Hardwick Hall Grand Wedding Exhibition
Charlotte Balbier

more than a wedding photographer: chelsea shoesmith

February 1st, 2016 | Rachel Parry

Chelsea Shoesmith Photography (30)

This afternoon we’re delighted to introduce another of our very talented Brides Up North Sponsors, Chelsea Shoesmith Photography to the blog.

Keen to be more than just a wedding photographer to couples, Chelsea builds a friendship with her clients in order to learn more about their story, which enables her to portray their true emotions and personalities on the big day.

Looking through her work, it’s clear Chelsea has had plenty of practise of photographing brides and grooms, capturing the love, setting and details perfectly along the way (well, she did start snapping at the age of 17).

Better still, Chelsea is offering our readers a huge 10% discount (leaving you more cash to spend on the dress). Whoop! Just quote Brides Up North when booking. 

So let’s find out more about the lovely lady behind the lens.

Chelsea Shoesmith Photography (1)

How did you get into wedding photography?

chelsea says: I have always loved photography, I got my first DSLR camera when I was 17-years-old and shot my first wedding soon after that too. It was incredibly daunting but I learnt a lot and still do learn a lot at every wedding I shoot. A couple of years later I gained a National Diploma in photography, however the majority of learning has happened on the job. Seven years on and I still love learning and continuing to push my creative boundaries.

Why wedding photography specifically?

I enjoy the pressure of weddings. The excitement, the emotion – all of it! Everyone is at their best and it’s a truly magical occasion to witness up close. I love all things weddings!

What is your favourite thing about being a wedding photographer?

I have so many favourite things about being a wedding photographer, but if I was to pick my very favourite thing I’d have to say meeting my lovely clients and learning about their journey so I’m fully prepared to shoot their wedding.

Chelsea Shoesmith Photography (17)

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top of the world. a fabulous and fun wedding at Crook Hall and Gardens – florelena & alexander

December 17th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Fun Wedding at Crook Hall & Gardens (c) Darren Mack Photography (31)

Having tied the knot legally in a small ceremony in Germany back in 2011, today’s wedding couple decided to throw a big celebration nearer to home to mark their commitments to each other, surrounded by their nearest and dearest.

Taking four years to organise (huge kudos guys!), Florelena and Alexander finally manged to get all their family and friends from across the globe together in Durham for one heck of a wedding day (we particularly love the sound of ‘the crazy hour’!)

Laid back, personal and fun, it’s clear to see that the journey was worth it to all!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Darren Mack Photography.

A Fun Wedding at Crook Hall & Gardens (c) Darren Mack Photography (40)

florelena says: We got engaged in September 2010. I had been out and I got home quite late. When I entered the bedroom Alex was waiting for me and then I saw a Goofy doll – my favourite Disney character – and an open ring box between its legs. I looked at Alex and he asked: “will you marry me?” I felt so happy I just wanted to hug him forever!

We got married legally on the 11th January 2011 in Germany, where Alex’s family lives; we were there on holiday, we had the time and the papers, and we thought why not? We then decided that we’d celebrate our religious wedding in Durham in 2015. It took us four years to plan, because our family and friends are spread out all over the world. Thankfully we managed to bring everyone together and it was a total success. We loved it.

A Fun Wedding at Crook Hall & Gardens (c) Darren Mack Photography (85)

We got married at Crook Hall and Gardens, in Durham. We knew from the beginning we wanted a country-style wedding, so we wanted a natural setting, with lots of grass and flowers (fortunately we also had good weather on the day). This venue was incredible. It is a spectacular place and the staff is very professional. They did an incredible job!

Except for the country setting we did not have a special theme, all we wanted was for our guests, which came from many different countries and spoke a total of 11 different languages, to overcome their language barrier and to become familiar with one another. I think they all tried their best and the party was a total success!

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awesome wedding photography: darren mack

October 21st, 2015 | Julia Braime

Darren Mack Wedding Photography (54)

This morning on the wedding blog we are very happy to introduce the one and only Ed Sheeran. Oh, sorry, we mean darren mack!  Darren is the professional wedding photographer who always gets mistaken for the flame haired crooner, but we think he might be as good at wedding photography as Ed is at crooning.

