May 3rd, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
You have been warned: today’s real wedding is all about the emotion. Talented bridal designer and seamstress Suzi lost her beloved mum to cancer a few months before her planned September wedding. The world shifted on its axis; everything was cancelled.
The following year, with the help of husband-to-be Sam and a close alliance of family and friends, Suzi found a way to plan a vintage wedding that was both a fun and poignant celebration of their love, with plenty of fitting tributes to her mum.
The end result, we think you’ll agree, is a wonderfully joyous, vintage-inspired big day with lots of laidback homespun vibes. Get ready for the goosebumps: this is wedding inspo at its glorious best.
With images by Luke Whiteley and Dean Hammonds.
suzi says: Sam proposed in December 2014 under our first Christmas tree in our own home, with his grandmother’s beautiful sapphire and diamond ring which he‘d concealed in a bauble! A few weeks later, having been such a presence throughout Sam’s life, she passed away. I feel so honoured to have been given her beautiful engagement ring and so happy that she knew he‘d asked me to marry him.
We got married on 30th August 2016. It was actually second time lucky! We had originally booked and planned our wedding for September 21st 2015 – however, due to my mum passing away in May of that year, we decided to postpone it. My sister was really eager to get married (following two previous attempts!) so we put our wedding on the back burner and helped concentrate on giving Jo the brilliant day that she truly deserved despite our mum not being able to be with us all. We chose 30th August as it was the Tuesday after the bank holiday so it allowed our guests to have an extra-long bank holiday weekend.
We had our wedding ceremony in our local Methodist church in Matlock, Derbyshire. Our close friend Rachel did the address which was so personal and lovely and was definitely one of my favourite parts of the day. We asked some close friends to do readings – Polly read one of my mum’s favourite bible readings and Rosie read ‘He’s Not Perfect’ by Bob Marley.
We chose one of our favourite local pubs, The White Hart, to host our reception. They have a beautiful glass orangery and outside terrace and field. This worked perfectly as it was the most beautiful day! They were really flexible with all our requests, and as I was doing so much myself, I was happy to put my trust in our wedding coordinator, Emily, who accommodated all our requirements brilliantly.
While trying to plan the wedding, I lost one of the most important people in my life. My wonderful mum was diagnosed with a rare form of bowel cancer four years ago. We were adamant she was going to fight it and stood by her as she battled numerous operations, countless stints in hospital, different drugs and chemotherapy, trying to keep smiling and praying that it would soon all be a distant nightmare. However, it wasn’t to be, and in the winter of 2014 we were told that they were going to stop chemotherapy. We planned our wedding for the following September (2015) but sadly mum died in the May of that year. I was 26 and couldn’t believe that she was gone, that she wouldn’t be around for the rest of my life or to watch me marry Sam. It took me a while to get back to thinking about our wedding as I couldn’t imagine a day where Mum wouldn’t be there – it just didn’t feel right. Who was I going to call to discuss dresses and fabrics and all the little details that seem so important at the time? However, after a little time, we felt ready to start thinking about it; we decided to make it a day of fun and laidback celebration, including all of our amazing friends and family who had supported us on our difficult journey.
We didn’t really have any specific ‘theme’ as such; instead, we went for a summery, fresh and contemporary feel. We just wanted to stay true to ourselves and let the day represent us. Mine and Sam’s favourite colour is blue, so we had a loose blue colour theme for the day incorporating lots of white, touches of pink, grey and highlights of silver, too.
After finding the gorgeous fabric for my bridesmaids’ dresses – a blue floral with touches of pink, purples and grey – it became the main inspiration for our colours. I wanted to keep most things white and fresh so the bridesmaid fabric would make a real impact.
October 28th, 2016 | Julia Braime
When we first set eyes on today’s real wedding we were totally blown away by the bride’s cool and individual style, perfectly showcasing how to make your big day attire your own.
Wearing an insanely beautiful lilac, bias-cut silk dress, Rachel exudes Hollywood glamour by the bucket load, completing her look with a sparking birdcage veil headpiece and shower style bouquet. We love!
As the couple’s stylish choice of venue didn’t have a marriage license, Rachel and Tom made things legal with a ceremony at Leeds Town Hall a few days previous, and yes, they looked flippin’ gorgeous for that bit too!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Mark Newton Photography.
rachel says: We got engaged on 29th February 2012, at the Bier Keller in Leeds. We’d randomly gone there for a drink after. After a discussion about wedding and such things, I decided to ask Tom to marry me, we had been together for five years after all. He said yes and we both got quite emotional. I was lucky enough to inherit my grandmother’s engagement ring so we didn’t have to buy one.
We had our legal ceremony at Leeds Town Hall on 18th May 2015, as unfortunately the venue we wanted to have our wedding at didn’t have a licence to marry us there. We then had a blessing at The Leeds Club on 29th May, as part of our wedding celebrations. I always remember walking past the venue as a child and seeing the business men in the wing back chairs and being really fascinated as to what was inside.
