Charlotte Balbier
Luxury Wedding Fairs

wonderfully whimsical: introducing flowers at the barn

August 4th, 2016 | Julia Braime

Flowers at the Barn - Hayley Rose Photography (5)

If you’re currently at the point in your wedding planning where you’re on the search for someone to provide your beautiful blooms then standby, as we’re introducing a new Brides Up North Sponsor to the blog today who can most certainly assist.

Flowers at the Barn is the creation of talented florist Andrea Moyle, who was inspired to set up her Yorkshire-based business due to her love of all things pretty and floral, not to mention her slight obsession with weddings!

Working with beautiful seasonal flowers and fragrant herbs, Andrea is a pro at creating informal and whimsical style arrangements; from fabulous bouquets and button holes to striking flower crowns and arches.

To tell you more about the business and blooms, we’ll leave you in Andrea’s green-fingered hands…

Images by Hayley Rose Photography & Jane Beadnell Photography.

Flowers at the Barn - Hayley Rose Photography (13)

Tell us a little about your background and when and why you first set up Flowers at the Barn?

andrea says: Growing up I used to love being outside, I loved anything and everything about nature: animals, flowers, mud, rain – the lot! But it wasn’t until two-and-a-half-years ago when I moved to Yorkshire from the hustle and bustle of the London suburbs that I saw myself wanting to exclusively work with flowers. Prior to this my career was as a Personal Assistant in a far more corporate, desk orientated world – I knew something needed to change! When I fell pregnant with my daughter this was all the spurring on I needed to set about making Flowers at the Barn – a living dream and I’ve not looked back since!

What do you enjoy about working in the world of weddings? 

I love weddings, in fact some may say I’m even a little bit obsessed! I love not only the flowers, but the dresses, venues and overall styling. You just can’t beat a good wedding! It’s one of the happiest days of a couple’s life and it’s thrilling to be a part of that. I love the planning and thought that a couple put into a wedding and then seeing their vision come to life as the venue is dressed on the wedding morning – it’s very rewarding.

Flowers at the Barn - Jane Beadnell Photography (2)

What is your favourite part of your job? 

Meeting a new bride/couple and learning about their plans for their big day is so exciting to me. I enjoy throwing ideas around and collaborating with them to come up with a design for their day. Also, delivering the flowers to the bride on the wedding morning and seeing her reaction while wishing her all the best for her big day.

How would you describe the style of flowers that you create?

I guess you could say the flowers I create are inspired by my love of nature. I love an informal, whimsical, English country garden style, using seasonal flowers and herbs where possible.

Flowers at the Barn - Hayley Rose Photography (14)

Where do you advise brides to source inspiration from for their flowers?

Some brides know exactly what they want but for those who don’t inspiration can be found by looking at the venue they are getting married at. A grand house is often more suited to candelabras, rose bowls and cut glass arrangements whereas a tipi or barn wedding will have a more rustic, country vibe so this can be reflected in the flowers. I also find the time of year the wedding is taking place is also a great source of inspiration if you’ve no idea where to start. And don’t forget Instagram – hours can be lost looking through gorgeous flower images there!

Beyond bouquets and button holes what other elements of the wedding can you assist with?

I undertake all types of floral work, from thank you bouquets to floral arches, flower crowns to decorating a tree!  If you can think it, I’ll try to deliver it!

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petal perfectionists: introducing paragon floral design

July 27th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

Paragon FloralDesign (12)

ZT Photography

As flowers are one of our very favourite wedding topics, we’re super excited to be introducing you to a fabulous new Premium Sponsor of ours today – the talented Paragon Floral Design.

Based in a wonderfully creative workshop in Oldham, there isn’t much that its experienced florist owners, Lisa Holroyd and Kate Whelan, don’t know about beautiful buds and blooms. Having worked together for more than a decade, the skillful ladies say they share a “geeky passion” for both the wedding industry and floral design, which you can see reflected in their stunning work.

Keen to create arrangements that are as individual as their clients, Lisa and Kate take their inspiration from a wide variety of sources and love showing how flowers can really bring the wow-factor to a wedding.