Let’s meet the man behind the lens.

All images by Darren Mack.

Darren Mack Wedding Photography (23)

How did you get into wedding photography? 

I was first asked to shoot a friend’s wedding nearly 5 years ago and it was amazing! I fell in love with photographing people that day. I’d done a few years at college studying photography, but only shooting still subjects and landscapes was getting a bit boring.

Darren Mack Wedding Photography (22)

What is your favourite thing about being a wedding photographer? 

How awesome it is! I literally get to go to the happiest days of peoples’ lives, and be there while they party with their friends and family and basically have an amazing time. After that, I get to blow the couple’s minds with my awesome pictures of their special day. Whats not to love!?

Darren Mack Wedding Photography (25)

How do you get couples to relax on the day? 

I’m a super nice guy. I think all of my couples will vouch for me that they probably felt relaxed within the first few minutes of me being there. Usually we have met beforehand or Skyped, so we are practically already BFF’s. I’m not some unapproachable creep in the corner with a camera. I’m your best photographer bud, that’s there to capture you being amazing.

Darren Mack Wedding Photography (7)

Any advice to any brides who don’t like to have their picture taken? 

Nobody likes their picture being taken! I don’t like my picture being taken! I swear I make it so easy. I’ll have you getting all cosy with your loved one, playing daft games and just having a laugh rather being all posey and cheesy.

Darren Mack Wedding Photography (1)

What sort of makeup should a bride wear to look great in her pictures? 

Whatever she wants to! If she feels great, then she will look great.

Darren Mack Wedding Photography (19)

Any really memorable weddings that you have captured? 

This is gonna sound so corny, but I genuinely love every wedding I have photographed. They are all so amazing and wonderful, and yet so different! From tipis to manor houses, I LOVE them all!

Any funny stories to share?

I literally get called Ed Sheeran at every wedding I photograph. No joke. Sometimes I get serenaded. Its nice.

Darren Mack Wedding Photography (5)

What sets you apart from other wedding photographers? 

I bloody LOVE my job. I can’t speak for all other wedding photographers, but I genuinely have a passion for what I do. I think its amazing to be included in such wonderful days, so I put all of my effort into doing the best job.

Darren Mack Wedding Photography (4)

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

I’m going to be your best bud. I’m going to be approachable for all of your guests. I’ll get the pictures of you guys looking awesome, and I’ll get the shots of your guests having an amazing time and being natural. I’ll be there when you want me to arrive, and I’ll leave when you get sick of my face.

What is included in your “package”? 

All day coverage has no time limits!

500+ images on USB;

A private online gallery with password;

Some sexy prints from the day;

Full printing rights;

A slideshow of your pictures set to music; and

Travel through mainland U.K is included.

angrove, park, yorkshire, wedding, photographer, middlesbrough, north east

Can you do a discount for Brides Up North readers? 

Yes! Im offering an awesome deal for Brides Up North Readers, just get in touch and let me know you found me through the blog.

Darren Mack Wedding Photography (21)

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

Through my sexy website of course: www.DarrenMack.co.uk

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simply splendid. a bespoke gown for a country wedding at calke abbey – jane & lee

October 19th, 2015 | Julia Braime

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (69)

Today’s real wedding couple chose their venue because it provided something that little different – and looking at their images, we can see why it ticked boxes.

Rustic and minimalist, with a modern edge, the white wash brick structure with beautiful exposed beams, does a lot of the talking for itself. Its natural charm was further enhanced by Lee and Jane with the use of lots of twinkling fairy lights, which draped elegantly across the ceiling.

Opting to keep things simple, they then just added a few simple decorative touches here and there in white gypsophila and rustic bird cages to complete their dream setting. It certainly gets the thumbs up from us.

Images by James Tracey Photography.

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (8)

jane says: We got engaged on 3rd July in the New Forest at a beautiful hotel called The Pig. It a beautiful sunny evening and the night before my 40th birthday, needless to say lots of champagne was consumed!

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (12)

We set the date for Friday 19th June as we’d always wanted an early summer wedding. Dates at our chosen venue, The Ridings School at Calke Abbey, Derby, were quite limited so rather than change the timing of it, we opted for a Friday.