We chose lilac and sage green for the wedding scheme, as we wanted colours that would complement the venue and that also matched my dress.
I was lucky enough to have two wedding dresses as we had the two ceremonies. For the town hall I wore head to toe Vivienne Westwood. For the blessing, I was fortunate enough to have a bespoke dress from the amazing Glory Days, in York. My dress was based on 1940’s Hollywood glamour and the dresses worn by Joan Crawford. It was lilac bias cut silk, with an open back and fishtail train. It was the best dress ever.
Both my bridesmaids have very different styles, so I asked them to wear their favourite dresses. Jules made her own 1940’s style cocktail dress and Suzanne wore a floor-length maxi dress from Seraphina.
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September 1st, 2016 | Julia Braime
There are several elements to today’s real wedding that evoke the word “wow”.
The fabulously planned surprise proposal for one (excellent work Courtney), not to mention the a-maz-ing reception venue, and then the fact that the couple managed to get one of their favourite bands to travel all the way from California to play at their wedding. Impressed? Us too!
Now let’s start by hearing that proposal story…
With images by Yolande De Vries Photography.
courtney says: I proposed to Vicky at Cottage Road Cinema in Leeds on 4th May 2014. Cottage Rd Cinema was one of the places we went to on our first dates and is only a two minute walk from our house.
On the day of the proposal Vicky had planned to meet a group of friends in Headingley for lunch and a few drinks as a belated birthday celebration. I had suggested the two of us go to a student short film festival at Cottage Road Cinema before lunch and told her I had pre booked tickets. When we got to the cinema we were given a glass of prosecco each (we were told it was complimentary with ticket as part of the student film festival). When we got in the previews were already on and we stumbled to a few seats in the back.
When the first “short film” came on it was set to the song Skinnybones by Sea of Bees, which always reminds us of when we first got together. So instantly Vicky knew I was up to something but had no idea it was more than just a film. Part way through the very short film (it was probably only about 20 seconds of footage) text appeared that said, Victoria Hayhurst I adore you. Let’s be together forever? I then pulled out the ring I had designed as a cork popped from a bottle of bubbly, the lights went up and all our friends jumped up and yelled surprise! Vicky burst into tears, when she saw everyone and then again when she saw the ring and realised what was going on. We all had more prosecco, chatted and then walked to the restaurant we were all booked into for lunch and had a lovely day.
Exactly a year later Vicky surprised me on a walk through the woods by giving me my engagement ring at a spot that means a lot to us.
We got married on 27th June 2015, at Leeds Town Hall because I love the building and Leeds is where we met. The reception was held at Left Bank Leeds which is an amazing Grade II* listed former church building near to where Vicky lived as a student and where I rented when I first moved to Leeds. Before we found the venue I had wanted a grand but dilapidated building, with prosecco and exquisite canapés being served and a jazz band playing. Left Bank Leeds wasn’t dilapidated but still had the sense of grandeur I desired.
Our colour scheme was black, white, grey and navy with accents of copper. I chose these because they’re my favourite colours (I don’t really do colour!). I didn’t set a dress code but asked that everyone wore black, white, grey or navy. Everyone looks good in those colours and copper was a colour of the moment and added a bit of contrast for an extra pop.
In terms of my wedding attire, I made my own skirt and drafted the pattern myself. It was a full length, high waited skirt with wide waste band, concealed back zip and side pockets (for my phone) in a French navy silk from Joel & Son Fabrics in London. I chose the fabric with my best friends Vicky, Franny and Alexa. I wore the skirt with a customised white sleeveless top that I bought at Cos when I was in Berlin with Franny and Alexa.
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June 27th, 2016 | Julia Braime
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 4th July 2016 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some 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.
Not only is this wedding stunning to look at, but there’s real sentiment and thought behind the various elements of the day. In particular, the first dance that Rachel had with her dad pulls at the heart strings and hopefully encourages brides to plan details that will stay with them long beyond the big day itself.
With images by Helen Russell Photography.
rachel says: We got engaged while in Paris in February 2014 – the trip was a surprise organised by Daniel. He got down on one knee as we were walking along the banks of the River Seine in the shadow of Notre-Dame. It was the perfect proposal!
Our wedding was on 12th August 2015, at Woodhill Hall in Northumberland. Exclusive use was very important to us. We also wanted to have an intimate gathering with close friends and family the night before the wedding and the self-catering facilities at Woodhill Hall made this possible. We also fell in love with the location, the distinctive décor and the flexibility that this venue provided.
Above all else I wanted the wedding to be elegant, timeless and pretty. We chose a colour scheme of muted pastel shades in blushes and mint, which suited our theme perfectly.
My dress was Poppy by House of Mooshki – a blush tea length, tulle and lace gown with illusion neckline and cap sleeves. It was love at first sight – the first dress I tried on! My shoes were Jimmy Choo.
