July 8th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Let’s keep the Real Wedding pretty coming this morning with this stunning and stylish celebration at Arley Hall & Gardens. Jenna & Martin opted for a modern and muted colour scheme for their beautiful big day, dotted with gorgeous vintage inspired details.
As soon as I saw her choice of heels, I knew that today’s bride and I would be sartorially compatible. Jenna, I like your style.
With images by Lisa Howard Photography.
Jenna says: We got engaged in Stratford Upon Avon on 24th March 2012. Martin had arranged a weekend away for us and luckily it turned out to be one of the hottest weekends of the year! He proposed whilst we were sitting on the banks of the River Avon with a bottle of bubbly! It was perfect!
Our wedding day was 23rd May 2014. We got married at Arley Hall & Gardens, Cheshire.
We had actually been out looking at another venue which we were really disappointed with, when we drove past a signpost for Arley. We had seen it online but thought it looked way over our budget to even consider it an option. However, we decided to go and have a nosey. We didn’t have an appointment booked at Arley but the staff were so accommodating and the venue was so perfect! It was just what we wanted with the two aspects of the stately home and the rustic barn for the evening reception.
Styling wise, it just seemed to work out in the end that everything was a little bit vintage with a modern edge. We opted for a colour scheme of grey and white – we wanted to keep everything quite neutral as the rooms in the venue already have so many colours in them anyway; we didn’t want it to look too busy. Plus grey is my favourite colour!
I wore a lace mermaid style dress by Mori Lee from Always & Forever Bridal Boutique, St Helens. I had gone into the shop with the mind set that I definitely didn’t want a lace dress! However that soon changed. I also didn’t want a lace up corset style back and seeing as my dress had both I was reluctant to try it on, however after much persuasion I did and I loved it (but I did end up having the seamstress swap the lace ups for a zip)!
I carried a posy of white peonies from the floristry department of St Helens College.
I was really close to my nan who died a few years ago so really wanted to try and incorporate my memories of her into the wedding. I had a locket with a picture of her in it wrapped around my bouquet and a large photograph of her from my mum’s wedding with a candle burning.
Martin wore a dark blue slim fit three piece suit from TM Lewin, Liverpool. His shirt was white with accents of blue from Hugo Boss. His shoes were brown brogues from Bertie in Steve Madden, Manchester.
June 24th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break to redesign, review and recharge, 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 7th July 2014, 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.
Back in February when I blogged an interview with our wonderful Featured Supplier and ex copper, James Tracey Photography, I led the piece with an image of a beaming bride at a colourful altar and over on Facebook lots of you fell in love with her. Later that week I featured Laura and Nathan’s fabulously cool and quirky swimming pool wedding (yes, I’ve never seen one of those before either!) in all it’s glory.
This still has to be one of my favourites to date.
With images by James Tracey Photography.
Laura says: We got engaged in October 2013 in Saint-Cirq Lapopie (in the South of France). We were on our holiday with our six month old baby boy and Nathan got a sudden urge to ask me to marry him. It was a beautiful spot by the river. It wasn’t planned so he found a twig and tied it in a knot around my wedding finger.
We have been together for 18 years (we met at school when we were 16!) and finally tied the knot on 27th May 2013 at Victoria Baths, Manchester.
Victoria Baths is part of the restoration project. It was opened in 1906 as a swimming baths and Turkish baths. The restoration of the building begin in 1995. It is a beautiful old building with ornate stain glass windows. One day they hope to restore the swimming pools themselves and open it up again to the public.
We actually got married in the old male swimming pool in the deep end!
We wanted to get married somewhere that was a little different and allowed us to do what we wanted. Victoria Baths allows you to hire out the entire building and you are able to bring your own caterers, music and decorations in.
We wanted the day to be very relaxed with a feel of a street party. No formalities so everyone could relax and have fun! We chose a colour scheme of pale pink and green.
The bridesmaids wore pink dresses and the groom, best man and ushers wore pink ties. The tiles of the swimming baths are green so we hung pink and green paper pom poms from the ceiling along with bunting.
I wanted something every simple for my wedding dress. I visited Jane Bourvis in London after a friend recommended her. Jane owns a small shop in Notting Hill and as soon as you walk in you are greeted with antique lace hanging from the ceiling. Jane told me she had just restored some lace the night before. She dressed me in a pale cream slip and placed the lace petticoat over the top. It was stunning and a one off. I bought it within half an hour of walking into the shop. I just felt special. There was a story behind it too as an elderly lady in Scotland had found her mothers veil in the loft and that was what Jane used to create the dress – old Scottish lace.
The bridesmaids each wore a lace dress which I bought from a beach side shop in Cape Town. I just saw them and knew they would match the dress and that each of the bridesmaids would like the style.
Nathan wore a tailored suit from A Suit That Fits. The best man and ushers wore their own suits with a pink tie.
