Charlotte Balbier

retro romantics. a glamorous vintage wedding at the belle epoque – zoe & chris

April 10th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Vintage Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Kate McCarthy Photography (30)

Today’s bride Zoe was aiming for ‘1940s film starlet’ for her vintage wedding day look. After seeing these photographs, we’re sure you’ll agree that she smashed it. With her tea-length dress, birdcage veil and amazing Ingrid Bergman-esque ‘do’, she looks every inch the glamourous bride.

Retro vibes permeate every aspect of this gorgeous wedding, from the live music to the rich colours of the bridesmaids’ dresses and the stunning floral arrangements. Full marks, guys!

Here at Brides Up North HQ, we’re also touched by Zoe’s advice to brides-to-be: look into your partner’s eyes and not the registrar’s (!), and get thee to a Brides Up North wedding fair. Who are we to disagree?!

With photography by Kate McCarthy Photography

A Vintage Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Kate McCarthy Photography (34)

zoe says: We got engaged in Venice at 5.30am on a bridge in Canaregio on 7th May 2016. We’d always wanted to have a two-week holiday in Italy with a week in Venice then a week in Tuscany. We arrived on the Friday and got a water taxi (a complete treat, but obviously Chris knew he was going to propose on holiday whereas I had no clue!)

We love seeing a city wake up, so got up early on the Monday to go and walk round the beautiful streets. We started to cross the bridge right by our apartment and Chris caught my hand, stopped me and said, “Do you love it here?” I replied “Yes, of course” and he then got down on one knee – at which point I started grinning madly! And then he said “Great – in that case, would you do me the great honour of becoming my wife?” and produced the most beautiful emerald cut diamond ring! At this point I wanted to shout “Weeeeeeeeeeeeee!” quite loudly but remembered no one else was awake. Instead, we skipped (literally) down the street grinning our heads off!

A Vintage Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Kate McCarthy Photography (21)

Our wedding was planned for 10th February 2017. We wanted to get married quickly but still have some time to plan. We were extremely flexible and so chose our location and then saw what they could offer us – they had this particular Friday free and so we booked it!

Our venue was The Belle Epoque in Knutsford. We had quite a tick list – we wanted somewhere unusual and quirky, with a dancefloor and room for a band but also somewhere with a separate room so that people could sit down and talk. Chris doesn’t dance and so wanted to be able to go around and speak to everyone. I visited it with my mum and, walking in, I was immediately excited; it has a lovely feel, is full of art deco art and pieces, it has a huge welcoming fireplace and the bar is straight in front as you walk in. I spied a room off this entrance with tables and chairs in, so immediately thought that was a tick. We then went upstairs to the dining area which was set up for a wedding – I actually gasped! They had twisted willow and flowers and fairy lights hanging from the ceiling and huge tall vases of flowers, vibrant, rich, opulent colours and gorgeous iris-patterned wallpaper. I was a little bit teary and knew this was the place.

A Vintage Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Kate McCarthy Photography (31)

Our theme was a bit vintage and Peaky Blinders, I suppose. I love vintage dresses and wanted to look like a 1940s film star. We didn’t have a colour-scheme as such, but we chose deep reds, purples and pinks for the bridesmaids and flowers. I wanted the bridesmaids to choose their own dress and style but with a vintage theme. I wanted them to be able to wear them again and really enjoy choosing their own dresses!

For my dress, I knew I wanted something in a vintage style from the 40s/50s and tea-length. I started to look on Pinterest and came across a dress that I loved, so went onto the designer’s website and found a local stockist. I went to Puure in Lymm and Angie, the owner, saw me. I tried the dress I’d seen on and liked it but she insisted I try on more – and I was happy to oblige! After another one, she bought a dress out that I looked at and my heart started to beat faster even though it was full-length and had no sleeves! She fastened me up and explained it could be made-to-measure, adjusted to tea length and have three-quarter sleeves fitted. I looked at myself and felt fantastic. My mum grinned and I had a little tear! That was it. It was ivory satin – so rich and so many sumptuous folds of gorgeous material! It had a little belt with a sparkly diamante square buckle, a fitted bodice with a sweetheart neckline and a net top with tiny sparkles on. I had so many lovely compliments. Angie and her team and Sonya, the seamstress were absolutely incredible and made me feel like a 1940s film star on my day!