We chose The Ridings School as it was a little different from your run-of-the-mill wedding venue and was something that we could put our own stamp on.

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (19)

Overall we just wanted a relaxed wedding day with a country/rustic feel to it. We also wanted to involve as many friends as possible in the planning to make it more personal.

We decided to stick to a very simple colour scheme of green and white to complement the theme.

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (26)

I chose to have a fairly traditional dress, which was made Charlotte Thompson Bridal. I picked elements of different dresses which I loved and she made me a bespoke gown which I absolutely loved!

On the wedding day Claire Elizabeth did my makeup. She used an airbrush technique, which meant it stayed on all day. My hair was done brilliantly by a good friend of mine.

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (32)

Lee wore a suit from Ted Baker and the groomsmen’s suits were hired from Moss Bros. Our bridesmaids completed the wedding party in pretty dresses from Coast.

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (47)

James Tracey was our fabulous photographer. We already knew him through friends and so we had seen his excellent work.  We booked him early on to make sure he was available on our day.

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (49)

All the wedding flowers were sourced and arranged by my best friend and chief bridesmaid, Claudia. We had a mixture of simple gypsophila and green roses to fit the colour scheme.

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (53)

We loved the giant ‘love’ letters that we had seen about so decided to hire some for the wedding, which looked great in the photos. We also had lots of fairy lights and some decorative bits and pieces on the table.

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (58)

As favours we gave our guests personalised paper bags filled with heart-shaped sweets.

We had a beautiful wedding cake which was made by my mum and multi-talented friend, Claudia. Mum made the huge bottom tier and top tier, which were fruit cake, and Claudia made the middle tiers and iced it all. I loved it!

The rest of the food on the wedding day was taken care of by Black Peppermint and was absolutely delicious.

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (63)

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (68)

To provide the entertainment we hired The Serious Hat Band. I had heard them before when I went to a party on the Isle of Wight. They were brilliant and kept the dance floor full all night long.

We also made our own photo booth by hiring a large frame so guests could have their photos taking whilst posing in it using a Polaroid camera. They were then asked to stick a photo in our guest book to provide memories of the day.

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (74)

We would most definitely recommend our wedding venue to other couples. It’s a lot different to other venues and the staff there are brilliant. It has a great feel to it!

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (80)

Looking back we couldn’t pick a favourite part of the day as we loved all of it! We didn’t stop smiling!

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (85)

For our honeymoon we went to Sri Lanka and the Maldives and then stopped off at Dubai on the way home to see some friends. It was the perfect combination of destinations and we would recommend them to other couples in search of honeymoon ideas.

An Elegant Wedding at Calke Abbey (c) James Tracey Photography (98)

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to organise the big things early on and then you can really enjoy the run up to the wedding. Also, take some time out on the wedding day to spend with your new husband.

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pastels & peonies. mori Lee for an oh so pretty wedding at wynyard hall – caitlin & matthew

September 30th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Wynyard Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography (73)

We love pink, we adore peonies and we’ve always got room for cake – these are just a few reasons why we fell head over heels for this morning’s real wedding (as we’re sure you will too) when it landed in our inbox.

Bride Caitlin wanted an elegant shabby chic feel to her big day and so teamed cute homemade decorative items with her favourite pastel tones of lemon and dusky pink.

The result is just beautiful and it’s not just the setting that looks stunning, for the wedding party themselves are pushing the bar high in the style stakes. We love the maids’ girly full-length dresses, the guys’ smart suits and of course Caitlin’s gorgeous Mori Lee lace dress, complete with a pretty bespoke belt.

With images by the fabulous Helen Russell Photography.

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Wynyard Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography (1)

caitlin says: We got engaged at home, in our cosy little bungalow! Matthew decided to wine and dine me with a Chinese box from the supermarket (good job I love things like that!) and surrounded by candles he got down on one knee and popped the question! Matthew is not the type to make a scene in front of people in a posh restaurant, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

We set the date for Friday 10th July 2015. We were hoping it would be a perfect sunny day and luckily enough, it was!

