August 25th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
This afternoon we’re really excited to introduce another of our very talented Brides Up North Sponsors, Neil of Eternal Images Photography.
After showcasing his photography skills in a number of different areas, Neil decided to dedicate his time weddings and portrait photography, becoming hooked on telling couple’s individual wedding stories through his images.
As well as documenting the big day as it naturally evolves, Neil is also keen to snap some ‘wow’ bride and groom photographs that have contributed to his glowing reputation in the industry.
So let’s hand over to Neil to tell us more…
Tell us about your photography background?
neil says: I have experienced many genres within photography throughout the last ten years; wildlife, aircraft, commercial, weddings and portraits, and can honestly say I have welcomed the opportunities presented to me since choosing to set up Eternal Images Photography Ltd in October 2012, to dedicate my time to weddings and portraits.
I firmly believe in the professional standards because of this I am a member of the Professional Guild of photographers receiving several awards for my ‘high professional standard.’
In June 2015 Wedding Industry Experts awarded me the most popular new photographer for Sheffield and South Yorkshire, I also came third within the UK and third most popular new photographer worldwide.
More recently, Eternal Images was also 2015 finalist in the I Do Wedding Awards Yorkshire, and a 2014 Photography Finalist in the North of England Wedding Awards – both of these awards recognise outstanding customer service and professional standards within the wedding industry, as voted by my clients, it is such an amazing privilege to have received this recognition.
Why wedding photography specifically?
I have been privileged to be a part of many wonderful wedding stories, each one entirely unique. Weddings are incredible and deserve to be captured creatively providing a beautiful story that illustrates your most precious moments.
I am passionate about the fact that a wedding is not an isolated set of photographs. It’s a unique story of two people in love, shared with family and friends. A couple’s story will remain with them for the rest of their lives which is why I am committed to preserving those memories.
What is your favourite thing about being a wedding photographer?
Meeting amazing couples – each with an entirely unique wedding – this usually means you have to adapt to different situations extremely quickly. Weddings also allow me the opportunity to be creative with the bride and groom ‘wow’ images that I am recommended for.
How do you get couples to relax on the day?
Before their wedding day, I offer my time (no obligation) to closely consult and advise the couples who book so they are confident with the professional service I can provide. I also offer a pre wedding shoot to every client, this is a great get-to-know-each-other session, ensuring my assistant and I are no strangers to the couple on their wedding day. This also provides me with the means to recognise what each couple is comfortable with.
Any advice to any brides who don’t like to have their picture taken?
If the bride feels completely comfortable around the photographer she has booked then this will calm her nerves. Any bride that feels this way should always let her photographer know. I usually get to know this during a pre shoot, so I take a step back, use a zoom lens and let the couple interact without my close presence. I love capturing natural moments as they happen.
What sort of makeup should a bride wear to look great in her pictures?
Always use a professional makeup artist. The chosen style of bridal make up is a personal decision, but I have noticed natural and bohemian looks are currently very popular.
Anything to avoid which might look bad in the wedding pictures?
I always check the groom and groomsmen for mobile phones in suit pockets, and check they are wearing button holes before taking photos. Guests chewing gum and holding handbags during group shots! Also, I always avoid distracting backgrounds and placing a person in harsh sunlight as squinting is not a good look either.
Which celebrity wedding would you most like to photograph and why?
It would have to be Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Hunter’s private wedding Valentine’s Day on the Isle of White. They are such a distinctive celebrity couple, I imagine their ceremony to have been very intimate and personal and let’s not forget Sophie’s silver lace Valentino couture wedding dress.
Any really memorable weddings that you have captured?
Call me an old romantic, but I distinctly remember the first time I returned to mine and my wife’s chosen wedding venue to cover a client’s wedding. As the beautiful bride walked down the aisle to meet her husband-to-be, just for a split second I thought of my wife, it was an emotional moment.
Any funny stories to share?
Weddings are full of laughter but here are three of my favourite examples:
We arrived for bridal preparation at the couple’s home and the bride’s dad is outside taking a moment in the front garden as we walk down the path towards the house he says: “Now then lads, today’s not a good day to knock on this door trying to sell, haven’t you noticed there’s a wedding going on?”
After a first dance we were congratulating the bride and groom as we were leaving and the groom shook my hand and said “Thank you for coming!”
The best man who decided to mention every one of the groom’s previous girlfriends in his speech. I captured a lot of great reactions that day.