My friend has a beautiful old beetle called Gracie. He came to the hotel to pick me up (complete with a flat cap) and drove me to the baths.
It was a family affair! My cousin is a register so he married us and my other cousin works at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) so he arrange for four different bands to play: a string quartet to walk down the aisle to, an acoustic guitar whist we drank fizz, a two piece acoustic band and a 9 piece disco band. Amazing!
I carried a simple vintage style bouquet made by Manchester Flower Company.
I especially enjoyed the vows and turning around to see everybody we loved.
After the ceremony we arranged for a tour guide to show people around the building as it’s so historic with lots of amazing stories behind it.
10 of my closest friends and family made cakes for the deserts. There were some amazing cakes ranging from carrot cake, lemon drizzle and early great tea muffins. Everyone just helped themselves.
We had 45 children at the wedding so we had to provide entertainment. We hired two nanny’s to look after the babies and provided lots of toys. We hired a bouncy castle to go in the female pool and we created a cinema with a big screen and lots of popcorn and bean bags so the kids to watch a film. It was nice as the adults could have a rest and enjoy the fizz.
At the end of the day we planned a big surprise for everyone. We didn’t know how well it would go down. We hired 150 headsets and held a silent disco in the main hall. At first everyone didn’t quite know what to make of it. By the end of the night everyone was dancing their hearts out. We had three different channels with different types of music. There was some crazy dancing going on.
We went to the Lake District for a few days after the wedding and found cosy pubs to relax in. Bliss!
I kept sneaking away for a few minutes every now and again – either with Nathan or own my own to just catch my breath and smile. So my top tip for other Brides Up North would be that it’s nice to stop for a few minutes and reflect on things throughout the day itself.
Congratulations Laura & Nathan!
June 12th, 2014 | Julia Braime
This afternoon we’re invited for a summer high tea with Brides Up North reader Carrie and her husband Paul, as we celebrate their Real Wedding in Chester. Carrie combined authentic vintage pieces with delicate decorative touches to create a pretty and personal celebration.
Carrie says: We had a long engagement – we got engaged four years prior to the wedding – and were married on 4th August 2013 at The Doubletree Hilton in Chester.
We opted for a vintage theme with lots of greys, creams and pinks, and used the venue’s beautiful brick barn which suited our styling perfectly.
I chose a column lace dress with a fishtail. It was an authentic vintage dress altered dramatically at Melanie James Bridal in Chorlton.
I carried a bouquet of hydrangeas by Acacia of Chester.
My makeup artist was Laura Wisinger, with hair by Rebecca Rigby.
May 7th, 2014 | Julia Braime
So many Brides Up North who contact me via the blog are on the look out for creative styling details to make their big day stand out from the crowd (and I’d love to hear from you too). So, to the rescue!
One Brides Up North Featured Supplier who specialises in props and accessories of the quirky, vintage kind is the lovely Eliza and her team at China Blossom Hire, based in the North West. Today she’s here to let you know how she can help to make your wedding day unique. Let’s say hello…
… and once we have, make sure to stop by the China Blossom Hire website to see just what they can do.
Eliza says: As with a lot of brides to be, I started planning my own vintage wedding and discovered that I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted at a reasonable price nearby and so started collecting pieces of china when I saw them. After many positive comments on our big day, I decided to make my own china available to brides, but then I saw a gap in the local market for prop hire as well and the business has bloomed from there.
What can you supply and why is it special?
We believe that our large and unique range of china, along with our affordable packages, make us a great choice for any engaged couple. Whether it’s an intimate tea party for 20 or a larger gathering of 120 place settings, we will always endeavour to match any specific requirements such as all pastel trios or specific teapots on particular tables. If required, teaspoons, cake forks and table cloths can also be provided to add that extra vintage touch. We have a range of silverware which can be used to create unique centrepieces by itself or with other china pieces.
Tell us about your prop hire service?
We believe that we have one of the best, if not the best, range of wedding props in the North West. The rise of themes such as Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, Steampunk and Carnival require a large array of different props and we are confident that we can supply even the most quirky of vintage props should they be required.
We think our props have become so popular because we make and adapt a lot of our own vintage style items such as our vintage chalkboard bicycles and photo walls. We also have a novel approach of how we use props such as photo display suitcases and vintage dessert dressing tables with a personalised menu or message on the mirror for guests to read. From gramophones, picnic baskets and milk churns to giant lit letters, vintage style drink dispensers and vintage typing stations, we always find that couples are amazed by the sheer diversity of our stock.
Where are you based and what areas do you cover?
We are currently based in Churchtown, Southport where we have a 1930’s summerhouse which we thought was a fitting environment in which to invite couples to discuss their plans (over tea and cake of course)!
We currently will travel to locations up to 150 miles from Southport or thereabouts, so this takes in Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire, parts of North Wales, Staffordshire and West Yorkshire.
Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price?
Our individual hire prices range from a matter of pence to £125 for our photo tent. However, due to such high demand, we have had to introduce a minimum hire charge of £50 for any order. We do have a variety of packages available for larger hires including china hire from £55 for 50 people and funfair games packages from £275. We believe it is crucial to have a range of price points so that our china and props are available to the majority of couples on any budget. A full list of our prices can be found on our website under the hire charge page, but also on each individual gallery photographs as our stock has expanded so rapidly that we were running out of space!
Why should Brides Up North choose to work with China Blossom Hire?
Uniqueness – we pride ourselves on our unique and quirky hire items such as our vintage photo tent and candy tables using Victorian glass, suitcases and mini chalkboard heart labels. As well as our products, we believe that the attention to detail we provide is second to none. We often look at the overall theme that a couple is interested in during their free consultation and then link in any personal/family heirlooms which they may wish to use as it’s not about us, it’s all about their big day being special.
We also provide a unique service of personalising messages on our chalkboards or mirrors in a variety of styles. Our customer reviews on Facebook and our website prove that we promise and provide the highest level of service possible.
Why do you think the trend for a vintage wedding endures?
We believe that the trend for all things ‘vintage’ has become so popular as a result of several factors. Obviously, television programmes such as Downton Abbey and The Great British Bake Off have played their part in romanticising past trends, but also, austerity has played it’s part with couples looking for a more reasonable and personal alternative.
Brides have in turn become keen to make their wedding fresh and chic, others want it to be more unique or organic. We don’t believe that this is a fad as ‘vintage’ has come to mean a whole variety of styles from Retro, English Country Garden to Art Deco and Rustic to name just a few. Even those who want a more modern approach are managing to merge in ‘vintage’ elements by having a black and white or chic Parisian theme. The current trend for colour and traditional entertainment has sparked a blossoming of all things ‘Carnival’ which is great for British weddings.
So the trend continues…
Who would be your dream client and why?
That’s easy, anyone from Downton Abbey! Like half the nation, I am hooked. Can you imagine a Downton bride next to one of vintage chalkboard bicycles or behind a photo wall? How fabulous!
Anything else that you’d like to share with our readers?
We are seeing an increasing number of brides and grooms requesting vintage fairground games and oversized lit items such as hearts and initials, so keep a lookout on our website for our latest prop trends and remember to email us if you have an idea as we love developing unique props for a couple’s unique day!
How can Brides Up North get in touch with you or find out more?
You can visit our website at www.chinablossomhire.co.uk.
We have both landline and mobile phone numbers accessible for clients on 01704 809191 and 07922038455 respectively. We would always suggest that couples visit our showroom and view any china and props before they commit themselves to anything. We are here to make planning a wedding an exciting and personal journey which leads up to to the incredible event that is their special day.
April 22nd, 2014 | Julia Braime
We’re so excited for our return to The Bowdon Rooms this coming Sunday 27th April 2014 for our third Brides Up North Luxury & Vintage Wedding Exhibition at this stunning venue. You can’t beat a sunny April day in Altrincham (here’s hoping!) and a unique and authentic vintage wedding venue packed full of lovely local suppliers and wedding pretty. Seriously, you need to see our stellar exhibitor line up!
Is the date in your diary? You can pre-register here. Go, go, go!
If you’ve picked up one of our leaflets in the area (it’s been blanketed!) or received one of our subscriber emails about the event, you’ll recognise our lovely bride & groom from today’s Real Wedding. Ellie and David’s wedding day shows off exactly what can be made of this stunning venue and their celebration, full of love, music, excitement, humour and delectable vintage details, is an absolute corker!
I rarely re-blog content on these pages (I prefer to keep things fresh, y’know?) but I wanted to revisit their big day ahead of the weekend’s festivities because, well, you’ll see.
Enjoy! And see you on Sunday…
With images by Foley Photography.
Ellie says: This was not an ordinary proposal. it being leap year and all!
David took me to Paris in February 2012 and everyone thought he would propose. On our return (no proposal had been made) which was Valentine’s Day I suggested we stay in London overnight, although we will just stay in a Travel lodge as we had just come back from Paris. Little did David know that I had booked a 5 star hotel called ‘The Corinthia’ off Whitehall for us to stay in all as part of my master plan proposal. I had already contact the hotel and told them my plan and they provided an upgrade and other goodies!
David was overwhelmed by the hotel and thought it was a lovely thing to do on Valentine’s day. We went to our room and unpacked, then I pulled out his valentine’s present – a shirt from Zara. I then gave a him a little package and said these are to wear with it.
Inside were silver heart shaped cufflinks my sister had made and engraved on were the words ‘David will you’ on one and ‘Marry me?’ on the other. Now David being David couldn’t read them properly and didn’t have his glasses on, he thought one said David and the other Ellie – a bit cheesy he thought, then he said “This shirt doesn’t have cufflink holes” so I said “Put your glasses on and read them”!