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Wynyard Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography (5)

Wynyard Hall was our chosen venue. I just loved the stately home, picturesque feel it had. The terrace out of the back had amazing views of the lake and it just felt perfect. The first time I visited I was with my mam and she loved it just as much as I did (good job Matthew liked it too!)

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Wynyard Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography (4)

The theme I had in mind was a vintage, rustic, shabby chic theme. I love all things like this and we decided to make/source as many of the decorations we could ourselves. We recycled glass jars for months on end and decorated everyone differently! I made all of the save the dates, invitations, order of services and loved every minute! Not only did this keep costs down, but it also made things feel extra special.

Our colour scheme was pale lemon and dusty pink. I loved these pastel colours as I thought they were summery but classy!

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Wynyard Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography (7)

I was lucky enough to find my amazing Mori Lee dress in a lovely little family run boutique called Dobinsons of Darlington. It was a beautiful mermaid style with lace detail throughout. Initially the dress had straps and I thought it didn’t suit me, however with a few changes to make it a sweetheart neckline, it was perfect! A friend of mine made my wedding belt and I wore Kurt Geiger sandals to complete my look.

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Wynyard Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography (15)

Matthew wore a Paul Costello charcoal grey suit with faint checks from Slaters in Newcastle. He wanted a three piece suit with a waistcoat and wore a dusty pink tie, pocket watch and tan Ted Baker shoes!

All six of our bridesmaids wore gorgeous, floaty, one-shouldered, pale lemon dresses from Coast and the groomsmen wore charcoal suits, also from Slaters in Newcastle, with pale lemon ties and hessian flower shaped button holes.

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Wynyard Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography (21)

Helen Russell was our photographer. Helen was absolutely amazing, she was the best photographer we could have asked for and made everyone feel so comfortable on the day. We loved the natural photographs Helen takes and we would 100 per cent recommend her to anyone. We had our pre wedding shoot the month before which made us so relaxed and excited for the day and are over the moon with all of our photographs!

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Wynyard Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography (26)

When it came to the flowers, I carried dusty pink peonies with pale lemon roses and the bridesmaids and flower girl carried the same in smaller bouquets.

We wanted to keep with the peony theme in the décor and so used the same flowers in jugs placed on pieces of wood for the centrepieces along with rustic jars and candles. We also had single peonies and carnations in jars along the aisle and on the fireplaces at Wynyard. My family helped so much with sourcing the jars and centrepieces and made the day extra special.

For the reception we also hired chiavari chairs from The Finishing Touch Company, which made the rooms look perfect!

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Wynyard Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography (28)

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Wynyard Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography (69)

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Wynyard Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography (72)

As favours we gave small jam jars filled with pink alcohol for the adults and filled with sweeties for the children. Also a chocolate truffle heart for an extra treat!

Our guests were also treated to an amazing cake table, made by Bernadette from Dreamworld Cakes in Newcastle. Our wedding cake had four tiers, two being Belgian chocolate and the other two being white chocolate and raspberry, it was then decorated with rustic theme in mind with peonies and raffia. We also had Baileys chocolate and Victoria sponge mini cakes, lemon and passion fruit cupcakes, cake pops and strawberry and pistachio macaroons!

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Wynyard Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography (40)

For the entertainment we decided to hire wedding pianists, Daniel Ackerley and Martin Dack, who played throughout the ceremony and right through the wedding breakfast. We also had Paul Lytton who was a fantastic magician and The Ultimate Wedding DJ for the disco. As an extra special touch we also hired large ‘C & M’ letters from Coco Luminaire and a vintage photo booth from Snaparazzi.

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Wynyard Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography (42)

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Wynyard Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography (45)

I would recommend all of ours suppliers and also our venue to other couples. Our wedding coordinator Emily made the day go as smooth as possible and I felt confident everything would go to plan! Wynyard made our rooms look amazing and all the staff were friendly and helpful. We couldn’t have asked for a better venue!

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Wynyard Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography (43)

It’s difficult to pick a favourite part of the wedding as the whole day was amazing, but I think it would be walking in to the conservatory being announced as Mr & Mrs Summerbell ready to cut the cake and have our first dance!