For more details on what they offer and the way that they work, we’ll hand you over to the lovely Kate…

Paragon FloralDesign (15)

Can you tell us how did Paragon Floral Design come to fruition?

kate says: Paragon Floral Design came about after Lisa Holroyd and I had worked together in various places for about ten years, both in the UK and abroad. We both share a geeky passion for the industry and design in general. After running a chain of shops and an event studio in Bermuda we decided it was time to come home and do it all for ourselves. It’s been slowly coming together since we arrived back in the UK in 2013 and we have been busy with all the preparation, branding, wedding fairs and promotional gubbins since then! In amongst that Lisa had her second child and I gained a teaching degree (we do like to keep busy!) The website went live back in November and we are really pleased to have bookings coming in already. Lisa and I have the same work ethic, which is nice to have in a ‘work wife’. We are perfectionists so we know how important it is to ‘get it right’ on the big day.

What do you enjoy about working in the world of weddings? 

It might sound cliché but every day is different; one day you can be cleaning vases and the next you have a massive delivery of beautiful flowers to condition and sort out. Then the next week you might be in the office and in meetings all day discussing new jobs. We love the concepts, that every couple has a different view of their big day and it’s fun to get all those images together and create something new and unique. You meet so many different people; it’s an all-go industry!

Paragon FloralDesign (13)

ZT Photography

What is your favorite part of your job? 

For me it’s actually a moment you get on the big jobs, where the flowers are in, tables set, lighting is on and being tested and the music is playing. Just before we leave you get to see it perfectly intact, like the guests will see it just before the party. The calm before the storm sort of thing. I love that – it’s a bit emotional and makes me really proud.

For Lisa it’s the brainstorming with the couples, the making and setting up of an event too. There is a very unique feeling you get when you know you have been a part of helping clients create a beautiful memory. We basically love it all!

How would you describe the style of flowers that you create and where do you get your inspiration from?

Everywhere. We especially love texture and detail – creating new shapes, something a bit quirky but still elegant. We love architecture, nature, fashion and learning new craft techniques. We bounce ideas off each other too, that’s cool when you can say “hey what do you think about this?” and then it suddenly takes a new direction and becomes something awesome you never thought of. We like to spend time just creating, so we can show couples fresh ideas.

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What process will a couple go through if they pick you to supply their wedding flowers?

In the first instance couples can email or call directly if they like. Alternatively, we have a contact form on our website that they can fill in. We always respond within 24 hours and we will send out a wedding welcome letter with some basic info on it about us and how we work. It includes some basic price ranges too so that you can have a stab at a budget to work on. From there we usually have a phone call to get an idea of your vision and then set up a meeting to discuss the bits and bobs. If you are happy to pick us then we take a 25% deposit and you are booked in! We’ll then send you your mood board and you have a full-itemized invoice. Six weeks before the wedding the balance is due and up till a few weeks before we can make little tweaks as those extra guests accept, or you forgot about Aunty Marjorie who needs a corsage!

We collect all the info we need from you to deliver the bridal bouquets, set up the florals and then collect anything that requires doing so after the wedding so that on the day, there is nothing to worry about. Lisa and I are on every job we do. We make the flowers and set up, so all you need to do is be there to enjoy it.

Where do you advise brides to source inspiration from for their flowers?,

Every wedding is different. Pinterest is great and it’s a good source but many images are lit/ have filters added so that the colours you see are not really like that. Take into consideration your fashion sense and the colours you like to wear and how you’ve decorated your home? Sometimes you don’t think about that stuff but it really says a lot about who you are every day and we can use that to design something just for you. Take into consideration the venue and your wedding dress too. The style of the venue and the shape of your dress can dictate the feeling and style of floral designs. You don’t just need to show us images of flowers either, perhaps there is some art you like? A photo you love? We can use all that too!

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wedding planning 101: super stylin’

September 29th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Be My Bridesmaid

image source

Having set your budget, booked your venue, sent out your save the dates and secured your photographer and entertainment, it’s time to move onto tasks that many brides deem as the more enjoyable and exciting parts of the planning schedule.

This is because it’s time to start thinking about how to style yourself and your venue for the big day to come! So in today’s wedding planning post we’ll be talking blooms, bridal boutiques and bridesmaids.