He did and was overwhelmed and said yes! He wore the cufflinks on our wedding day. The hotel then brought a bottle of Champagne and a congratulations cake to the room. We can’t wait to go back next year for our anniversary!
We were married on Saturday 25th May 2013 at The Bowdon Rooms, Altrincham, Cheshire. We loved the space inside and the sprung wooden floor for dancing, it was a great Edwardian building that had so much character and history, plus Karen and the team were so open to all the ideas I had that we didn’t want to get married anywhere else!
The theme was very vintage! With homemade bunting, we had bought all our own vintage mismatched china for cups, saucers and side plates, plus sugar bowls and milk jugs. We also scoured car boots and charity shops for tea pots as these were our centre pieces with flowers in them.
The wedding colour scheme only came about after we had chosen the bridesmaids’ dresses and we chose blue floral for my sister who was matron of honour and pink floral for the other seven bridesmaids. So the colour scheme ended up being blue and pink.
I tried on so many dresses and always had in my mind I would like a short one and I did. I went for a strapless ballerina length 1950′s dress. It was by the designer Enzoani in the Blue range. I bought it from The Wedding Shop in Alderley Edge and I couldn’t have asked for anything better. The customer service was fantastic and everyone was so helpful!
My bridesmaid dresses (all eight of them) were from Vivien of Holloway as were the petticoats. Everyone had a white petticoat underneath apart from my sister who had pink, which went perfectly with her blue dress.
We didn’t really use many suppliers as we did a lot ourselves, but our food was supplied by Herb and Spice and our photography by Foley Photography, Scott captured the day perfectly! Our wedding video was by www.wedding-productions.com and it was fantastic!
I had two bouquets. One was a brooch bouquet that i made myself, comprising of all different brooches i had collected over the years which meant something to me, I loved making this and I look at it every day on my dressing table.
We made all the bouquets and centre pieces ourselves and just bought them from a wholesaler, this was so cost effective and as I had made a brooch bouquet i didn’t think I would want a flower one, but as my family and David’s cousin Lesley were making the bridesmaids, I thought it might be nice for photos to have one. Luckily we had some flowers left over and made mine out of all the bits leftover. It was beautiful, my sister made mine and did an amazing job!
I think my favourite part of the day was seeing David at the end of the aisle when I started dancing down, as he was so overwhelmed and happy I knew he was the one for me!
I travelled in an open top Beetle called Suzi provided by Little Limos. They were fantastic and it was so lovely to drive through my Village with everyone waving. My Dad loved the car and it went perfectly with our day!
To make the day more personal, I made and sewed pink floral and blue floral napkins for everyone. We also used the same material to make over 60 metres of bunting which decorated the room.
Our table names were David’s favourite Coronation Street characters, the head table being Steve McDonald!
Our favours were white chocolate coconut covered truffles that u had made for everyone and came in a floral handkerchief for the ladies and white handkerchief for the men. I love using handkerchiefs and wanted to bring it back.
We had an American styled buffet with burgers and chicken wings and hotdogs! It was delicious.
David and I are not big fans of traditional wedding cakes so we asked my Mum to make us a three tiered Rice Krispie cake. this was my favourite treat as a child and it meant so much that my mum had made it, plus it didn’t cost the earth!
We also asked our guests to make and bring a cake as part of the desert. This proved a great idea and I couldn’t believe how many gorgeous cakes there were. There was definitely plenty of food for everyone!
Being a Drama Teacher, entertainment was high on my list of priorities. We had several pieces of entertainment during the service, provided by my students from school. Two girls Samantha Jabangwe and Nicole Hodson sang a song each and then also wrote and played a song they had written especially for me.
I also provided some entertainment at the start of the service by having by bridesmaids dancing down the aisle followed by me dancing down with my Dad to a song I had pre-recorded for David, I changed to words to ‘Marry You’ by Bruno Mars to ‘Hey David I think I Want To Marry You’. This was all a complete to surprise for everyone including David. I also sang and played the Ukulele for David during my speech.
The main Entertainment was provided by a band a found at a vintage wedding fair in Liverpool called ‘Vintage Blossom’. They were amazing, no one stopped dancing whilst they were playing and they also happened to be local to Manchester.
We are going to America for three weeks at the end of July, starting in New York for a few days, then flying over to San Francisco for a few days then picking up a car and driving down the coast stopping off at Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara – where we stay in a horse ranch – Santa Monica, San Diego, Palm Springs and finally Vegas!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to try and do as much of the wedding prep together as you can as we had so much fun making the bunting and searching car boots and also not to get too drunk, then you can remember the best day of your lives!
Congratulations Ellie & David!
