October 30th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
For some couples a wedding is about getting away from day to day life and escaping to a far-off venue for vows and celebrations. Other couples, however, like to make their big day all about their local surroundings, sharing the place they call home with their family and friends. The latter is certainly true of today’s featured couple, who chose to tie the knot in their home city of Manchester.
By combining personal touches and pretty décor, Sarah and Ben’s wedding is as cool as it is classy – and we flippin’ love it!
There’s pretty pink flowers, glittering sequins and twinkling fairylights but also an urban backdrop, smoke bombs and tattoos.
What this couple easily deliver is a lesson in how to truly make your wedding your own…
With images by Katie Dervin.
sarah says: We got engaged at my parents’ house in Cheshire, on Christmas Day 2014. It had started as an unfortunate day as Ben was currently living in London and all I wanted was to see him and spend some quality time together but I woke up to an awful 24-hour bug and was bed ridden for most of the day. So, after a quick change of plan he said he was going to come to mine and spend the day with me being ill and not very in the mood for Christmas. My parents had gone around to my brother’s so there was just the two of us in the flat. He went downstairs to make me a tea and next thing he shouted up to me to come downstairs to open my presents, which I wasn’t happy about at all as I could barely stand up. As I got to the top of the stairs I heard playing faintly our song, which is How Long Will I Love You by Ellie Goulding and I immediately burst into tears. I walked down the stairs to see him in my living room standing in the middle of a rose petal heart and candles everywhere. He then went down on one knee and asked me. I was hysterical. I wasn’t expecting it at all as we had only been together for 13 months. It was perfect. No big show, no embarrassing displays of public affection. Just me and him.
Our wedding date was Saturday 8th July 2017.
We got married at the Renaissance Manchester hotel on Blackfriars Street in the city centre. We have lived in Manchester for nearly two years now and having looked at numerous venues in Cheshire, where we are both originally from, we realised that they weren’t for us and we are now officially city people and wanted our friends and family to see where our lives are now. The venue wasn’t actually our first choice. Our original venue cancelled on us six months before the wedding due to renovations and we then essentially had to start again. But Ben managed to find The Renaissance, who turned out to be our saviours and we had the amazing day we had always wanted.
We didn’t have a theme per say. We just wanted to have a great day that everyone would enjoy and remember for all the right reasons. It was once described to me as an ‘urban fairy-tale wedding’ with a little rock and roll. We are a non-traditional couple with traditional values so we tried to have the best of both worlds.
The colour scheme was pinks and gold. I didn’t just want to have a specific shade of pink, mainly because I couldn’t decide but also I felt it’s a colour which can have all different shades in one place and still look right.
My dress was from Wed2B in Bolton. It was the first thing we purchased after we had set the date. In my head, I had always wanted a typical princess fairy-tale style dress and I remember walking in and saying “take me to the tulle”. I tried on my first dress and hated it as this was all I had wanted and it looked awful. The lovely assistant persuaded me to try a different, more fitted style. I still wasn’t convinced until the straps fell down off my shoulders due to it being a little too big and I fell in love. I loved the style and fit and making the straps more of a Bardot on the shoulders gave it a more vintage style.
August 9th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Today’s couple, Laura and David, are self-confessed globetrotters, and we just love the fact that they injected this sense of adventure into their special day at Crosby Hall Educational Trust in Little Crosby, back in May.
Paying homage to all the wonderful memories they’ve created together so far, hopping from country to country, their colourful wedding day featured some rather lovely nostalgic touches, including miniature globes and Polaroid pictures aplenty. It comes as no surprise to us to hear that, post-wedding, the newlyweds will also be embarking on a very unique honeymoon experience (more deets on this later).
Swapping the traditional wedding breakfast for an indulgent afternoon tea followed by a hog roast, our couple definitely put their own stamp on the day’s proceedings. A pork pie wedding cake and vintage ice cream camper van are just two of the other scrumptious foodie highlights from their big day. A deliciously different line-up, if we do say so ourselves!
With photos by Hayley Blackledge Photography.
laura says: We got engaged in January 2016. We had gone out for dinner and David arranged for my sister to decorate the living room while we were out. I came home to a candlelit living room with photographs of us in various places around the world attached to balloons saying, “Will you marry me?”.
Our wedding took place on 27th May 2017. We originally wanted a summer date but the venue didn’t have any of our preferred dates available. We then considered Easter, but decided on May in the end. I’m a teacher so I wanted to make sure I had some school holidays after the wedding. We liked the fact it was a Bank Holiday weekend too, as we had lots of people travelling to the wedding and it allowed them to make the most of their time with us.
We had the ceremony and reception at Crosby Hall Educational Trust (CHET) in Little Crosby. The ceremony took place in the old barn. We loved the venue as soon as we saw the space. It ticked all the boxes for us – it was relaxed, pretty, private and allowed us to put our own stamp on things.