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Wynyard Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography (77)

For our honeymoon we went to El Dorado Casitas Royale in Riveria Maya, Mexico! This place was heaven and we were so lucky so spend our honeymoon in such luxury! The restaurants were all a la carte and on the beach front, it was so relaxing and we would definitely revisit on our anniversary – one day! We are now expecting our first baby. After unexpectedly finding out on our honeymoon, we are so shocked but so excited and can’t wait for the future!

A Pretty Pastel Wedding at Wynyard Hall (c) Helen Russell Photography (78)

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be not to stress too much about all the tiny details leading up to the wedding, and for the groom I’d say try and help take some of this stress away from the bride! I was so worried about the room looking how I imagined however the staff at the venue were so good they made it look better than I ever could have. Brides and grooms should also try to take in as much of the day as possible as it goes so fast, enjoy every minute.

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the italian lakes. a colourful wedding in windermere – julia & alex

September 28th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Colourful Wedding in the North West (c) James Tracey Photography (37)

A little later than planned (we’ve been in recovery from another very busy weekend of wonderful wedding inspiration!), but worth waiting for, we bring you the super gorgeous wedding of Brides Up North reader Julia and her brand new husband Alex.  Inspired by the colours and tones of their one time Italian home, this beautiful, colourful wedding is an absolute feast for the senses.

Prepare for a Pinterest frenzy.

With beautiful images by Brides Up North Sponsor, James Tracey Photography.

A Colourful Wedding in the North West (c) James Tracey Photography (8)

julia says: We were living in Italy at the time we got engaged. Disguising a trip home as ‘lads university reunion’ Alex assembled the ‘Ring Squad’ – made up of his parents, brother and very lovely cousin to help choose a ring for me. The jewellers were Michael Levin of Nottingham who specialise in antique pieces, which I’d long before fallen for on a shopping trip to the city.

Living in Milan at the time, Alex had planned a trip down to Rome for my birthday – unbeknownst to me he was ducking into the toilet on the train trying to call my dad at every opportunity to ask him for permission to marry me! On our second night in Rome, Alex asked me to come out onto our balcony that was picked intentionally with its towering view of the Eternal City, as we were getting ready to go out. He got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife and pulled out the most beautifully sparkly ring I have ever seen. We both burst into tears. I said ‘yes’ of course and celebrated by heading out for a really romantic dinner. We were in such a bubble, it was incredible. We delayed telling our friends and family until the next day (we let our parents know), so that we could truly live in the moment that we’d created.

A Colourful Wedding in the North West (c) James Tracey Photography (6)

We knew we wanted to get married in the summer, and I was under strict instructions from Alex to avoid the football season due to our football mad families. We set our hearts on 6th June 2015 – which is actually D-Day! One week after the conclusion of the Premiership season!

We’ve had many romantic weeks and even a few New Year’s Eves in Windermere up in the Lake District over our 6 year relationship. It’s also somewhere we used to go as kids with our families before we met – weirdly enough! We both decided on the Lakes pretty early in the planning – we’re both from the North (me from Liverpool and Alex from Bradford) so we wanted somewhere meaningful but a middle ground. We saw a few venues in the area before we came across the Merewood Country House Hotel. It had the stunning views of Windermere we wanted, plus it was such a historic mansion (once the home of the Earl of Lonsdale) with beautiful interiors. Once we met Lorna (the fierce Scottish manager!) we knew it was meant to be. She went out of her way to make things happen for us and it was like coming home every time we came to visit the venue. Once we tasted the food that was it, we signed on the dotted line.

I am Catholic and it was really important to me to get married in a church. We tied the knot at Sacred Heart Catholic church in Coniston perched above the lake. It was a very Cumbrian looking slate church with gorgeous stained glass windows. Father Bob was really good at making the service enjoyable for people who weren’t religious; we had so many moving comments from guests about the ceremony and it was really inclusive.