April 2nd, 2014 | Julia Braime
It’s off to Ormskirk, Lancs this evening as we join Caroline and Stuart to share in their gorgeous Real Wedding. Caroline chose to style her day with an abundance of floral displays – to blooming beautiful effect!
With images by Stephen Rooney at Natural Touch Photography.
Caroline says: We got engaged in Cyprus in July 2012 and were married on 11th October 2013 at West Tower Country House Hotel, Ormskirk.
We had looked at about thirteen venues across the North West but we couldn’t decide on any. There was something not right about all of them for us, but then we visited West Tower and it was absolutely perfect. Beautiful setting, friendly staff, incredibly organised – it just felt right.
I stayed at Formby Hall the night before with my family and bridesmaids and my chief drove us over to the West Tower in the morning where we got ready.
I carried a hand tied bouquet of whites and creams, the majority of which were roses. We used Flowerstyle by Laurie who is in Formby – an absolutely amazing florist.
As a special treat for our guests we used Ice Cream Dub who provided our chosen ice cream and sorbet and served them from their vintage VW camper van.
Steven Rooney of Natural Touch Photography was our choice of photographer. He was very easy going and professional.
Red Events Creative provided the chair covers and sashes and Flowerstyle By Laurie our beautiful centrepieces. Our table plan was our favourite places we had travelled to together rather than numbers.
Our cake was the “Vintage Fairy-tale” design from Waitrose – just beautiful.
We used Steve Mitchell Wedding DJ in the evening. He really was excellent. Our free bar also helped too get the party going!
I loved every bit of the day! I really enjoyed getting ready with bridesmaids in the morning, I loved the actual ceremony which surprised us both, the speeches were fantastic and I finished off the day dancing with my new husband and then my Dad! Just seeing everyone having a blast was amazing!
After the wedding we went to Australia for an epic honeymoon for five and a half weeks, stopping in Dubai on the way home.
My top tip for other Brides Up North is that flowers make such an impact. Shop around for the best but always barter!
Congratulations Caroline & Stuart!
This is not a sponsored post
March 10th, 2014 | Julia Braime
We’re all smiles in the Brides Up North office this morning after a very, very lovely day at our Brides Up North Super Showcase Grand Wedding Exhibition yesterday at Ramside Hall Hotel. I commented on Facebook last night that I’ve not seen so many excited brides and grooms in one place for a while, and it was great to see you all – another cracker of a day! Thank you to our fabulous exhibitors who packed the huge banqueting spaces with wedding pretty and each and every one of you who came along to support the Northern Revolution.
Snaps to you!
Right back to it this morning as we join Jennifer and Ryan for their twinkly vintage Real Wedding at Mitton Hall. With images by Project Valentine, this is one sparkling celebration. Take it easy this Monday morning, and feel the love…
Jennifer says: On my birthday (21st December 2012) there was an extra present under the tree which was a bunch of cupcakes made to look like roses with ‘Will You Marry Me?’ written on the centre one.
We were married on 23rd December 2013 at Mitton Hall, Mitton, Whalley. We chose the venue because it was a mixture of old and new. It is a 15th century building with old dark wood and balconies and has a new extension that is light and modern.
I chose a vintage theme for the wedding. I wanted to find a bridesmaid dress first that everyone would be happy with and decided that would be the colour scheme. These were ivory, pink and purple so we used this throughout the decorations.
I bought my dress from Lulu Browns in Whalley. It was a Justin Alexander dress, I fell in love with it when I saw it. It had the vintage lace feel but it was heavily embellished with sequins and beads.
Our photographers were called Project Valentine and they did a fabulous job. They focus more on natural shots and you hardly notice they are there which made the day very relaxed.
We found a lady called Chris who has a company called Beautifully Vintage. She did all the vintage table settings and decorations in the room and it looked stunning.
We bought a four tier lemon cake from Marks and Spencer and decorated it the day before with matching flowers.
I bought some artificial roses and made our bouquets myself. I used Christmas decorations and fancy beads to give them the vintage look.
Our favourite part of the day was when all the ceremony and speeches had been done we could finally relax and enjoy the party with our guests. We used SJ Enterprises and they provided a DJ, chocolate fountain and casino tables so there wasn’t a gap between the night and day.
For our honeymoon we are looking forward to going to Greece in the Summer.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to seek help where appropriate. I am quite creative and found it hard not to do everything by myself. I made all the stationery but it did stress me out slightly. The best thing I did was get suppliers to do the table dressing – it just made it so special. I even considered making the cake myself but I am glad we bought one in the end!
Congratulations Jennifer & Ryan!