Check out our earlier posts in this series by clicking here (the early stages) and clicking here (the next steps).

flower power

Today beautiful blooms tend to stretch way beyond bouquets and button holes with many couples opting to incorporate pretty petals into their décor too. From dainty pew ends to grand floral chandeliers, the possibilities are pretty much endless, though you will need to find a florist that shares your botanical visions in order for them to become reality.

When searching for the right florist, it’s important to look for a trusted supplier with good testimonials from previous couples. You will also want to view examples of their recent work to get an idea of the styles and arrangements that they can achieve. So it might be that you are looking for a florist known for loose, natural and rustic designs, or perhaps neat and elegant arrangements or those that can wow with modern, striking floral structures.

Once you have whittled down a short list meet up with the florist to see how you ‘click’ and if they share your visions on bouquets and floral decorations. They might even suggest great ideas you’d never even thought of.

the one

In many cases shopping for the dream dress is a bride’s favourite part of the planning, though it can be daunting and frustrating at times too with so many options to choose from.

Having done your initial wedding dress research using magazines, blogs and websites to get an idea of the type of gown you might like and to suss out which designers fall into your dress budget, it’s time to search for boutiques that stock your chosen designers and make appointments to visit.

When attending bridal boutique appointments it can be easy for brides to get carried and invite a small entourage to accompany them but it really is best to keep numbers to a minimum to avoid becoming confused by differing opinions. Take those who know you and your style best and will give you an honest opinion – so perhaps mum, sister and maid of honour.

Though it’s good to have an idea of the type of dress you might like, it’s also good to be open minded at your appointment as a style that you’ve never considered just might turn out to be ‘the one’. Bridal stylists know their stuff so if they make a suggestion to try a certain gown on, go with it but don’t feel pressured – the decision is ultimately yours.

leading ladies

Once your dress is sorted you can move onto finding the right gowns for your maids. Again, though most ladies love to shop, bridesmaid dress hunting can be far from retail therapy with bridesmaids clashing on what they would and wouldn’t want to wear.

To avoid shopping centre tantrums it’s a good idea to get together with/speak to your bridesmaids about what type of design and colour you were hoping to dress them beforehand, giving them an opportunity to express any concerns early on. If you have maids of varying figures you could dress them in one colour but different styles of dresses to suit their individual shapes. Alternatively, if you have maids of varying hair colours and complexions, you could ask them all to wear the same design but in varying complementary colours, to suit both them and the wedding styling.

Also, when picking suitable colours for the maids’ dresses think about the styles and tones of flowers you’ve picked and how they will work together.


At this point in the planning process it’s also a good idea to get the catering search underway if the venue you’ve booked won’t be providing the food.

Over time wedding breakfast menus have been extended beyond traditional meat and vegetables, meaning that there are now lots exciting options to whet your appetite. Some couples base their food choices on their personal preferences while others make their decisions by the season of the wedding. There’s also the option to pick menus that complement the style of the wedding, so for example afternoon tea for a rustic, country themed wedding, or street food, such as pizza or Mexican, for informal outdoor weddings.

Whatever you decide look for caterers with good reputations and find out what is included in the price, such as waiting staff and glass/crockery hire, to avoid any hidden costs. Then it’s time to sample the goods with a tasting session so you’ll know exactly how the food will look and taste when it’s served up on the day.

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all things bright & beautiful: blossem

September 8th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Gav Harrison Photography (6)

image by Gav Harrison Photography

This morning on the blog we’re super excited to introduce you to another of our fabulous Featured Suppliers, welcome Emily of BlossEm.

This lovely Yorkshire florist just can’t get enough of weddings, so much so that she converted her initial flower shop into a dedicated wedding studio to focus solely on creating stunning arrangements for couples’ big days.

For Emily, wedding flowers provide so much more than pretty, as she carefully selects blooms that will suit the season and styling of a wedding whilst bringing fragrance, colour and texture to the proceedings.

To explain more about her passion, we’ll hand over the blog reins to Emily…

Chris Stevenson

image by Chris Stevenson

How did you get into floristry?

emily says: At 18-years-old after college, I deferred my university place to study textiles and embroidery and travelled around the world for 12 months. On my return I enrolled onto a floristry course and the rest is history!