We didn’t have a theme as such but we incorporated lots of travel elements, due to the fact we have spent most of our relationship traveling the world! We used globes as decorations and we named our tables after some of our favourite places. We also decorated the walls of the corridors in the venue with photos of us in various locations.
We wanted the wedding to be bright and colourful, with a touch of sparkle. We used lots of bright colours in the decorations and flowers, with touches of metallic gold and glitter.
I got my dress from Wed2be in Liverpool. I didn’t want to spend a fortune on a dress and originally, I went along just to get a feel for the style I wanted. I tried on lots of different gowns, but this dress just felt like ‘me’. I’m not a particularly girly girl and didn’t want anything too traditional. I felt the dress suited my personality perfectly and I felt really comfortable in it.
My shoes were from Irregular Choice. I’d had my eye on them for a while. My mum tried to persuade me to get something else but I’m glad I didn’t listen to her! I really want to wear them again!
April 10th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
Today on the blog, we’re sharing a beautiful winter wedding at Iscoyd Park – a captivating Georgian country house in Shropshire.
Celebrating in the venue’s pretty marquee, the couple, Emma and Andrew, dressed this space with the most beautiful blossom trees draped with low hanging lights, creating the dreamiest of backdrops. Throw in some beautiful bouquets, Lindt chocolates, confetti on the dance floor and a string quartet – and you’ve got the makings of a truly classic wedding day.
With photos by Charlotte Giddings Photography.
emma says: We got engaged on Christmas Day in 2014. After our three children had opened their Christmas presents, Andrew got down on one knee and popped the question. I immediately said yes!
We both wanted a winter wedding and decided to tie the knot on 24th February 2017 at Iscoyd Park. We thought it was such a beautiful venue with wonderful, friendly staff and it’s even been awarded wedding venue of the year!
For our colour scheme, we chose pink, which is such a pretty shade! We love the work of Mat Heppleston from Red Floral Architecture and to coincide with the colour palette, opted for blossom trees in the marquee, which looked stunning
My dressmaker ruined my original wedding dress, as she made some very bad alterations. As a result, two weeks before the wedding I had no dress. But, in hindsight, I am so glad this happened because the dress I then chose to replace it was perfect and I felt like a princess! It was a three-quarter-length design called Eva from Wed2b in Wrexham.
Andrew hired a blue suit from Peter Posh in Shrewsbury, and teamed this with tan coloured shoes. The groomsmen and pageboy – our son –hired their suits from Peter Posh, too.
June 10th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
Dreaming of a blissful summer holiday, complete with sunshine, culture and cocktails? Us too! Well today we’re getting a little closer to the heat of some overseas sun as we relive the gorgeous wedding day of Ala and Anisa.
Picking Antalya in Turkey, as the ideal destination for their big day, Ala and Anisa did the majority of the wedding planning and decision making from their home in Sheffield.
Deciding to keep things simple, yet beautiful, Ala and Anisa didn’t go all out on details and décor, instead letting the setting speak for itself and capturing its beauty with a pre-ceremony shoot around the streets of Antalya, resulting in some fabulous photography. In particular we love the image of Anisa sitting on the colourful steps – talk about pretty!
With images by Amy & Omid Photography.
anisa says: We decided we wanted to get married not long after we got to know each other. After meeting we continued our friendship over a distance for more than a year. As we are both so close to our families we spent a few months getting to know each other’s families first, then once we received the blessing from our parents, Ala proposed and we were married three months later! The proposal wasn’t a surprise but the ring certainly was!
The date of the wedding was 28th December 2015. As we were having an overseas wedding we thought it would be better to plan it for in the winter holidays. The timing of the wedding was perfect – it wasn’t too hot or too cold. Actually the weather was like a British summer and everyone really appreciated the vitamin D!
We got married in Antalya, Turkey. We chose to get married in Turkey as we wanted both sets of families and friends to be able to get to the wedding easily. It is also a beautiful country and Antalya, in particular, has stunning coastline. Ala has spent many holidays in Turkey with amazing memories so we knew we would have a great time there. Most of our friends and family came a few days earlier and stayed a few days after the wedding so combined the wedding with a mini-holiday for themselves. Turkey is also cheap enough to have a really good time without worrying about expenses!
The hotel we got married in, Akra Barut, was really stunning and accommodated all our needs. This was really important as we mostly organised the wedding from our home in Sheffield!
We had a Baha’i wedding. Baha’i weddings have no set formula and are so flexible that they can accommodate any cultural preferences while holding a sacred religious element too. The only stipulation is for husband and wife to recite “We will all verily, abide by the Will of God” in the presence of two witnesses. Then the marriage certificate in signed and the marriage is official!