A Colourful Wedding in the North West (c) James Tracey Photography (14)

Our wedding day was inspired by a weekend we had in Cinque Terre when we were still living in Italy. It was a year to the day until we got married and we walked between the stunning Italian towns on the coast. They’re five fishing towns in Liguria made up of warm copper colours, with yellow and pinks, with lots of luscious plants and the sea close by. It was a very romantic weekend and I was really inspired by the tones. My flowers by Jane Thompson at Flower Design, reflected these colours and included many Italian foliage. Our wines and some of the menu also had a subtle Italian theme. I even propped my mood board for Jane in the hallway of the Merewood on the day.

Our colour scheme was coral and greens – I wanted to remind us of the stunning Mediterranean colours and vibrancy of Cinque Terre – even though we were celebrating with guests in the English Lakes, it really worked with the beauty of another special place for Alex and I.

A Colourful Wedding in the North West (c) James Tracey Photography (16)

For my wedding gown, I knew I wanted something fitted, but elegant. I tried on a few ballgowns and they really didn’t suit my curvy figure, so I narrowed my search down to sweetheart neckline with a trumpet style fit and flare gown. I went to about 5 shops with my mum and bridesmaids and left empty handed, sadly. A few weeks later, on a whim my mum and I went to Society Brides  in Liverpool city centre and they had just received Sophia Tolli’s dreamy lace Brienne and they persuaded me to try it on. It was meant to be, it was the one for me.

My veil was a two-tiered veil from Richard Designs. I wanted the drama of a chapel length veil for our church wedding but also the blusher over my face, which I could flick back and wear all day. My headpiece was from Glitzy Secrets and the flowers worked really well with the lace of my dress. My shoes and earrings were from Jenny Packham at Debenhams. The shoes were so comfortable; I danced in them all night long.

My signature scent was the spicy and oriental Calincantus by the ancient apothecary Santa Maria Novella in Florence. I wear it on special occasions now, Alex loves it too. I also wore a vintage pearl bracelet from the gorgeous antique jewellers in Nottingham which is where all our rings are from.

A Colourful Wedding in the North West (c) James Tracey Photography (22)

Alex is into his style so he knew early on that he wanted a tailored three-piece suit in navy blue. I found Michelsberg Tailors in Leeds’ Victoria Arcade on a wedding blog, and the process began. He even had a shirt tailored with his initials ‘AB’ on the cuffs. Why should the brides have all the fun?!

I bought him some solid silver cufflinks in the shape of white roses (the symbol of Yorkshire for my Yorkshire groom) from an amazing lady on Etsy called Sarah-Jane Egan based in Caerphilly. He wore black Loake’s dress shoes and a pistachio green tie from Reiss.

A Colourful Wedding in the North West (c) James Tracey Photography (24)

My three bridesmaids wore coral convertible dresses which were actually from New Look. They all wore them differently to suit their figures and they were all floor length versions. I loved how they looked with their bouquets and they swished around the dance floor in them all night. Their shoes were strappy light gold sandals from Dune and I bought them rose gold tear-drop earrings to wear on the day.

The groomsmen wore navy blue two-piece suits from Charles Trywhitt in Leeds with silk green ties with leaves on them.

Our two flower girls – one was my niece, Catherine and the other was Alex’s cousin’s little girl, Sophie – wore pretty ivory dresses and shoes from John Lewis. I made their headbands with flowers from H&M and a very interesting few hours with a glue gun in my parents’ kitchen.

A Colourful Wedding in the North West (c) James Tracey Photography (29)

The day was wonderful because the start was so chilled. In the morning myself, my mum and my three bridesmaids donned our floral robes and sipped prosecco. Lorna set up a table in the bridal suite for me and the bridesmaids to have breakfast which was lovely. It was great to start the day so relaxed and looked after. We had so much fun with utterly adorable Katie Tweedale our hairdresser for the day, and the fabulous Bridget Foster on make-up who were loving our 1990s playlist and our Liverpudlian humour!

But our (joint!) real favourite part of the day was turning around to our guests in the church as we were about to walk down the aisle to see their faces when our brother in law Richard began to play us out to ‘Match of the Day’ on his piano! No one expected it and both families are huge football fans so we got a great reaction – even some high 5s as we made our way out of the church! That was such a proud and fun moment for both of us – we literally floated out of the church.

