February 12th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
As a special treat for surviving the majority of Monday and to ease you happily into another (bloomin’ freezing) week, we have some beautiful wedding footage in store courtesy of our talented Sponsor Silver Sixpence Film & Photo.
The highly-skilled duo behind the business are husband and wife Penny and Ed, who left their successful careers in big screen feature films to play an intimate role in couples’ weddings by documenting their day through beautiful videography.
Keen to capture couples at their most natural and reflect the true emotions of the day, East-Yorkshire-based Penny and Ed capture their footage in a discreet manor and edit to produce gorgeous films that preserve precious memories in time.
We’ve invited them along to the blog today to tell us more about their fabulous work and the benefits of hiring a videographer – they’re also spilling the details of their latest venture – wedding photography – and offering you lucky readers a cheeky 15% discount too. Read on for all the details.
When did you first start filming weddings and how did you get into it?
penny says: We are a husband and wife team and we met when we were both working in feature films. We were both in high profile jobs; I was working for the director on the last three Harry Potter films and Ed was working on a film with Heath Ledger before moving onto various others, including Skyfall. Ed had been filming the occasional wedding film since he left university in 2003, and when we met we realised that we both shared a love for telling personal stories and so we created Silver Sixpence Films so we could do that together. We loved working on these projects so much that we decided to leave feature film and concentrate on what we love most.
How would you describe your style videography?
Because of our background we approach each wedding in the same way we did a feature film. We try and shoot everything cinematically and we spend a lot of time in the edit putting the story together so that it perfectly captures every couple’s day in a personal and unique way. Because a wedding day is an important day in people’s lives we like to work in an unobtrusive way so our aim is to put together a wonderful keepsake of the day without intruding on the celebration as it is taking place.
What is it that you love most about your job?
We love meeting couples and becoming involved in their day in such an intimate way. We talk to them before the wedding and spend most of the actual wedding day with them, but it is after everything has finished and we start to work on it that we spend a couple of weeks editing their film and really getting to know them. We often get very attached by the end of the project and feel very close to our brides and grooms. We really care about what they think about what we have produced, and we are always so excited when they love it.
In your opinion what are the most important things for a couple to consider when deciding which videographer to book for their wedding?
We would recommend that each bride and groom look at the films that each videographer puts together and try and work out what style of film that they like most. Most videographers will be happy to send a full-length example film to prospective clients so make sure you have done this, so you can get an idea of what the full finished product will be like. Some videographers are more hands on and posed than us, so they might ask you to stop as you are walking down the aisle, or they may constantly give you directions and interrupt your day. Some people might be reassured by that control, but we find it intrusive and so our approach is more relaxed. People often comment that they didn’t even know anyone was filming because of the way we work on the day, which has meant we have been able to film at even very small, intimate thirty-person weddings without intruding on the day.
Why would you encourage couples to have their wedding day filmed?
A wedding day is one of the most important days of your life and you will want to look back on it and everything that happened. Most people these days plan to get a photographer, and photography is a beautiful way to capture your day, but it will never be able to portray the same emotion as a wedding film. We have lost track of how many of our clients have told us they have been in floods of beautiful, happy tears when watching one of our films. On our wedding day we had a short film made and a year later sadly Ed’s nan had passed away. We are so grateful that we have that wonderful memory of her and of the day that we said, “I do.”
What is the feedback like from your couples?
People get very emotional watching our films and we often get thank you cards and presents detailing how perfectly we captured the day. People often comment, not only on how they didn’t realise the wedding was being videoed, but also on how wonderfully it has been captured. Our bride and grooms often tell us how they love seeing all the parts of the day that they missed because they were busy doing other things.
Do you have a favourite part of the wedding day to capture?
For us, our favourite moment changes each wedding. Every wedding is unique and with our discreet style we are constantly filming and looking for that perfect moment. On some days it is when the father-of-the-bride sees the bride for the first time on the day and breaks down in happy tears, on other days it’s the groom seeing the bride walking down the aisle whilst barely holding it together. Often, it’s the children, they do such wonderful, funny things. Wedding days are full of such powerful emotion and we love being a part of that.
What would you say to couples who feel nervous about being filmed?
Our job is to make our couples look amazing. If we capture something and they don’t look brilliant, then chances are it won’t be in the film. The great thing when working with us is you can relax knowing that we are some of the most highly trained people working in the industry and trust us to make you look fantastic. When we take couples out for their portraits together we treat it as a bit of time for them to spend with each other first, and a chance to capture some beautifully romantic shots second. We shoot from as far back as we can so that the bride and groom are free to talk and laugh without feeling self-conscious. If someone needs feedback we will give them simple suggestions to help them feel more comfortable. We are looking for relaxed, natural footage and before too long everyone tends to end up enjoying themselves. Couple’s often comment on how they loved going out with us because it was the only chance they got to spend some quality time together all day.