Design was always my passion and floristry allowed me to practice this in a much more natural way. I continued studying floristry up to C&G Level 4 and opened my shop a few days before my 21st birthday. I’m also qualified to teach floristry and I was the tutor at Wakefield College for a few years.

Image by

image by S6 Photography

Why wedding floristry specifically?

After my first baby was born I took some time out and focused on a passion of mine – wedding designs. This worked well for me as it allowed me to spend more time on each of my weddings. I had no other distractions. It worked so well in fact I never opened my shop back up, using the premises as a wedding studio.

I also just love weddings – I love couples in love and I love how a wedding makes people feel. It’s a magical experience for everyone involved.

What is your favourite thing about being a florist?

So many things…the change of seasons, when the blossom begins to bloom, when the autumn leaves begin to fall.

The impact that blooms can create, from colours to fragrance, every room feels better with fresh flowers.

Meeting new and working with so many different couples, listening to stories and being allowed into their special days – I could go on!


How can flowers transform a wedding day?

Flowers bring all the elements together in a wedding. The colour, style and texture will complement the bride’s dress and bridesmaid’s dresses. The venue flowers should work with the surroundings as complementing the scenery around will no doubt enhance a reception room. Details and props can be added to reflect the couple’s personality and bring the whole look together.

bride 2
What can couples expect from a consultation with you?

I like to see as much as possible to get a feel for the couple. Ideas, fabrics, stories – anything that shows the personality and style the couple are aiming for. From there we can discuss flower choices, the designs and budget. The couple can see my portfolio of previous weddings and testimonials and we can drink tea and eat biscuits. I can then create a tailor made quote for each couple. I don’t do packages as I find they don’t work for my brides and they don’t work for me – everything is individual.

BlossEm (1)
What advice do you offer to brides and grooms that aren’t too clued-up on flowers?

Let your florist guide you – trust them, after all that’s what you are paying them for. Stick with seasonal flowers where possible and work with designs to complement your dress and venue. Oh, and have fun exploring new blooms!

As well as colour, what other elements should a bride and groom take into consideration when choosing their wedding flowers?

The season of the wedding is always important, after all if you are having a winter wedding but are dreaming of garden Peonies you need to re-think!

Andy Gaines Photography (3)

image by Andy Gaines Photography

Are there any particular flowers, colours or arrangements proving popular with couples at the moment?

Woodland, enchanted forest, boho-chic – basically bringing the outdoors in is very on trend right now. Brides are becoming less afraid of foliage and are happy to have very loose, romantic and natural styles and designs.

Tell us about what type of wedding you would like in terms of your flower choices

Every time I leave a wedding I’ve set up I think to myself that’s my ideal wedding, then a few weeks later I think exactly the same at another! I love the change of seasons and constantly go from a spring wedding to a winter wedding, and then I think a summer wedding would be great! One of my favourite all time flowers is Nigella, which is available during May, I also love Ranunculus and Anemones. And Peonies of course. Oh and Delphiniums…

BlossEm (3)

What can a couple who book you expect from you on the wedding day?

From the initial consultation to the delivery and set up the morning of the wedding, it will be me you will deal with. All emails and meetings will be held with me, all designs will be made by me. I believe brides need to feel calm and as relaxed as possible in the run up to the big day and I will be on hand to ensure all runs perfectly.

What would you say to couple who are worried about the price of fresh flowers?

Work with your florist and trust their judgement, choose uncomplicated designs and stick with seasonal favourites. Cut back on designs that aren’t necessary and opt for a design that will wow!

Gav Harrison Photography (1)

image by Gav Harrison Photography

How can Brides Up North readers get in touch with you or see more examples of your work?

On my newly re-designed website at as well as my Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter.

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breath-taking blooms: forage & blossom

September 1st, 2015 | Julia Braime

FandB2-Helen Lishman Photography

image by Helen Lishman Photography

This afternoon on the wedding blog we’re delighted to introduce you to a very talented wedding supplier and Brides Up North Sponsor, Alice of forage & blossom.