What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?
Choosing the right photographer is extremely important because so much of what you’re investing in is about image creativity, quality of service and suppliers and how important your photography is to you both also is a defining factor.
I am often asked how I would define my role and my reply would be that of a distinctive storyteller. My main purpose is to document events naturally, providing striking and emotive images that capture the essence and sentiment unique to every wedding. I will also work with the couple to integrate a selection of bride and groom ‘wow’ images too.
I limit the number weddings I cover in the year to ensure that every client receives the dedication required to capture your unique wedding day. This does mean dates book quickly so please do get in touch if you like my work and want to know more. Hopefully, your date is still available.
What can a couple who book you expect on the day?
During the big day my assistant and I work tirelessly capturing the wedding as it unfolds. We will have already discussed and taken direction from the bride and groom regarding the more formal and informal portraits that they may or may not require, and we will arrange to have some time alone with the couple for those intimate shots that celebrate them as husband and wife.
Afterwards, whilst the couple are on honeymoon I post produce each individual image that evokes its own memory in the story of the wedding day. These images are then uploaded to a client’s gallery for viewing – every image in their online wedding gallery is supplied to the couple on a heart shaped USB with a license to copyright for printing etc.
What is included in your ‘package’?
I provide my clients with one fully inclusive ‘digital only’ service for £1,000, there are no hidden charges to this service which includes:
– A professional consultation, an informal discussion no obligation.
– My full dedication and time, before, during and after your wedding day.
– A pre wedding shoot
– A framed signing board.
– A choice on when coverage starts.
– Coverage until 10pm with me and my assistant.
– All edited wedding and pre-shoot images, copyright free on a heart shaped USB.
– Post production.
– A personalised wedding blog and private viewing gallery.
I realise how couples choose to present their wedding images is a very personal decision which is why I offer wedding albums, bespoke frames and fine art prints as optional extras, available to order before or after the wedding day.
Personally and professionally I believe that a couple’s wedding memories deserve to be timelessly bound by an exceptional album craftsman. This is why I only offer award winning Folio and Queensbury albums, after all wedding images are a family treasure.
How can Brides Up North get in touch with you or see more examples of your work?
My wedding albums can be viewed at various wedding fairs throughout the season and during home consultations, which couples can contact me directly to arrange on 01709 554728 or 07944474092.
August 7th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
I realise we’re still in the middle of summer but I’m already super excited about Christmas! I love it all – the food, the drink, the presents and generally the fact that everyone is in such a good mood. I therefore easily understand why couples choose to tie the knot at this special time of year, giving their friends and family yet another reason to smile.
Getting the festivities underway nice and early (I’m all for extending that holiday feeling), today’s couple Karen and Mark, set the date of their Christmas themed wedding for late November, which allowed them time to fit in a honeymoon with their young daughter before Santa would come a calling.
Cue the fairy lights, Christmas trees and baubles!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor David Lawson Photography.
karen says: Mark and I got engaged when we were on holiday in Mexico. We had an amazing hotel with balcony and a hot tub overlooking the ocean. We’d got ready to go out for dinner and sat on the balcony with a drink to watch the sun set. He asked me to put on my favourite music then went into the suitcase and produced a large box. Even then I didn’t think it was a ring because the box was too big! However, it was and I said yes straight away. We celebrated with a lovely meal in one of the hotel’s restaurants and I couldn’t take my eyes of the ring! Everyone bought us drinks all night – it was amazing.
We decided to get married on 28th Nov 2014 as we wanted a Christmas wedding – we both love the festive season!
Our chosen location was the Lake District because we both love it there and spent many happy weekends walking and camping in the area and so thought it would be perfect to invite all our loved ones to our favourite place! We decided on Armathwaite Hall, Keswick, as the venue due to its beautiful setting and the mix of modern and traditional.
The colour theme was set around deep and bright red roses, in keeping with the Christmas theme.
I tried several styles of dress but kind of knew I wanted a fishtail type design. I worked hard to lose my baby fat after giving birth to our precious bundle Orla, just under 12 months before, so I could have this style of dress! Three sessions a week of ‘Fit to Push’ (a local mums’ fitness group) certainly helped! I bought my dress from Wedding Belles & Beaus in York. It was a lovely Sophia Tolli dress called Stephanie.
Mark wore a hired suit from a bridal rental shop in York and the groomsmen wore the same, but with a different coloured tie.