August 11th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s bride and groom turned their May wedding around in just five months following a romantic Christmas Day proposal. Impressive, hey?
Early on Laura had a few key suppliers in mind who she quickly secured and found her perfect venue in the form of a place she used to work, The Plough in Lupton.
With the help of their loving family, Laura and Edward, then pulled together the finishing touches for the beautiful blue wedding day, including handmade décor, floral arrangements and musical entertainment.
With images by Jess Reeve Photography.
laura says: We got engaged on Christmas day 2014. We like to make each other a Christmas stocking with small gifts in each and we open these together first thing on Christmas morning. My stocking last year was full of stranger presents than ever before – I had some cheap biros, a chocolate orange (actually an empty box as Ed had already eaten it!) and then a mystery box in the toe of the stocking. I unwrapped it and there was Ed asking me to marry him!
We got married on the 23rd May 2015. We chose the date primarily because I’m a teacher and we needed a date in school holidays. This date fell at the beginning of summer half term so we would be able to have a week off together afterwards. We didn’t want to wait until the summer as, unfortunately, my father was diagnosed with cancer at New Year and, with an uncertain prognosis, we wanted to ensure he was with us to enjoy our special day.
We got married at All Saints church in Burton-in-Lonsdale. Edward grew up in Burton and attended primary school next to the church. Ed’s mother also volunteers her time to help with the church and so it was the perfect place for us to marry in. The reception venue was The Plough at Lupton. Before my teacher training I worked in hospitality and I was assistant manager at The Plough between 2010 (when it reopened after a total refurbishment) until 2012. My father also worked there until January of this year, and we knew the staff would make it a perfect day for us.
We didn’t have a theme but we did have a colour scheme of navy/royal blue. I chose blue because I’ve always liked it as a colour and because it would link to my engagement ring, which is a diamond with two tear drop sapphires either side.
From looking at different styles of dress online and in magazines, I knew I didn’t want a dress without some form of straps. Although I wanted something special, I also knew that I didn’t want to spend a fortune on a dress that I would wear for one day. Someone recommended I look at Wed2B in Bolton as a starting place. As I’d been on a strict diet since January, I wanted to leave it as late as I dared to get my dress! My mum and I went to Wed2B at the beginning of April as I’d seen the dress I wanted on the website and they had one in stock – it was in my size! I tried on four dresses and the one I had seen online was the one I fell in love with. It was perfect!
As a special touch on the wedding day I decided that I would have my grandma’s engagement ring as my ‘something old’. Her rings were passed to me when she died a few years ago. My grandma always said she wanted to make it to my wedding day, so this was a good way to remember her as I married Edward.
My partner wore a navy tailcoat with pinstripe trousers and ivory ruche from Greenwoods. He wore his own navy waistcoat that he ordered tailor-made so that he would be able to wear it again and remember the wedding.
The bridesmaids wore the dress Katie in navy by Eloise’s Secret Closet. I chose them because I loved the detail around the top – it complemented my dress so well, and the colour was perfect.
The best man wore the same as the groom except with a navy ruche and a grey waistcoat. My father wore the same as the best man, and Ed’s father and the ushers wore their own suits.
My mum’s fiancé offered to get us a wedding car as our wedding present, as long as he could keep the car a surprise! That was a bit scary – but I knew it would be special. Steve hired us a beautiful wedding car from Heysham Limos. It was perfect! After the ceremony, when Edward and I were ready to go to the reception venue, the chauffeur had put the top down as it was such a beautiful day, and had a bottle of champagne on ice for us to share on the way back to the reception. He even took a detour through Kirkby Lonsdale so we could have a ride round the town in the car!
Our photographer was Jessica Reeve. As soon as Edward proposed I knew I wanted Jessica to be our photographer. I used to work with Jessica when she had just graduated university, and I knew her photographs were the best, and her style and shots were just what I wanted.
Even though I knew Jess already, from start to finish she was a real professional. We had a meeting to discuss what I wanted from the photographs and arranged an engagement shoot around Edward’s parent’s house in the woods where he grew up playing, and where we walk the dogs. She really put us at ease and getting to work with her before the wedding was really good. On the day Jessica was fantastic with everyone – she was unobtrusive throughout the day and the shots she got were perfect. I didn’t even know she was there in the church or during the speeches! I would (and do!) recommend Jess to everyone who is having a special occasion and wants a photographer!