Now here’s a lady who knows pretty! Alice gained a wealth of knowledge in the florist industry before setting up her own business Forage & Blossom, through which she now supplies couples with beautiful and bespoke creations for their special and individual wedding days.

Not only that, but Alice grows many of the blooms which feature in her stunning arrangements herself, further highlighting her genuine passion for the job!

To fill you in more on what she has to offer, we’ll hand you over to the fabulous lady herself. Take it away Alice…

Forage & Blossom  (4)

image by Jackson & Co Photography

How did you get into floristry? 

I came to floristry in a sideways curve; having weaved my way through an artistic education and a range of jobs in the world of design and interiors, I found myself being pulled unequivocally towards floristry. Perhaps it was a path I would always find, having been drawn to flowers as my mum’s shadow in the garden growing up.

I started on the shop floor of a busy florists in London and trained on the job. I plunged blindly in; it was a steep learning curve and sometimes quite intense and tough. I had great colleagues though and if ever things became a bit too much we would let off steam having a good dance around the shop – much to the amusement of our boss and marketing team in the office at HQ with the security camera screens.

I knew what I really wanted to do though was work in weddings. So from there I moved to work as a freelancer for Jay Archer Floral Design. Working for Jay was incredible and an eye opener, she has now become a great friend and a mentor for me creating my own business. She is fearless with some of her ideas and designs (sometimes creating situations of “so I said I would hang that from there – we just need to work out how…” and there is always a way). Jay has a wonderful freeness and fluidity to her style and being, it was amazing to work for her and learn from her.

Leaving Jay was a wrench, but that was when I felt ready to set up on my own and start my own ventures as Forage & Blossom.

FandB33 - paul-liddement-wedding-stories-6

image by Paul Liddement Wedding Stories

What do you enjoy about working in the world of weddings? 

I just knew before I started that I wanted to work in weddings and events. I like working towards an event and also the opportunities of the one -off things you get to create for weddings. I also like building up a relationship with the couple and getting to know them and their individual vision. Plus, I enjoy how each couples’ personality is unique and that feeds into their style. Hence each scheme is individual and different even when the colour palette is similar.

What is your favourite part of your job? 

Well it’s definitely not the early mornings as I’m more of an owl than a lark and I can’t even speak until I’ve had a cup of tea. Strangely though I do quite like being up before the World and seeing things only a few people are awake for, like strange storms and sunrises.

There are many different parts of the job I love. There are the days in the field and cutting garden, doing the digging where the hard labour is oddly satisfying, the childlike excitement when the first seeds emerge, or a rose I have been waiting for finally flowers. I also can get totally lost in my flowers when I love a particular scheme, it’s only the deadline stress which can bring you back to earth. I also really love getting to know a couple quite closely and being involved with their wedding day. I often get to see a secret picture of the bride’s dress because it is quite key to the style of the day. I think I love that every couple is different and hence every floral scheme is unique. So my favourite part of the job is probably the varied elements of it and that each wedding is very different.

Forage & Blossom  (5)

image by Helen Lishman Photography

How would you describe the style of flowers that you create? Where does your inspiration come from?

My style comes, in part, from my artistic background in the design world and a large part from nature. I draw a lot of inspiration from the surrounding world, things I see – be it magazines, shop displays, a painting or a print, and most often the natural world. I feel my style is constantly evolving and I am always learning.

I enjoy more wild and loose designs and flowers being how they are in nature with kinks and flairs. My style is definitely more on the wild and natural side. I love using textures and tones. The natural fluidity and movement in an arrangement is also really key to me. For me, foliage is just as important as the flowers. A big beautiful bloom has far more impact with contrast. The depth, sensuality and movement comes from all the elements in the design working together.

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image by Paul Liddement Wedding Stories

What process will a bride or couple go through if they pick you to supply their wedding flowers?

The process is different for each couple as everyone’s situations are different. Generally I like to have an initial phone or Skype consultation to chat initial ideas and thoughts and to just gather a vibe and a feeling from the couple. Then I have a face to face consultation which I can come to with ideas and prep from the phone/Skype consultation. This can often be at the venue, or I’ll do a separate venue visit. Some of my couples live abroad or far away so with some couples we carry out all our consultations over Skype, which has worked really well and fits in well with people’s busy lives.