My bridesmaids wore a Dessy dress from New York bought in Stokesley. I decided on black dresses as I thought they were timeless and the girls could wear them again.
David Lawson was our photographer on the day and I would certainly recommend him to others! He looks the part made us and our guests feel very comfortable. He takes a pretty good photo too!
Our flowers were provided by Floral Boutique in Cockermouth. I carried a mix of red roses, spray roses, berries, foliage and cones, which created a Christmassy feel.
For our centrepieces, our best man Jo kindly made tree trunk bases which we then stood lanterns on and filled them with a covering of black sand with an ivory candle inside. Around the wooden top the florist laid a spray of flowers the same as mine – they looked fab!
As favours we gave Grasmere gingerbread. Our cake lovely cake was made by a friend of a friend.
We both love music and so decided to have a live band for the reception. We hired The Sonics, who were fantastic. We also wanted some entertainment when we were having our photos taken so we booked an acoustic singer to perform as guests were welcomed to the arrival drinks.
We would most definitely recommend our wedding venue to other brides and grooms. The setting is amazing and the staff are great, ensuring the day runs smoothly.
Looking back I find it difficult to pick just one favourite part of the day as several moments were particularly special. Mark sent me some beautiful jewellery on the morning of the wedding that I’d seen weeks before but didn’t realise he knew about it! The sunrise on the morning was beautiful – Mark went for a run and sent me a picture from the top of a mountain and told me he loved me! I felt it was just me and him when I got that. Seeing our beautiful daughter in her little ivory dress and shoes and another lovely moment and Mark’s speech was beautiful. I knew he was so nervous, as was my dad but I’ve never felt more proud of both of them. I’ve also never cried so much!
Following the wedding we went to Prague for a cosy festive week’s honeymoon with our daughter. We chilled out, went for lovely walks around the Christmas markets all wrapped up, drank Vin Chaud and ate lovely food. We stayed in a gorgeous hotel called The Mark. The staff were amazing and the finishing touches, just perfect!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to treasure every minute and try to have just ten minutes as a couple on the day away from everyone to savour the moment together.
August 6th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Though today’s couple remained in the north of the UK to tie the knot, they looked to the dreamy country of Italy to provide romantic influences to help set the scene for their big day.
A soft colour palette of pink and white reflected through Rachel’s choice of bridesmaid dresses and blooms created an elegant feel which was further enhanced with pretty lace additions in the bride’s dress, the stationery and décor.
When the big day came to an end, Rachel and Jonathan continued their love affair with Italy by jetting off to Venice on a five-day honeymoon. Oh, and the lucky little things have a second honeymoon to Mexico all lined up too. Jealous much?
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Stan Seaton Photography.
rachel says: We initially met very briefly at a bar in Darlington. Two weeks later we bumped into one another whilst out with friends in Yarm – the rest, as they say, is history! We had been together for five years when Jonathan proposed whilst we were on holiday on the island of Thassos in Greece, back in August 2013. He popped the question to me whilst we were sipping cocktails in a little bar overlooking the sea. I of course said ‘yes’ and we spent the rest of the evening drinking champagne and celebrating our news with the locals. I couldn’t have asked for a more stunning and amazing setting.
We got married on 4th May 2015. We both love every season for its uniqueness but chose May for our wedding month as we thought that the scenery at the chosen venue would be beautiful at that time of year. Unfortunately we didn’t realise that the 4th May is also known as ‘Star Wars Day’ to its fans. Luckily all guests dressed suitably and there was not a fancy dress costume in sight!
We got married at Eshott Hall in Northumberland. We found the venue from an article I was reading in a magazine. The article detailed how Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin had visited the hall for his brother’s wedding and had stayed in the Crow’s Nest, a luxury self-contained apartment. We were amazed by the pictures of Eshott. We both fell in love with the stain glass window and staircase in the main part of the hall. We arranged an appointment to visit straight away.
Our theme was Italian romance as we wanted the day to be very elegant. To complement the theme we had a blush pink and white colour scheme with touches of lace, which emphasised the soft romantic feel we were looking for.
I had a few ideas of the type of dress I wanted and visited a number of bridal boutiques before going back to one of the first dresses I tried on at Dobinsons of Darlington. The dress was very ‘me’. It was a lace design with a sweetheart neckline by Stella York. I always knew I wanted lace and something figure hugging due to my petite frame. I decided to add a unique feature to the dress to make it my own and so Dobinson’s stitched a diamante belt into the gown. This finished it off perfectly and when the long veil went on, I was totally in love!