This is not a sponsored blog
March 3rd, 2014 | Julia Braime
Yesterday I spent the day at the glorious Allerton Castle (our fifth event at this beautiful venue) surrounded by beautiful brides, supremely talented local wedding industry suppliers, gorgeous gowns – they seem to get better year on year – floral towers, hand crafted cakes, bespoke stationery and fancy hats. All that plus photographers, a photo booth, cars, cupcakes, honeymoons, menswear, magic… diamonds… you name it. It was a wonderfully relaxed and happy day in a perfect setting, and felt so luxurious and lovely to be there. I hope that every bride and groom attending enjoyed the special day and felt the love in the room. I certainly did! There’s plenty more lovely where that came from too… check out the fabulous events we still have planned across three regions this season, and be sure to clear those diaries!
For now though, online is where the magic is at, as we stay in Yorkshire to join Brides Up North reader Colleen and her new husband Richard for their own sumptuous celebration at Goldsborough Hall. I love Colleen and Richard’s cool yet classic Christmas styling with just a touch of elegant quirkiness. But then, when you’re as pretty as these two, a paper bag would look good! Enjoy their beautiful day.
With images by Brides Up North Featured Supplier Laura Calderwood.
Colleen says: We got engaged at Bunker Bay, Western Australia on September 21st 2013 and were married on 30th December 2013 at Goldsborough Hall near Harrogate.
We chose Goldsborough Hall because it has the perfect mix of elegance and comfort, which we found suited us perfectly. The panelled library with its large stone fireplace and chesterfield sofas was a unique and beautiful space to have our reception drinks. It was turned into a ‘disco library’ later in the evening.
We also had exclusive use of the venue, including the six gorgeous suites on the top floor. I was able to get dressed in the amazing Presidential Suite after travelling from The Majestic Hotel in Harrogate to the venue.
Goldsborough also offers a group breakfast the following morning for those who stayed at the Hall. It was one of the best parts of the wedding experience to enjoy a relaxed full English breakfast with loved ones after the hype of the wedding.
We wanted the day to be simple and romantic and chose an ivory and burgundy colour scheme.
I carried a simple hand-tied bouquet of white roses and gypsophila.
I wore a simple long “vintage” style dress designed by Sanyukta Shrestha. I bought it from her wedding dress boutique Behuli in Fulham, London. The dress itself was made from a bamboo/silk blend. The short-sleeved bolero was made of handmade French lace. The belt was beaded with shell beads.
My shoes were 1940s vintage embroidered silk and leather. I got them from Catherine Smith Vintage in Harrogate.
Instead of a veil I wore a beautiful silver hair piece – from Behuli – and I accessorised with a string of pearls and pearl earrings. I also wore a vintage brown mink cape for our outdoor photographs. I got that from Fat Faced Cat in Angel, London.
Richard wore a three-piece suit, made to measure at The Cad and The Dandy, Saville Row, London. His burgundy tie and pocket square matched the groomsmen’s from TM Lewin. His shoes were single monk straps from Church’s.
We decided to let the bridesmaids and groomsmen choose their own dresses and suits.
We quite liked the idea of having everyone wear something unique to themselves. The only guideline we gave the bridesmaids was on the colour – burgundy. They all wore a pearl drop necklace from Blennerhasset Fine Jewellers, Perth Western Australia – a gift from the bride.
The groomsmen wore different suits, from dark blue to light grey. Their ties and pocket squares were burgundy – a gift from the groom from TM Lewin.
had my hair and makeup done by Harriet Steele. She is a mobile makeup artist and hairdresser. She was wonderful and travelled to my hotel the morning of the wedding. She was such a calming influence and definitely got the day off to a good start!
Goldsborough Hall has a beautiful little baby grand piano in the bay window of the ceremony room, so we hired a pianist from The Event Music Company, Leeds to play as the guests arrived. He also played during the ceremony – Processional: Air in F by Handel; Signing of the Register: Pavane by Fauré; Recessional: Prelude to Te Deum by Charpentier.
We served mulled wine during the drinks reception. It was a cold day so it was a nice touch for a winter wedding.
Our florist was Helen James Flowers, Harrogate. They do beautiful, classy flower arrangements and bouquets. Our table centrepieces were simple and elegant and played on the idea of it being a winter wedding. There were large hurricane lamp candle-holders surrounded by a wreath of winter foliage, white roses, small red roses, gypsophila and red berries.
I wouldn’t say we intentionally added this, but given that it was winter and just after Christmas, there was a big Christmas tree in the dining room and there were various other Christmas decorations of good taste throughout the venue. It added a nice touch to the winter feel of the wedding.
We chose to have a cupcakes and a small cake by Moorish Cakes in Ilkley. The cupcakes were actually a gluten-free sponge, half were chocolate the other half were vanilla, with a vanilla buttercream frosting. The cake was a traditional vanilla sponge cake, with strawberry jam between the layers, covered with a white vanilla fondant icing.
Our wedding favours were shortbreads made by my mother-in-law. It added a nice touch to such a small wedding. And they were delicious!