I’m in contact with all my couples up until their big day and some couples like to have a Pinterest board on my Pinterest so we can both Pin, comment and share ideas. For Pinterest people (I’m an addict) this can be a great way of easily sharing images and creating a mood board.


Where do you advise brides to source inspiration from for their flowers?

From anywhere. Some couples have a strong vision of what they like and others are slightly overwhelmed at the beginning. I find everyone has an individual style and after chatting and meeting (even if it’s on Skype) you can get a feeling off people and start to understand and read their tastes.

Once I have started to get to know a couple we can then chat about their venue and see what would work there, fit with the surroundings, their personalities and the vision they have for their day.

I think a florist is there to gather a couple’s taste and then throw suitable ideas back at them to see what they like.

FandB6 - Paul Maven Photography

image by Paul Maven Photography

Where do you source the flowers from for your arrangements? 

I have my own cutting garden, so as much as possible I try to source from that and I also source from other local growers. I can’t grow everything though, so I also supplement from the import market.

My style is very much bred from the flowers I grow in my cutting garden. I enjoy the ever changing seasonality of if it and there are many things that you can grow that just don’t travel well in the import market so they don’t have them. The imported flowers are also grown for stem strength so scent is bred out of them. I love scent; I feel it is so evocative and important to my flowers.

The import market absolutely has a place and use, the scale of the British Growers is not able to compete with the Dutch import market. There is, however, a building movement from British growers who are trying to establish their place in the Floral Industry. People are becoming more conscious of their carbon footprint and wanting to support local businesses. British growers have something to offer and it’s different to what the import market can offer. I’m only a small scale grower myself but, I am very much a keen supporter of the British Flower Movement.

Do you have a favourite type of flower?

Ah, impossible question. I am constantly having new favourite flowers. Seasons come round and I find a new flower and then old favourite returns and I can’t believe I forgot how lovely it was.

The Sweet Pea is a staple favourite and has an element of nostalgia attached to it for me, as I have always grown these with my mum as a girl. This year I have discovered a new favourite, the foxglove. It has just been fantastic in the cutting garden. I love its weird kinks, the beautiful shades of colour it changes through on one stem, the cream ones are gorgeous and then sometimes an odd cross pollination one pops up, which is unusual and beautiful. Oh and then the cornflowers popped up after the foxgloves – I had forgotten how much I loved the deep blue of the cornflowers.

FandB16 - Paul Maven Photography

image by Paul Maven Photography

Any particular styles of flowers proving popular with brides at the moment?

Crowns, crowns, crowns.

In your opinion how do flowers enhance a wedding?

Well I am completely biased. I am obviously mad about flowers and for me they bring the whole style and feel of a day together. Often you don’t really need other decorative elements as you can do it all with your flowers.

Flowers also have nostalgia and personal meaning attached to them; many brides ask for a certain flower in their bouquet which was the first flower their spouse to be gave them/ a flower deeply associated with a lost loved one/ a herb with a certain meaning, such as rosemary and fidelity/loyalty and I read somewhere white lavender’s meaning is everlasting love. So for me there are the many depths of flowers which can enhance your day and just add that extra something.


What sets you apart from other florists? 

At Forage & Blossom you will receive a very personal service as I feel your flowers should reflect you for your special day. I will take the time to understand your vision and personality so it is fed through the scheme we create for you. I will be personally growing many of your flowers and creating something a bit different to the traditional style. I don’t really go by the rules and enjoy approaching each brief individually and with a sense of inspiration and adventure. If that sounds like the path for your wedding flowers please get in touch.

How can Brides Up North readers get in touch with you or see more examples of your work?

If you want to get in touch please contact me at or call me on 07495 160525. You can see and find out more at as well as on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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image by Paul Liddement Wedding Stories

Anything else we should know?

Workshops are on the horizon for Forage and Blossom.

I recently did a Flower Crown Workshop for a friend’s Hen Do which was great fun and we wore them all day and night as we partied out on the town. We all felt that everyone needed a flower crown in their life as they just make you feel better when you’re wearing one. So this and more to come – watch this space!