A Vintage Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Kate McCarthy Photography (39)

I wanted my hair setting in a vintage style and so booked the amazing Ewa Baberska, hair and makeup artist, to finish the look. Suzie Taylor was my makeup artist and she was great. I wanted a very natural look as I don’t wear much and she did exactly that, yet made me look fab.

For my headpiece I also wanted something vintage and had met Kaye Hannabuss of Kaye Hannabus Textiles at a networking meeting. We got chatting and I asked her if she would be able to make me something. She made me a fabulous vintage-inspired headpiece with a birdcage veil, a smartie base and a bow. For the evening, she made me a gorgeous hair slide with beads and pearls and diamante. Kaye works with Harris Tweed and so Chris was interested in talking to her about his and Holly’s waistcoats.

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heavenly history: a vintage wedding styled shoot at chetham’s, manchester

May 4th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

A Bridal Shoot at Chethams (C) Stephen McGowan Photography (41)

If you’re currently on the venue hunt for a setting that has both beauty and character, this afternoon’s blog post could just signal the end of your search. As the styled shoot that we’re sharing today opens up the doors to one of the oldest buildings in Manchester’s centre, which also happens to be one of the newest venues to join the city’s splendid wedding offering.

Dating back to 1421, Chetham’s is a unique setting that boasts beautiful old sandstone walls and magical medieval features. Keen to show off its potential to brides and grooms-to-be, wedding photographer Stephen McGowan got together with a group of fellow North West suppliers to help inspire couples who are currently on the venue search.

The result is a wonderful set of images with gorgeous blooms, styling and lighting, which showcases both the building and the team’s skills beautifully. To tell us how it all came together, we’ll hand over the blogging reins to photographer Stephen…

With images by our lovely Brides Up North Sponsor Stephen McGowan Photography.

A Bridal Shoot at Chethams (C) Stephen McGowan Photography (25)

stephen says: Chetham’s is a new and exciting venue available to brides and grooms looking to get married in a gorgeous medieval Manchester city centre setting.

Our overall aim was to complement the medieval ambiance and architecture of this unique wedding venue and so I chose to photograph using natural light inside the main hall as I absolutely loved how the light fell on the models’ faces through the large gothic windows in the Baronial Hall.

A Bridal Shoot at Chethams (C) Stephen McGowan Photography (48)

In terms of styling we wanted to keep things simple and fresh with undertones of 1920s and 30s bridal styling. The models were therefore dressed in stunning Charlotte Balbier gowns supplied by 7th Heaven Bridalwear. We picked designs that we felt worked well with the historic setting and stuck to fresh, natural makeup looks created by makeup artist Emma Culbert, that didn’t detract from the dresses or surroundings. Hairdresser Jessica Shelley then styled the models’ hair to complement our 1920s theme.

A Bridal Shoot at Chethams (C) Stephen McGowan Photography (46)

Verdure Floral Design were brilliant and let us have a choice of three bouquets, along with floral headpiece and table centrepiece, to use in the shoot. We wanted the floral colours to subtly complement our look but not to overpower and Verdure Floral Design fully understood the brief and pulled this off perfectly.

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Vintage Wedding North West Dream Venue: The Bowdon Rooms

August 16th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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If you are looking for a North West wedding venue with an old school, true vintage feel, whilst retaining excellent facilities, great catering and a stunning level of customer service, then I think I might well have found it for you.

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The elegance of Brides Up North Featured Supplier and vintage wedding dream venue The Bowdon Rooms in Cheshire makes this a must visit on your venue checklist.