On the wedding day I used Paul David Hairdressers in Darlington to style my hair, and Make-up by Jo to do the beauty side of things. My makeup stayed fresh all day, and Jo gave such a professional service.
Jonathan wore a three piece blue suit hired from Affleck and Moffat in Darlington.
The bridesmaids dresses were purchased from Poppy Bridal in Darlington. Again to add some uniqueness to the dresses we purchased embellishments for the dresses and Poppy’s added these for us. We all agreed they looked perfect.
Stan and Jane of Stan Seaton Photography took our wedding day photos. We knew from day one that they would be our perfect choice as they were the photographers at my sister’s wedding some nine years earlier. We both love Stan and Jane’s work and knew they would capture our very special moments. The experiences, from the pre wedding shoot, to the big day and then seeing our wedding pictures presented to us on a big screen, were all amazing. We felt that both Stan and Jane put in a lot of effort getting to know us. On the day they both made us feel at ease and felt like one of our friends. Having received our photos we would highly recommend Stan Seaton Photography. The photographs captured both myself and Jonathan’s personality and also special candid moments. We wanted the images to be elegant and romantic and we both feel that Stand and Jane instinctively understood this.
Due to our ceremony being held in the chapel, which was within the grounds of the venue, we did not have a need for transportation, however I was taken to the chapel in my father’s car which was beautifully decorated with wedding bows.
Our invitations were made by Polina Perri, who specialise in luxury/ vintage wedding invitations. They were beautifully presented and featured an antique brooch and lace.
Our flowers were provided by Eliza Bloom in Darlington. My bouquet was made up of pink and white roses. In the reading room/ chapel we had a tall candelabra with an arrangement on the register table and outside we had an arch decorated with flowers. In the wedding breakfast we had eight table candelabras with candles and flowers and an arrangement at the top table. The room looked so elegant and beautiful. When you see all the little touches coming together it really does take your breath away.
We gave our guests ‘his and hers’ favours in the form of alcohol miniatures; Baileys for the ladies and a selection for the men. For the children we had a chocolate pot from Hotel Chocolat.
Our cake was a work of art created by Burnett 4 Cakes and had a different flavour in each of the four tiers: chocolate orange, chocolate, lemon drizzle and sponge.
We choose the Chameleon Band to provide our entertainment. We researched a lot of bands but these came highly recommended and they were worth it, they even asked us for a list of ‘special songs’ for them to learn which they then played on the night. We also had a pianist playing at the reception, which was beautiful.
Following our wedding I would highly recommend Eshott Hall to other couples. It not only blew us away, but our guests can’t stop talking about it!
Our favourite part of the wedding had to be seeing each other for the first time on the day. We had spent so long preparing for our wedding day, that when the moment came and we finally saw each other we both got very emotional, as did the congregation.
When it came to the honeymoon we were spoilt and booked two! We went on a five night break to Venice, straight after the wedding. We loved it, we transferred to and from Venice in a private speedboat and stayed in an amazing hotel Carlton on the Grand. Our room there overlooked the Grand Canal – it was truly amazing, we felt like royalty. We had some fantastic experiences in a variety of excellent restaurants, a trip we will never forget!
We now look forward to heading to Mexico for two weeks, where our days will be filled lounging on the golden sands by the beautiful sea and then on an evening we will be spoilt with some amazing food in some fabulous restaurants sipping cocktails at the Excellence Riviera Hotel as husband and wife!
My top tip to other Brides Up North would simply be to savour every moment as the day goes by so quickly.
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August 4th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Leanne and Rob brought the outdoors in for their elegant, woodland wedding at the lovely Eaves Hall in Clitheroe. With sensational images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Fairclough Photography, this outdoorsy couple’s big day is naturally stunning. We love.
With images by Fairclough Photography.
leanne says: We got engaged in June 2014. We started dating in my first week at University (Rob is a year older) and seven years later got engaged! Rob had booked a private island called Tanera Mor in the Summer Islands off the coast of Scotland where we stayed in a lovely little cottage right on the beach. Four days into the holiday, we got in our sea kayak and started kayaking to another uninhabited island with a beautiful white sand beach for a picnic. We kayaked passed a colony of seals that played around the kayak for half an hour – it was amazing! Then, as we came ashore on the island, I started tucking into the sandwiches and turned around to see Rob down on one knee in the sand! It was a perfect day.