We chose a DJ in the evening, Jonny Ross Music. He was brilliant on the night had had a keen sense of what the people in the room wanted to dance to.
Although I was dreading it, my favourite part of the day was the first dance. The formalities of the ceremony were complete so the first dance was just a very joyous, happy moment where Richard and I were able to sink into being husband and wife for the first time.
We are hopeless dancers so asked my parents for some lessons a couple days before the wedding. We spent an evening trolling through Spotify jumping from song to song and trying to dance. Most of the time we were terrible, but once we found one we could dance to together (Cheek to Cheek, Ella Fitzgerald) I was less stressed about doing it on the day.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to remember it’s about the two of you. It’s easy to forget that the wedding is only the start of something. All that matters after the wedding is how you two are together. So choose the details of your wedding for yourselves, and let your wedding be a reflection of your relationship and your personalities. You’ll end up forgetting all about these details on the day anyway! It really does become just about each other.
Also, if you can find a venue with accommodation it is a great addition. It’s really nice to be able to walk up to your room after a long and emotional day.
Congratulations Colleen & Richard!
February 17th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I’m starting the week with something simply gorgeous (hey, isn’t that how we always start the week here at Brides Up North) and introducing another of my super creative Featured Suppliers – Jenny of bespoke accessories brand Ophelia May. I’ve had the privilege of seeing and trying Jenny’s beautiful collection at one of our Brides Up North luxury events and let me tell you, these pieces are even more delicate and delectable in real life than on these pretty pages.
And the cherry on top? Ophelia May is also offering Brides Up North readers an exclusive 15% discount on all orders placed by midnight on 16th March 2014 using the code BUNweb15. If I were you, I’d hightailing it over to Jenny’s online shop right now, before the rest get there first.
In the meantime, let’s say hello…
Tell us about Ophelia May and how it all began?
Ophelia May offers beautiful vintage inspired bridal accessories and hair adornments. Each piece is individually handcrafted, with delicate embroidery and embellished with scatterings of Swarovski crystals, tiny pearls and seed beads. The collections are designed using beautiful silks, Scottish lace and vintage bits, to produce a unique selection of intricate head pieces and bridal sashes.
I have always had a particular interest in bygone eras and find that this often translates into my work sometimes even unintentionally. I am forever collecting vintage fabrics, jewellery, beads and pearls as well as fragments of antique lace. Not only do these inspire me to create beautiful pieces but they can also be incorporated into the designs, ensuring no two pieces will ever be quite the same.
Following my degree in Textile Crafts, where I specialised in Embroidery, I did a placement with a bridal designer in London. I then went on to work in the fashion industry as a designer but I always missed the creativity of designing for the bridal market so I jumped at the chance to set up my own company. I hope brides will get as much pleasure wearing my pieces as I get from creating them!
What bridal accessories are available to buy at Ophelia May?
Beautiful hair adornments, wrist corsages and stunning bridal sashes are available in the current collection. I am also currently designing a range of bridal veils and garters, which will be introduced in future collections.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I find inspiration in so many things – film, nature, vintage magazines and fashion, both modern and historical. I love seeing the latest collections from bridal gown designers and making pieces that compliment their designs.
Also, my inspiration often comes from the materials I use, whether it’s a vintage brooch or a delicate fragment of lace from a vintage dress. I love to look around charity shops, vintage fairs and antique markets. London’s Portobello Road is a great place to delve into, as it is full of bric-a-brac, antiques and beautiful vintage finds, perfect for sparking ideas.
What bridal accessory trends have been popular in 2013 and what trends do you see emerging in 2014 and beyond?
The vintage trend remained popular throughout 2013, particularly the Twenties and Thirties, with the release of period dramas in film and television such as The Great Gatsby and Downton Abbey and I think this will continue into 2014. Headbands and smaller hair adornments will continue to emerge, with intricate embellishments, lace and plenty of sparkle to reflect the decadence of the Jazz Age.
There is also an emphasis on Nature in the 2014 trends, with floral details and embroidery appearing on headpieces and bridal sashes. Oversized silk flowers and hints of colour will add a dramatic statement for any bride wanting to create the perfect boho look.
What can Brides Up North expect when they use your service?
I am very passionate about every piece I make. All the designs are individually and completely handmade in the studio. Each petal is hand cut and shaped, all embellishments and embroidery are delicately done by hand and all elements are carefully hand-sewn together to produce a truly unique product of the highest quality for every bride.
What is your current favourite piece and why?
I love all the pieces in the collection, but the Annalise lace bridal halo is a personal favourite as it’s so versatile. It can be worn across the forehead, as a normal headband and it looks stunning worn at the back to compliment a gorgeous up-do. With its intricate array of crystals and beading, it will add a touch of sparkly vintage glamour to your special day!
Tell us about your bespoke service?