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Take a moment to run the video below to get a real feel for this lovely old place, and enjoy the music whilst you read on.  I wrote this entire post with the soundtrack on repeat, and am feeling very ready for a sherry brandy and a turn about the dance floor right now.   

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Pity it’s beans on toast in front of the telly for tea.  I can but dream. 

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Where is The Bowdon Rooms located?

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The Bowdon Rooms is in the leafy village of Bowdon, which is just one mile from Altrincham, South Manchester/North Cheshire. 

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Vintage wedding venue Cheshire:  The Bowdon Rooms

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Tell Brides Up North about your venue, what facilities does it have?

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The Bowdon Rooms is a beautiful vintage period building dating from 1905, and is suitable to hold balls and weddings in any style form the 1920’s to 1950’s. The main ballroom has a fully sprung maple dance floor and towering above you are two beautiful chandeliers.

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It really is a step back in time to an era of glamour and elegance. A main stage holds and 18 piece dance band, with a full PA and lighting system, the venue is fully licenced with high quality kitchens and award winning chefs on site.

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The main ballroom can seat 230 guests, and the more intimate lounge can seat 80 guests.  The Bowdon Rooms is fully licensed for civil ceremonies. 

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Vintage wedding venue Cheshire:  The Bowdon Rooms

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What makes The Bowdon Rooms a special wedding venue and sets you apart from others?

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The Bowdon Rooms is an elegant building with beautiful period features, balustrades, a balcony, mezzanines and its chandeliers. Restored by its present owners it has been conducting weddings and parties for over 100 years. It is the current team that makes the venue so special, mature, talented and dedicated to making your day so special.

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Vintage wedding venue Cheshire:  The Bowdon Rooms

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How can your staff help to make the planning process easier and the big day amazing?

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Having worked in Bowdon for over 10 years the present team know to bring the best out of the building in a way that meets your exacting criteria. We only do one wedding at a time, so we are dedicated to making your day just as special as you deserve. We are experienced in planning, sourcing and delivering, we just will not let you down, and we know you will come to trust us.

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Vintage wedding venue Cheshire:  The Bowdon Rooms

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Can you recommend any accommodation for guests to stay over nearby?

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There are some great places to stay nearby to the venue.  Why not try the Mercure Altrincham Bowdon Hotel, the Cresta Court Hotel or the Marriott Hale Barns

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Vintage wedding venue Cheshire:  The Bowdon Rooms

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Tell us about your menus and wines?

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All of our menus are tailored to our brides’ individual requirements. You can sit down with the chefs and discuss exactly what will suit you and your guests, they have worked all over the world and we have accommodated every request ever thrown at us!

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From traditional, to international, from hog roasts to sumptuous buffets, we do them all. We have an extensive wine list, we can match your wines to your menus as well as working with you for some lovely welcome drinks, such as fizz, cocktails or fruit punch.

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Vintage wedding venue Cheshire:  The Bowdon Rooms

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Any really memorable weddings at the venue?

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We have memorable weddings every week of course, but one of our most entertaining was Debbie and Peter in May 2009. Debbie is a professional dancer so her and Peter had worked out a fantastic rock and roll dance for their 1950’s wedding, just beautiful. Also, some teachers present got everybody up for an impromptu lesson, it ended up like West Side story, but with girls versus guys.

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Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price/ any special packages available?

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To hire this beautiful ballroom is only £1,200, and our menus start from £30.00 per head.

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Vintage wedding venue Cheshire:  The Bowdon Rooms

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Where can we get more information/ contact the venue?

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Please visit www.thebowdonroms.co.uk or call Karen or Suzanne on 0161 926 8992

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The Bowdon Rooms is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier and this is a sponsored post – please satisfy yourself that this supplier meets your individual requirements before placing your booking.

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  – Images © 2012 The Bowdon Rooms

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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