As I was working up until two days before the wedding, and was on a budget, I didn’t want to be sorting out flowers the day before the wedding and florists seemed so expensive. As a result, my mother and I looked at some foam flowers to make my Botany Bay bridesmaids’ bouquets. Some of the ones we found weren’t very realistic. However, while at one day for lunch, we found some small foam roses which were £1.95 for eight and just what I wanted! We bought 16 per bridesmaid and 32 for my bouquet – that’s £15.60 for the main bouquet flowers! We found some artificial gypsophila as well and arranged them into bouquets, tied round with the navy ribbon. I then used small diamantes in the centre of each rose for some added sparkle, and when my dress was shortened there were some small beads left over, which I put on wires and added into the bouquets.
Edward’s mum Cathy often helps decorate the church for special occasions and is a fantastic flower arranger – she even made the button holes for the bridal party to wear! For the day, Cathy and her sisters made pew ends with gorgeous flowers, and found some wonderful blue flowering plants to decorate the back of the church.
At the venue I used decorations that I collected from all over. My mum is the hero really as she sat and made 40 paper flowers in different shades of blue. Each flower had six petals and each petal had to be made individually – it took her weeks! But, they were perfect. We put them on the tables in glass jars we had found in antique shops, alternated on the long tables with hexagonal jam jars with tea lights in. All the jars we wrapped in the navy ribbon with diamantes on.
At The Plough there are lovely wooden beams throughout, and we used these to hang navy and white pom pom balls from, along with various wicker hearts and lights. In alcoves and on the fireplaces we had a variety of lights from pearl fairy lights, heart lights and even flower lights in glass bowls. On the tables I had white table cloths with navy organza runner down the middle, which matched the navy chair ties. I had my family all decorating the tables and reception the morning of the wedding after breakfast!
As Edward and I both love cheese, and we had planned on having wheels of cheese tiered in the evening, we decided we would have miniature bottles of vintage port as our favours. My mum’s boss provided us with lots of organza favour bags which we put the bottles in. For the children we had small hexagonal jars of Haribo love heart sweeties.
We were going to have a Marks & Spencer cake with a tier of fruit and two tiers of sponge. However, at Christmas we had a fair at school and one of the mum’s ran a cake stall and her items were to die for! It turned out that she does occasion cakes too (Lucia’s Continental Cakes) so we ordered a three tier cake – fruit on the bottom, chocolate in the middle, and sponge on the top. It was all beautiful!
Having run weddings from a catering perspective myself, I decided I would keep the menu choices simple, so we had a choice of two items for each of three courses. We had melon and red berry coulis or chicken liver parfait with red onion chutney to start, roast chicken, red wine jus, fondant potato and seasonal veg or Butternut squash and roasted red pepper risotto for mains, and vanilla crème brulee with homemade shortbread or sticky toffee pudding, butterscotch sauce, and thunder and lightning ice cream for dessert.
For the reception we chose to have tiered ‘wedding cakes’ made of wheels of cheese and also of different pies. The cheese was supplied by John at Churchmouse Cheeses. We also had tiered pork pie ‘cake’ baked in different size heart shapes! This was made especially for us by award winning butcher Mark at Dales Butchers. The bottom tier was traditional pork pie, the middle was port and chilli jam, and the top tier was pork and haggis. We also had sweet treats provided by Madam Chocolat, Morecambe. Our guests were certainly well fed!
To entertain the guests as they arrived at the church, and also during the signing of the register, we asked Ed’s mum Catherine to play the harp. Catherine plays the harp regularly and we were so lucky that she agreed to play at our wedding, and our guests really enjoyed the music in the church.
For the reception, we decided didn’t want a huge party or band, as we wanted a small and intimate wedding, perfect for The Plough. We wanted to spend the day with our friends and family and so we chose just to have a simple music system in the bar area with space for people to dance if they wished. Luckily, my father has some lights and DJ equipment as he sometimes does discos so he set this up for us in the bar and it was perfect. It also meant my dad was in charge of the music, which he was happy with!
We would 100% recommend our venue – it’s perfect for weddings. The layout of The Plough is perfect for special occasions and the garden area is extra special for photographs. The staff also deserve a special mention as, from start to finish, they were amazing. They managed it so professionally and everything was perfect.
Our favourite part of the day (besides becoming husband and wife) was seeing our guests enjoying themselves and celebrating with us. Having all the people who mean the most to us in the world all together was fantastic, and we couldn’t have hoped for anything more than that.
We are waiting to go on honeymoon until later in the year as Edward works away at sea in the Merchant Navy as an engineer, which means he is away for up to four months at a time. We did, however, manage a getaway to Centre Parcs at Penrith as a minimoon.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be – don’t worry about every little detail on the day. Make sure your wedding party have details of everything so if something goes wrong, they can deal with it for you. Also, make sure you take time to step back and watch your guests enjoying themselves – it makes all the hard planning worth it. Finally, make sure you take time to be with your new husband/wife – everyone will be grabbing your attention all day – don’t forget about the most important reason you’re all there!
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