Our bespoke service is for those brides looking for the perfect accessory to complete their bridal outfit but who can’t find seem to find it. Every piece can be fully customised to suit each bride. If you love an existing design and would like something similar, then fabric, accents and colours can be altered. Or maybe you would like a combination of two designs?
I can also create something completely new and unique, handmade just for you to match your theme or your dress. Any cut offs or spare lace from your wedding dress can be used for a bridal sash or even incorporated into a hair accessory.
Do you make pieces that would be appropriate for Bridesmaids?
Several of the smaller pieces would be perfect for bridesmaids, such as the Rose hair clip or the Nellie hair pins. These can be made in a variety of colours to match the bridesmaids’ dresses.
Can brides incorporate their sentimental jewellery into a piece?
Yes, absolutely. Family heirlooms or treasured jewellery can be incorporated into your design, creating a unique keepsake for future generations. I love to create pieces this way, as these special objects have a history of their own and have the ability to evoke strong emotional sentiments, making them truly personal to the bride.
Tell us about your personalised embroidery?
Items can be delicately hand embroidered with names, dates or a significant quote, for that extra special touch. This can be applied to anything from a bridal sash to a cherished handkerchief.
How can Brides Up North get in touch with you/ find out more?
February 6th, 2014 | Julia Braime
A tortoise in a tutu, heaps of lace, pearls and roses and a Real Wedding in a tipi in my home town. Thursday mornings don’t get much better than that! Today we join North East couple Kathryn and Dean for their celebration under canvas in County Durham.
With images by SDS Photography.
Kathryn says: We got engaged on Christmas Day 2012. Dean had planned different scenarios on how and where he was going to propose, depending on the weather. Because it didn’t snow outside, he made it snow inside. Dean covered the living room in fake snow and played our favourite Christmas song – there was a big box in the middle of the room filled with lots of smaller boxes (like Russian dolls). I had wanted a watch for Christmas so when I got to the last box, it was quite big so I thought it was the watch, but there was nothing inside it – I looked up and Dean had big sheets of card with the words of our favourite Christmas song “All I want for Christmas is You”, after each card he dropped the cards, one by one; “Love Actually” style. After the last one he got down on one knee and pulled out a ring box with a gorgeous diamond ring in! Needless to say by this point I was in tears and obviously said yes!
We were married on 26th October 2013 at Elvet Methodist Church in Durham followed by a reception in giant tipis in a friend’s field close to Ushaw College.
We had 5 giant tipis supplied by Special Event Tipis, they were joined together to make one huge marquee style space, one of which was the bar and chill out area, and one was for the band and dance floor area, and the other 3 were the main seating area for the meal. We had over 170 guests during the day with an additional 70 in the evening.
We chose to use tipis because we fancied something a little different! My sister and I used to have a business supplying chair covers and sashes for weddings so I had been to most venues in the North East so I wanted something totally different and special!
As soon as I went the visit the tipis, I knew they were exactly what I wanted. Dean wasn’t able to see the tipis before the wedding so he was a little sceptical about the idea, he only saw them the day before the wedding when we were setting them up, but he highly approved, much to my relief.
We went for a natural and vintage feel with lots of lace & pearls. We also had a recurrent theme of logs; from a picture of a tree stump in the corner of our invitations with our initials carved in it, hollowed out tree stumps and logs filled with flowers for the table centre pieces and giant slices of bark covered tree trunk were used as cake stands for our traditional wedding cake and cheese wedding cake.
Our colour scheme was quite neutral with pale gold and ivory.
My dress was from the Wedding Wardrobe at Chester-le-Street and was a Maggie Sottero dress called Grace. It was a very pale gold satin covered in ivory lace. To make it my own, I bought a handmade vintage style necklace and bracelet and had the necklace sewed into the front of my dress under the bust and the bracelet was attached to the top of my veil. I had these removed after the wedding to keep and wear as jewellery.
I had too many close friends and sisters to choose from so decided to only have four small bridesmaids, my nieces. I got their dresses from BHS and teamed them with a cream cardigan from John Lewis. The dresses were pale gold satin with a lace bodice, they matched my dress perfectly!
The men wore dark navy, 3 piece suits which we bought from Next (it proved quite difficult as the men live all over the country) with a white shirt and vintage gold patterned tie form M&S. I also had my nephew as a page boy who wore a navy suit form Monsoon and we had one of the mens’ ties made smaller to fit him.
I had a beautiful bouquet which had white avalanche roses, Roralie roses which were a pale peach/cream colour, talea roses which were a vintage peach/champagne colour, spray snowflake roses, white hydrangea and wax flowers and we also added old brooches which I had collected from antiques fairs and strings of pearls to keep the vintage theme going. All our flowers were by Country Style at Langley Park.
We travelled in a cream VW split screen Campervan from Lovedub Cars called Chaz – he was beautiful.