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June 9th, 2016 | Julia Braime
The saying about quality and quantity could not be truer of the lovely real wedding that we are sharing with you on the blog today.
With a modest guest list of 38 day guests and 53 evening guests, Stephanie and Gary wanted their intimate wedding to be a reflection of them as a couple, whilst also being an enjoyable and memorable event for their guests.
Picking a unique venue and prioritising elements such as the photography, food and entertainment, whilst getting stuck into some DIY décor, meant that Stephanie and Gary could have the special day they had dreamt of, whilst remaining still within budget. Excellent work guys!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, James Tracey Photography.
stephanie says: We got engaged on the 28th May 2014. I had my suspicions that Gary was going to do it soon as he’d booked for us to go for afternoon tea at the Hilton in Manchester. We were in the process of buying our house and the Wednesday before when we were booked for afternoon tea, we’d had our final meeting with the bank to say the mortgage had been agreed. We went to the pub after to celebrate and then came home. I got my PJs on, put the bins out and put the washing on, just usual things to do on a Wednesday, and turned round to find Gary with two glasses of whiskey. He asked me to come with him into the front room and gave me a glass and then got down on one knee with a ring. It took me by surprise! I never wanted a huge spectacle of an engagement so what he did was perfect. He’d even been on his own to get the ring and got it spot on!
We were married on the 24th March 2016, the Thursday before the bank holiday weekend. We got together on the 27th March 2008 so knew we wanted a date around when we got together and we wanted a weekday wedding. The Thursday was a good choice because most people then had the bank holiday Friday off work to recover!
We got married at The Belle Epoque in Knutsford, Cheshire. It was the only venue that we went to look round and we knew straight away it was the one for us. We wanted somewhere that was unique, intimate and personal. From our first meeting there, all the staff were so incredibly helpful and we loved that it was a family business and not part of a large chain of hotels. We could pick and choose what we wanted for our day and we could stay there the night of the wedding and have breakfast with family the day after. The setup of the venue was ideal too; we loved that each part of the wedding was in a separate room and guests didn’t have to be shipped off somewhere whilst the room was re-organised and that people could sit away from the DJ during the evening do and chat. Generally, it’s an absolutely stunning venue!
Gary and I are self-confessed beer geeks, so beer had to feature heavily in our wedding. I also wanted to still keep it girly and vintage-y too so I guess the theme was ‘Beer and Birds’ Each table was named after one of our favourite breweries and we had a selection of their bottles as table decorations with fake roses in. The men’s buttonholes were made of beer bottle caps and I had beer bottle caps on my bouquet. All the stationery featured vintage birds and we had a birdcage table plan. I got the design from Dollface Design on Etsy. My mum was unsure when I told her my vision but everyone said how unique and ‘us’ is was.
I am quite girly so pink was the colour theme but very subtly! I didn’t make Gary wear anything pink. We just had pink roses in the table decorations and my bridesmaid wore pink. The buttonholes did have small pink rose buttons on, which my bridesmaid and I also had in our bouquets.
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February 8th, 2016 | Julia Braime
This feature comes to you a little later as normal as we’re working hard behind the scenes here at Brides Up North HQ, right on deadline for issue #05 of our beautiful Unveiled Magazine. I always love this last push, bringing together everything that we’ve been working on for so long, and I’ve got my Editor’s hat firmly on. Anna Wintour, I salute you! The industry support for this issue has been phenomenal and we can’t wait to show you all what we’ve been up to for the past six months, so watch this space!
Now, everyone needs a little pretty on a Monday morning (us more than ever right now #sleepdeprived) and as such we’re sharing with you the wonderful wedding of Sami and Matt.
We love the simplicity of this relaxed big day which resulted in a beautiful and fun filled occasion, evident from the abundance of smiles in the images below.
It’s also a lovely tribute to her ‘Gramps’ that Sami built in so many little memories of a family member who was clearly very dear to her in a subtle yet moving way.
With images by Hayley Blackledge Photography.
sami says: We first got together on a night out on St Patrick’s Day, so seven years later in 2013, Matt took me to Dublin for St Patrick’s Day and proposed outside St Patrick’s Cathedral
We set the date for 12th September 2015, it was my Gramps birthday. He meant the world to me, but sadly died just before we got engaged.
Our ceremony was at Victoria Gallery and Museum (VGM) in Liverpool, and the reception was at Crosby Hall Educational Trust Centre (CHET). We choose these as they were both unique venues and different from each other. Neither of us are originally from Liverpool so we wanted to show off the amazing buildings and sights the city has to offer. The VGM is a very old building in the city centre, and CHET centre is a bit like a converted barn on the outskirts, five minutes from where we now live.
There was no particular theme to the wedding, though we made all the decorations. The table names were named after cities we’ve visited and we decorated the seating plan using bits that we’d picked up while we were in those cities.
We chose green as the colour scheme as it’s my favourite colour, and also the favourite colour of my Gramps.
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