We were married on 9th May 2015 at Eaves Hall, near Clitheroe, Lancashire. The minute we saw Eaves Hall, we were blown away and knew we had to get married there. It’s such a spectacular building and beautifully decorated inside – intimate yet still quite grand. The snooker room and bowls lawn were a massive plus for Rob! Also, we really liked the idea of having our guests stay at the venue so that no-one had to go home early and we could all have breakfast together the next day.
We went for an elegant woodland theme. We had lots of silver birch wood, trailing ivy and gypsophila to decorate the venue. We had a cake topper specially made which was a doe and stag in silhouette, and our table plan was a birdcage draped in ivy. We both love nature and being outdoors so it seemed like a natural theme to pick! We also tried to make sure we picked eco-friendly suppliers where possible (even our invitations were printed on recycled elephant dung paper!)
To keep with the natural woodland theme, we kept the colours simple – ivory, forest green and bronze.
I chose the Parker dress by David Tutera (from Bethany Hannah Bridal Studio in Stockton Heath). It was the first dress I tried on and I fell in love with it instantly. Although I tried many on after that, none of them matched up as I had set my heart on that dress and I had to go back for it. It’s like a fairytale dress – quite traditional with intricate beading, romantic lace and a long train. I wore a plain cathedral length veil with it.
We hired Miss Jessica Makeup as our makeup artist for the bride and bridesmaids and we couldn’t recommend her highly enough! She made us all look beautiful and was a really calming influence during the hectic morning when we were all getting ready!
Rob wore his Munroe tartan kilt – it’s the family tartan and he’s had it since he was 18!
The groomsmen wore Blackwatch tartan – some had never worn kilts before but they all loved it! The pageboy wore a miniature version of the kilt!
The bridesmaids wore a full length, blush-coloured dress from ASOS, detailed with beading on the sleeves. One of my bridesmaids was pregnant so some clever alterations had to be done. The flower girl wore the Estella dress from Monsoon and a beautiful gypsophila flower coronet.
We hired the Faircloughs – a husband and wife team who were just perfect! Firstly, there are two of them, so we got pictures from every angle! But more than that, they were brilliant on the day and everything was really relaxed and natural (no standing around for ages trying to get group shots!) The pictures turned out beautifully – they captured the whole feel of the day so well. We’d highly recommend them.
The 9th May was the second anniversary of the death of my granddad. After the marriage ceremony, we all went outside and released some red balloons in his memory. It was really nice to have all the family together to remember him and include him in the day.
The flowers were provided by Passion Flower in Clitheroe. Debra was amazing at helping us narrow down our ideas and pick flowers that complimented our theme. We wanted lots of forest green leaves to surround ivory roses and ranunculus, as well as lots of gypsophila. The top table decorations included roses, church candles and trailing ivy.
Debra from Passion Flower lent us her huge collection of vintage glassware for the tables which we filled with gypsophila. It looked really romantic but not too formal. We also borrowed Eaves Hall’s gorgeous silver candelabras for the tables. Rob’s mum made place cards for everyone using small rounds of wood with the bark still on. It looked lovely.
We’re not fans of traditional, heavy fruit cake so we went for a really light, zingy lemon and lime sponge with lime cream in the middle and soft, buttercream icing on the outside. We got the cake from Mrs Spendlove’s Cakes in Bashall Barn and it was delicious.
We had a ceilidh using a local band (The Riot Band) and a fantastic caller (Sid Calderbank) to call out the dances. It was one of the highlights of the wedding. Everyone got up to dance, even if no-one knew the moves! After people had worn themselves out with the ceilidh, we had a DJ who played all our favourites songs.
Rob’s family are Scottish, whereas mine are English. Just before the ceilidh, Rob’s family presented me with my own Munroe tartan sash and broach to wear over my wedding dress – it was a really sweet and touching moment!
Eaves Hall is such a special place. The Hall and the gardens are breathtaking – it’s like stepping back in time. Everything is decorated impeccably and the Hall is really atmospheric. The food was wonderful and all our guests said that their accommodation was lovely. The bridal suite (with the whirlpool bath and huge balcony!) was especially stunning. The staff were so helpful and made everything really easy for us.