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beautiful blush. lusan mandongus for a wedding in cheshire – joanna & ryan

June 4th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (33)

I just love the setting of today’s real wedding, a gorgeous glass room at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens which boasts gorgeous views of the venue’s spectacular grounds.

Taking inspiration from Abbeywood, bride Joanna picked a pretty blush colour scheme and included lots of wild blooms in the wedding décor to help bring the outdoors, in.

And this is yet another wedding with an incredibly well dressed bridal party. Ryan and his fellow men look fabulous in their suits and kilts and we’re loving the bridesmaids’ specially designed pastel dresses. But without doubt it’s Joanna who steals the show in her gorgeous slim-line Lusan Mandongus gown and full-length veil.

With images by Jo Bradbury Photography.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (1)

joanna says: We got engaged in October 2013 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The holiday had been booked for ages. We always try to go away during the holidays as I’m a teacher and we both enjoy travelling. We chose the hotel together and discussed what we would do during our break. On our second day we hired bikes and cycled around the city visiting the sites. Just before we were about to go back to the hotel, Ryan decided that it would be a great idea to cycle through the park. We stopped outside the palace in the gardens where Ryan got down on one knee and proposed. After the proposal we enjoyed the rest of the holiday celebrating before returning home to share the good news with our family.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (3)

We set the date for 15th August 2014. We were very lucky to get this Friday in August as many weddings had been booked over a year in advance. I always knew I wanted a short engagement.  The thought of planning/talking about a wedding for two years was just not for me.

We got married at my church St Mary’s in Crewe and then celebrated the rest of the day at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens, Northwich. We knew from our first visit that Abbeywood was the venue for us. We have both worked in hotels when we were younger and didn’t want our wedding to feel like something on a conveyer belt which many hotels felt like to us. Abbeywood made us feel so special and nothing was too much trouble. It was beautiful, no fuss venue with lovely staff. The gardens were breath-taking and because the room was made entirely from glass, it felt like we were sitting outside in the gardens all day.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (4)

We didn’t really have a colour scheme, however the bridesmaid dresses, ties and the majority of the flowers were a subtle blush. Ryan was certain that he wanted a blue suit so we fitted the bridesmaid dresses around this and because the gardens were so bright and colourful we also chose colourful flowers as our centre pieces.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (9)

My dress was a Lusan Mandongus wedding dress. I chose this dress because it was simple and elegant but a little bit different. I loved the dress as soon as I put it on and even though I continued bridal shopping for many more weeks with my mum, I knew that I would not find anything that would suit me better. I was never a girl who had a vision for a dress so I tried on all shapes and styles but quickly came to realise that I wanted something lace and fitting. My shoes were from I Do Dresses in Crewe. They were the comfiest shoes and allowed me to keep dancing all night.

Ryan choose his suit from Platts Menswear and Formal Hire in Crewe. The staff were so knowledgeable and extremely helpful. The most important thing to Ryan was a suit that fitted him really well and that it was a bit different. The suit that he chose was a gorgeous French blue and tails because he knew that no other guests would wear a tails suit to the wedding. My Dad then chose a blue kilt and matched this with a French blue jacket. The suits that the groomsmen wore fitted all the men perfectly and they looked extremely smart all day. Ryan thinks that this suit was the nicest attire he has ever dressed in.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (17)

The bridesmaids’ dresses were designed and made by Mariee bridal shop in Nantwich. The shop specialises in bespoke bridal wear. After months of searching for bridesmaids dresses that complemented my dress and the groomsmen’s suits we decided to visit Kate at Mariee. I showed her a picture of my dress and the French blue suits that we had chosen and right anyway she picked the perfect colour of fabric (blush) and drew the most beautiful bridesmaid dress that myself, my mum and both of my sisters loved instantly. My sisters then asked Kate to add buttons down the back and a lace belt that matched the lace from my dress. The dresses were perfect and looked great on the day.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (14)

We hired our wedding transport from Horgans. The driver arrived in the morning and took myself and my dad to the church and then myself and Ryan to the venue after the mass. It was a nice time after the mass for me and Ryan to catch up and have a glass of champagne together before the reception.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (28)

Our photographer on the day was Jo Bradbury. She was the perfect choice for us because I knew that I needed someone that was going to fit around our day and not take over by making us spend hours having photographs taken. Jo was great, I barely knew she was there and the photographs are all stunning. She managed to capture so much of the day and stayed well until the evening getting some really fun shots of enjoying themselves on the dance floor.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (35)

My flowers were provided by local florist Julia Wynn. I told her about Abbeywood being a natural garden and that I wanted my flowers to reflect that. She came with lots of ideas and knew exactly what I wanted. She put together a very natural bouquet for myself and my bridesmaid that included a thistle because we are Scottish. Julia also sourced flower boxes and trees for the centre pieces for the tables.

