a little disheartened but then we arrived at Eshott Hall and as soon as we drove up the tree lined gravel driveway and past the manicured lawns we both knew this would be the venue. We wanted to have exclusive use of the venue for the weekend, stunning scenery and not be constrained by minimum numbers: Eshott Hall ticked all those boxes.
We didn’t have a ‘theme’ as such, we just felt everything fell into place; it was little mix of modern classic with a country edge. We chose a soft colour scheme of creams, pinks and peaches. We wanted to keep things pretty neutral and unstructured.
I wore a fitted Vera Wang wedding dress, which is completely the opposite of what I thought I wanted when I started looking. I had been pinning like crazy on the best wedding tool ever and had my heart set on a Jenny Packham dress. After trying it on I was very disappointed, it just didn’t feel like it was my ‘wedding’ dress so I was back to square one. It wasn’t until my Mum suggested I try on something completely different that I came across the dress, I tried it on once and fell in love. To complete the look I wore Jimmy Choo Crown heels in Nude, a gift from my husband
Make-up was provided by Jo Leversuch of Make-up by Jo, she did a super job and was even able to fit in an extra person on the day – nothing was too much for her, I would definitely recommend Jo. She was able to create a look for each of the bridesmaid that was unique to them, not a carbon copy of one another.
Warren wore a navy double-breasted jacket from Hugo Boss with a crisp white shirt from The Kooples. His cream trousers were also from Hugo Boss and completed his look with a set of braces from Bromleys. His shoes were brown double monk straps from Magnanni.
My bridesmaids wore Dessy dresses, style no. 2909 in Cameo to compliment the soft neutral colouring.
The groomsmen wore their own suits in navy to tie in with the Groom’s suit jacket; they all wore matching pink bowties and pocket squares from Etsy.
My bouquet was a selection of garden roses, spray roses, hydrangeas, soft grey foliage and brunia berries – all very loose and effortless. All of the flowers throughout the day were in the same style as my bouquet, provided by Helen of Bels Flowers. She is fabulous and I would highly recommend her.
Helen Russell was our photographer, we would definitely recommend Helen, she is so lovely and captured the atmosphere of the day perfectly.
As well as creating my own wedding invitations (my daytime job – see Natalie Power’s website) I also made the signage, table numbers and seating plan. Of course, my husband was on hand with his trusty saw and drill.
The food and drink was provided by Eshott Hall, it was beautifully presented and tasted just as good, everyone commented on how tasty it was.
We had a selection of cakes, a dessert table provided by the amazingly talented Bernadette of Dreamworld Cakes. The wedding cake itself was chocolate baileys flavour, victoria sponge cupcakes, mini cakes were chocolate orange flavour, macaroons in both rose and pistachio flavours, cake pops and artisan meringues.
During the ceremony, canapés and wedding breakfast the wonderful Aurora Strings entertained us; they played a selection of classical and pop music, which was perfect.
Our evening entertainment was provided by an amazingly talented band, The Noise, that I found through Warble Entertainment. They did an amazing job and were very enthusiastic, I highly recommend them.
We would highly recommend Eshott Hall. The venue itself is perfect if you are looking for somewhere you can use exclusively, it has beautifully manicured grounds to compliment your photography and décor that will not dictate your colour scheme.
For our honeymoon we decided on a US adventure taking in as many locations as we could. Our first stop was San Diego, from there we moved onto Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Morro Bay, Carmel, San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Mammoth Lakes, Death Valley before our last stop in Las Vegas. There were so many highlights from the trip from whale watching in Morro Bay, the tour in San Francisco, a Grand Canyon helicopter flight and watching Cirque Du Soleil ‘O’, it was all amazing! We loved the fact that we got to explore so many different places along with amazing weather and ever changing scenery.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be when things get on top of you or don’t go to plan remember the reason you’re doing this. To marry the love of your life, that’s what’s important, everything else will fall into place.
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