We can’t narrow it down to just one favourite part – we know it’s cheesy but there were so many little special moments. We wrote our own vows and saying those words to each other was really special. Walking down the aisle hand-in-hand after we’d said ‘I do’ with all our family and friends clapping and cheering was a euphoric moment! The speeches were amazing, the first dance (Cornerstone by The Arctic Monkeys), the ceilidh…everything!
For our honeymoon we went to the beautiful islands of Grenada and Carriacou in the Caribbean. We’re quite outdoorsy, so we spent most of our time in the sea, swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and dolphin watching.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to remember to enjoy every moment, especially on the day because it goes so fast, and not get caught up worrying about the little things that don’t really matter.
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July 9th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Rather than deciding on one set theme and colour palette, today’s real wedding couple put together a mishmash of colours, passions and likes to create a big day that was both stylish & personal.
We love the bright colours mixed in with glittery gold touches, including Mike and Sarah’s fabulous looking cake! We are also fans of Sarah’s idea to switch her bridesmaids’ bouquets for balloons in a nod to her and Mike’s favourite film Up, because you don’t always have to abide by the wedding ‘rules’.
All in all a fun and elegant big day, just as the bride and groom wanted!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Lee Brown Photography.
sarah says: Mike proposed while we were on holiday in Las Vegas in September 2013. He’d asked for my parents’ blessing before the trip. On the 12th September we drove out from Las Vegas to see the Hoover Dam and onto the Grand Canyon. We arrived at the south rim of the canyon and began to walk along the track. At sunset we sat down and took in the sight. Whilst sat Mike asked me if I was enjoying the trip, I said “yes it’s perfect”. To which he asked me if anything could make it more perfect and my response was “no”. I then turned round to see Mike sat with a small box with a love heart sweet ring saying ‘Marry Me’ written on it. My heart melted and I said yes! Mike let me choose my own engagement ring once we were home – he knows me so well!
We were married at Peak Edge Hotel near Chesterfield. The thing that clinched it with Peak Edge was that the venue had the rustic feel in part of the venue in the Red Lion bar and bistro (a former 17th century coaching inn) yet it also had a modern element as the hotel was built in 2011. It was just perfect and ticked all our boxes for us to have a civil service and for me to be able to get ready at the venue. Plus the ‘Perfection Package’ included so many elements we wouldn’t then need to arrange ourselves but it still gave us the chance to customise areas to our taste e.g. chair sashes, place cards, seating chart etc. The venue was spacious with our civil ceremony taking place in the Orangery with beautiful glass skylight and chandeliers. The orangery and adjoining Harewood suite were then transformed for wedding breakfast and we also had the Ashover suite for the disco in the evening. We also needed somewhere that could accommodate my bridal party of 17. Carly was our dedicated planner at the venue, and worked with us to ensure she shared our vision for the day and that every detail was perfect.
Our theme was understated rustic with modern pops of colour and fun! We didn’t want one colour to cover everything and it all to be very ‘matchy matchy’. Instead we created a classic elegant style using more neutral tones with bright elements and added a bit of bling with gold glitter. One of our favourite films is Up and so we knew we wanted to incorporate balloons into our day too. We both love the vintage rustic style weddings but felt that we wanted our own twist on this and so we incorporated rustic elements where we wanted but with bursts of bling and colour.
When it came to the dress I was pretty open to everything as I had no preconceived idea of what I thought it would look like, although I thought I didn’t want strapless nor satin. I went to several bridal shops and found I started to pick out the same designer – Mori Lee by Madelaine Gardner. I eventually bought my dress from Blushes Bridal on London Road in Sheffield. I tried on a Mori Lee dress I had tried on several months previously and I knew it had to be that one. It was just perfect – tulle skirt with subtle lace detail round the hem, a touch of sparkle on the waistband with a brooch detail and a fitted bodice top with delicate lace detail over laying and button up back with a long train.
Helen, Zoe and the rest of the staff at Blushes were just amazing – they managed to get my dress in slightly earlier so I could go and try it on a few times. Alterations weren’t a problem either as I was a perfect fit in my dress, it was as if it had been made for me. I borrowed a veil from my friend and finished my outfit with the most amazing pair of Louboutins which my husband bought me from Harrods.
Mike’s outfit was top to toe Hugo Boss. He went to the Hugo Boss store in Nottingham where assistant manager Lee Honey helped him pick and tailored his amazing three piece suit to him. The service in-store was sensational.