Because I’m a teacher my invitations were designed by the children at my school. The head teacher at my school launched a competition to design the best invitation for my wedding. I had hundreds of entries all of them were great in their own way. We eventually chose one winner for the invitation but all the other pictures were way too cute not to use. I went to Delmar printers in Nantwich who kindly made the invitation and then scanned the other hundreds of pictures and shrunk them small enough to fit onto name cards. Every guest had their own personalised name cards with a picture designed by one of the children from my school. Each table number was written on a small blackboard with a top tip for marriage written by the children in my class. They were all really funny like: let your wife go shopping, don’t flip out if she spends £200; Buy waffles from Asda; make each other smile every day; and let your husband play on the iPad all day. They gave the guests lots to laugh at and talk about when they got to their table.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (43)

We only gave favours to the ladies at our wedding. Each was given a china tea cup and saucer.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (47)

My friend made our wedding cake. We spent an evening together searching the internet for ideas and she made one that was a mixture of a few ideas. The cake was perfect and all my guests kept telling me how delicious it was too. It had three tiers, blush flowers and lace icing.

The food at Abbeywood was delicious and many of our guests throughout the evening said it was the best wedding food they had ever had. We chose fishcakes for starters, chicken for main and chocolate brownie for dessert.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (39)

We knew that we wanted a band for our wedding because a band gets everyone up and dancing like nothing else. The band we chose was The Jim Jams. We had booked them before for a birthday party so we knew they were professional and really know how to show everyone a good time. They had everyone up dancing from start to end!

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (45)

Other suppliers we would recommend include Hair by Amanda Hendrie. Amanda specialises in wedding hair and put my hair up for my wedding. I had trials previous to the day so we both knew exactly what I wanted. She took into consideration the style of my dress and how I usually wore my hair so that I still looked like myself on my wedding day, which was really important to me. I also had a veil to consider for the day and a hair slide for the evening. My hair stayed up and perfect all day.

We also can’t speak highly enough about a company called Shoot it Yourself – this was the best wedding money that we spent. The cameras were dropped off at our house the day before. Ryan took one camera with the boys and I kept one camera with the girls. Our friends and family recorded parts of the morning, the wedding mass and parts of the day. The next day Shoot it Yourself collected the cameras and put together three chapters of our day.  The ‘best bits’ was a selection of clips from throughout the day with our music choices. The best bits were also put on their website so that all our friends and family could watch too. The other two chapters were of the complete ceremony and the speeches. Since the wedding day we have watched it so many times and it brings back some great memories. We also got to see everything that goes on in the background that we would have never seen otherwise.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (59)

Ryan’s favourite part of the day was between main course and dessert, he looked up and as the sun was piercing into the glasshouse everyone was enjoying themselves and he knew the hard parts were over and the party was about to start. My favourite part of the day was during our first dance, I was so worried that we would be left on the dance floor for the entire song alone, but as soon as the band invited people to the dance floor all our guest flooded on, desperate to get the party started!

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (62)

For our honeymoon we went to Italy, visiting Venice, Lake Garda and Milan. It was a great honeymoon. We enjoyed Lake Garda the most as it gave us time to relax, we didn’t realise just how exhausting getting married would be. The rest during our honeymoon was very much needed.

My top tips to other Brides Up North would be – book a live band, book the week before you get married off work as there is so much to pick up and do and where possible go with local businesses.  The amount of times you need to go and see suit suppliers, bridesmaid dresses, printers etc. staying local where possible saves you so much time and you get a more personal service from a small local business. Finally you don’t need to spend money on things you don’t need, all people tend to remember is the food, the company and the music.

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