A Colourful Wedding in the North West (c) James Tracey Photography (36)

Our guests had come from far and wide – even as far as the USA and Italy so we wanted everyone to relax. We hired a Routemaster bus from Classic Buses to collect everyone at the Merewood and take the guests to and from the church. I sourced a vintage ticket clipper for my bus geek of an Uncle Brian who was able to clip pretend tickets for everyone getting on the bus with the help of his granddaughter. I’m not sure who enjoyed it more!

I travelled to the church with my parents and my 4-year-old niece in a 1937 Rolls Royce which was fabulous and owned by the lovely Tony Henderson at Lakeland Wedding Cars. I felt no nerves travelling to the church and the scenery was really gorgeous. Alex and I then travelled back in the car to the Merewood and sipped a few glasses of bubbles in the back. We got a lot of waves and cheers from the mountain climbers and walkers en route.

A Colourful Wedding in the North West (c) James Tracey Photography (45)

Our photographer was James Tracey. He’d shot a wedding of a friend a few years back in Manchester’s Victoria Baths and I loved his style. He captured all the emotions of a wedding day and we booked him very early on in the process. Our pre-shoot in April was really fun with James, even though it was blowing a gale in Manchester, he still made us laugh and we loved the photos. On our wedding day, James brought along the lovely Daniel Lloyd Photography who assisted on the day. The two of them were really good at getting in there and getting on with things and letting us get back to our guests. We really appreciated that. I’d recommend both of them, we love the vibrancy and realness of our photographs.

A Colourful Wedding in the North West (c) James Tracey Photography (67)

My flowers were my favourite things about the day (after marrying the love of my life, of course!) We chose Jane Thompson at Flower Design early on – she’s based in Blackpool and made time for us on our flying visits back from Italy. Jane totally got what we wanted from our wedding day. In our pre-meet a few weeks before the meeting she made prototypes of my bouquet and the table settings. It was a wrench to give my prototype bouquet back!

My bouquet included coral & bowl of cream peonies, viburnum opulus, fresh lily of the valley, apricot hyacinths, olive foliage, juliet & patience roses from David Austin, white hydrangeas, sperengerii, eucalyptus, umbrella fern, sweet peas and lovely fragrant rosemary. The peonies changed throughout the day and opened up, I really loved how they looked and the scent was to die for.

All the groomsmen’s’ boutonnieres were totally different. Alex commented that his white peony looked like a scoop of gelato (ice-cream)!

In the church we had posies to match the flowers in the bouquets, tied in little jars at the pew-ends. These were then transported to the Merewood and dotted around the reception.

The Merewood’s dining tables were decorated with the gorgeous crystal cake plinths topped with relaxed designs featuring a stunning combination of roses, peonies, hydrangeas, gloriosa rothschild and sweet peas and foliage with Italian Olive foliage, with real peaches and apricots scattered about. Jane used the same flowers on the top table in a range of different glass vases and vessels, they were so pretty in the afternoon sunlght. We chose low flower displays so our guests could enjoy the Lakeland countryside from the Merewood’s huge windows.

We took lots of our flowers to our minimoon hotel which was close by and scattered them around our suite. They lasted until the end of the minimoon!

A Colourful Wedding in the North West (c) James Tracey Photography (52)

We used the very patient Kerry from Project Pretty in Chester for our Save the Dates and invitations, the green backgrounds and coral flowers hinted at our colour scheme. Kerry also made the menus for each table which we stood up on old Prosecco corks we collected in Italy. Kerry was really easy to work with, even after our many amends on countless proofs!

I also designed the order of services for the church and my mum got these printed out in Liverpool. I collected family wedding photographs from both sets of parents of their own weddings and the weddings of their parents and they took pride of place in the hall way of the Merewood next to Alex’s Roman head which he has had since he was about 15! I also covered the J & A with special paper and glue to sit alongside these bits in the hallway of the Merewood to make it more personal.

A Colourful Wedding in the North West (c) James Tracey Photography (56)

The gold calligraphy table numbers were handmade in Texas by Tina at Better Off Wed. I loved how they looked against the flowers. We also hired gold Cheltenham chairs from Lancashire Event Hire, they tied in with the gold tones throughout the day.