Lee of Lee Brown Photography was our photographer. Lee had done wedding photos for two of my work colleagues and I had met Lee at their weddings. I loved his style of natural photos and that it felt as if he very much blended into the day rather than having all posed photos. Michael also loved his work and his amazing all-inclusive package was the right deal for us. We had a wonderful pre-wedding shoot with Lee in the gardens at Chatsworth in January and these pictures were displayed at the wedding as a signing board and postcards. Lee arrived at the venue early in the morning to take some photos of us all getting ready and the boys arriving and stayed into late into the evening. The pictures really do show what an amazing day we had.
We also had our wedding filmed by Mike at Satin Pictures to give us lasting memories of the day. Mike often works with our photographer Lee and we loved his work. The video was a late addition to our wedding and we were very lucky to secure Mike. We have an amazing highlights film for our day which captured the fun and are excited to see our full video very soon!
Our flowers were provided by JJ’s Flowers in Chesterfield. Jess at JJ’s is an amazing florist! Flowers weren’t to be a main element of our day and I didn’t want us to spend a lot of our budget on them. I knew as soon as we met Jess I wanted her to do our flowers as she totally got where I was coming from and despite it being a relatively small order in comparison to other weddings she does, she was still very committed to getting it just right for me. I couldn’t have been happier with the results!
Liz at Mad Philomena provided our wedding invites and was amazing. When coming up with the design we met Liz at a pub one evening to discuss how she could help us create some invites that reflected us as a couple. We worked together on several iterations of the invite to make it perfect. From our meeting Liz wrote a beautiful piece in the centre of the invite about us as a couple; how we met, where the proposal happened and what we love about one another. We also hired some of Liz’s giant gold letters for display throughout the wedding day and a ribbon backdrop customised to our colours.
The balloons for bridesmaids and decorations came from Dottie & Love. I came across Jayne at Dottie & Love through a recommendation. Originally we were just having balloons for decoration in the Ashover suite for our evening reception and two of the large white balloons with ribbon tails for decoration and use in the photos. However I worked with Jayne and decided I also wanted the bridesmaids to have balloons rather than flowers to walk in with. This worked really well and looked beautiful on the photos, plus was a much more friendly choice to the budget. Jayne was fabulous and we would highly recommend her.
I made or bought the rest of the decorations including tissues for tears of love, joy, laughter and happily ever after, ring box and signs.
As favours we gave all our guests a wooden egg cup printed with our fingerprints from our ring fingers, our names plus and date of the wedding. There was a Cadburys Creme Egg in each one as it was Easter.
Our wedding cake was from Atherley’s Bakery in Farnsfield, Nottinghamshire. My friend and bridesmaid Jo runs this family business with her husband James and they make the most amazing cakes! We had a three tier cake with lemon, red velvet and chocolate sponges with a rustic buttercream coating and gold dusting detail. We then had vanilla sponge cupcakes for my ‘pimp your cupcake’ stand during the evening reception where guests could add their choice of icing and a variety of toppings to a cake.
James Clark provided the entertainment at our drinks reception. We had seen James play many times before as he regularly hosts an acoustic night at our friend’s pub in Mansfield. His laid back style and music options were perfect. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from our guests about James since.
Further entertainment was provided by a photo booth in the evening. When I met Kay who runs the Nottingham franchise for Photobooth.co.uk at a local wedding fayre, I knew we had to have it at our venue. The booth has the capability to take single photos or four onto one photo and the backgrounds can be changed. The booth also allowed guests to do some karaoke and merged the videos at the end of the day.
We would recommend our wedding venue to others without a shadow of a doubt. Nothing was too much trouble for the venue. The staff are so accommodating and cannot do enough to help. Several friends are now considering the venue for their weddings and we are attending a friend’s wedding at the same venue in August.
Looking back I would say the ceremony was my favourite part of the day. We had readings and an impromptu sing song. It was just perfect!
For our honeymoon we went to Australia for just over three weeks. We flew into Melbourne and spent five nights there fitting in lots of attractions before moving onto Ayres Rock where we watched the sunrise, completed the base walk all the way round Uluru, went to the ‘Sound of Silence’ dinner, and had a go at boomerang and spear throwing. Next we went to Cairns for a week where we snorkled at the Great Barrier Reef. We finished up in Sydney where we completed the Bridge Climb, visited Taronga Zoo, Manly and Bondi beaches, and had a tour of the opera house.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to shop around! I managed to save lots of money by not getting drawn into hiring or buying the first things I saw.
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