I made the table plan from scratch and printed the table cards myself. I found the frame in a charity shop and painted it and bought the lace to string the tables onto it from a craft shop. The table plan sat on a really ornate gold easel from Megan at Typical Type. I loved how it turned out! We also hired a huge light up heart from Megan at Typical Type, this was really fun later on on the dancefloor and we got some great group shots after hours with it!

I also made the confetti out of coloured tissue paper and the confetti cones out of doilies which everyone used outside the church. We went bright on colour because you never know how the weather will be in the Lakes. I was really happy with the colours!

My bridesmaid Kate made the card sign which we hung on a vintage wicker picnic basket and bunting out of gorgeously pretty floral material, it looked so lovely on the day. I also bought tasseling for the sweet table and pom poms from Decopoms on Etsy which were dotted around the bar area.

A Colourful Wedding in the North West (c) James Tracey Photography (53)

Instead of favours we had a sweet table which my bridesmaid Claire organised the sweets for. She has a massive sweet tooth! We hired the jars and containers from local wedding stylist Amy Brunton at Sure to Surprise You and Amy styled the dresser with lace and pearls. I bought some peachy tasseling from Etsy to go along the sweet table.

Alex is a Yorkshire boy and one of our first dates was in Betty’s York on August 1st 2009. We decided early on that the cake would be from Betty’s, choosing between them was the hard part. In the end we went for three-tiered cake with two layers of their famous fondant fancies and the top layer was iced Swiss Sacher chocolate and apricot cake. It came with the most stunning solid silver cake stand and knife which were nearly 100 years old.

Lorna saved us two cakes and we ate these the next day in our suite with some champagne at the Gilpin and wallowed in the love.

A Colourful Wedding in the North West (c) James Tracey Photography (55)

We chose The Twentysomethings after researching and finding them online. They’re a covers band with great vocals and a trumpeter and saxophonist so they played all sorts from Prince to Daft Punk and Shaka Khan. It was really easy to work with Daniel and the band to get the set list right. Everyone danced all night, it was wonderful to see everyone letting their hair down and partying with us.

Music played a big part in our day. We had a close family friend, Richard, who is a super talented pianist play the music in the church. I entered to a really special song for both of us, the Cinematic Orchestra’s ‘To Build A Home’, and we left the church on a high with ‘Match of the Day’. It was amazing to have him play for us during these special moments.

Our first dance was to Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Everywhere’ – they’re one of our favourite bands and we learned a fun 2 minute routine with Emma-Joy at All Steps who visited our house to teach us. Our guests loved it and it really set the tone for the night – the second song was ‘You Can Call Me Al’ for Alex! Everyone went crazy for that!

A Colourful Wedding in the North West (c) James Tracey Photography (61)

I would whole-heartedly recommend the Merewood, it’s intimate enough to feel like home but grand enough to really make the day special. Lorna and her team quite frankly know their weddings so if something really won’t work they’ll tell you and suggest an alternative. That’s really helpful during wedding planning. They looked after every single guest and worked so hard to make everything run smoothly. Planning a wedding from aboard can be tough, but Lorna and the team at the Merewood were great over email and kept us updated on things.

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A Colourful Wedding in the North West (c) James Tracey Photography (76)

A Colourful Wedding in the North West (c) James Tracey Photography (80)

We spent 3 romantic days at the Gilpin Lodge near Windermere in a garden suite with our private hot-tube, next to a very interested family of llamas. It was lovely to be surrounded by Jane’s flowers and to read our cards and open our gifts. We enjoyed lots of great food and some lovely spa treatments, as well as a cruise on Windermere.

Our proper honeymoon or maximoon is in October this year and we are going to India for three weeks. We’ll visit India’s spiritual centre in Rishikesh (the home of yoga), the have a few days in Delhi, then head to Agra and the Taj Mahal, then we’ll go on safari in Ranthambore and hopefully see some tigers, followed by a few nights in Jaipur (the Pink City) and Udaipur to the stunning lake. We both love India food and adventure.

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Make time for each other throughout the day were you take in everything that is going on around you. It goes in the blink of an eye, so it’s important to have a few parts of the day alone to appreciate what you have achieved and what it means now for both of you. The amazingness has just begun, really.

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