Other than videography, what are your other passions and what do you think you would be doing if you weren’t a videographer?
Ed is also a very good photographer and has won awards for his work. I love interior design and styling which is why I get so excited about the details on a wedding day. I could see myself being a florist, or an event planner.
December 31st, 2017 | Julia Braime
It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely. Usual service will recommence on Monday 8th January 2018 (we’re hoping we’ll be over the hangover by then, right?) but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from last 6 months.
Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your real wedding was one of our top picks.
This utterly divine real wedding takes place at one of our very favourite Northern venues, the stunning Lartington Hall. Bride and groom, Stephanie and Lee, equally fell for this utterly beautiful setting for their big day with wow-worthy interiors, gorgeous gardens and impressive entertaining spaces as standard.
Keen to complement rather than complicate, the couple decided to let the venue speak for itself and add simple décor using an elegant colour scheme of golds, creams and blush, with whimsical flowers and greenery to complete their classic vision.
Our heart is totally stolen by Stephanie’s pretty Pronovias gown, complete with cathedral-length veil and pointy Emmy shoes. Actual #stylinggoals!
stephanie says: We got engaged in New York on Christmas Eve 2015. I had no idea Lee was going to propose. We had always talked about getting married but always thought it would be in a few more years (even though we had already been together for eight years). We were just walking through Central Park on the morning of Christmas Eve and Lee asked me if I would like to marry him. There was no one else around and he had a little box hidden in his pocket with a note inside. He knows how particular I am so wanted to take me with him so we could choose a ring together. We then went to Tavern On The Green for lunch.
Our wedding date was May 13th 2017. At first, I was a bit dubious about choosing the 13th however we decided to ignore superstition and make 13 a lucky number for us. Plus, it meant all of our favourite suppliers were also available on that day as no one else wanted it!
We got married at Whitburn Parish Church and then went on to the beautiful Lartington Hall, Teesdale, for our reception.
From such a young age I always wanted to get married in my parish church so there was no doubt that the wedding ceremony was going to be there. As for the reception, we wanted a venue where none of our friends and family had been before. And me being me, wanted attention to detail and somewhere that had the wow factor.
We had heard of Lartington Hall but always thought it was a little bit too far (considering we were getting married in Whitburn) but after months of searching for the perfect place we decided to go and view it. We fell in love straight away!
We just wanted our wedding to be traditional, timeless and elegant and to reflect the beauty of Whitburn church and Lartington Hall. When choosing everything we pretty much did a full circle. We started off with very traditional ideas, moved to more rustic themes and then once the venue had been decided, we moved back to elegant and classic. I also wanted the flowers to be very whimsical and full of creams and greens.
For our stationery we chose Megan at Rosewood Co. We had seen Megan’s designs at a wedding fair so made an appointment so she could personalise something for us. Again, we went for very simple and elegant with a pearl ivory pocket fold wedding invitation tied with an ivory ribbon and name tag. The evening invitations had a hand drawn image of Lartington Hall on and the order of service had a hand drawn image of Whitburn Parish Church on. Our name place cards also had an image of Lartington Hall on and were finished with some dried flowers and ivory ribbon. Megan was extremely helpful and was in contact all of the time making sure it was exactly what we wanted. We again had some lovely comments from our guests about the stationery. It all turned out to be just what we wanted.
We went for very neutral colour scheme overall of golds, creams and blush. Again, we wanted the colours to be elegant and classic but also have a summery feel. I also thought about the colours that would suit my bridesmaids.
My wedding gown was a Pronovias design from Mia Sposa in Newcastle. Every time I looked at wedding dresses I searched ‘plain wedding dresses’ so knew I was going to go for something very simple and traditional. I also loved the Pronovias designs. My chosen dress was the first one I tried on. I did try a few other different styles on but knew that the first one was ‘the one’. I also feel that because it had a full skirt, it suited the grandeur of a church wedding.
With the dress being very simple, I decided to have a crystal and pearl vine hair piece in my hair and a single tier, chapel-length veil which was edged with lace, also from Mia Sposa.
I also wanted to treat myself to a special pair of shoes and knew that I always wanted pointy shoes rather than sandals or a peep toe. I saw a pair of Emmy shoes at a wedding fair and fell in love with them straight away.
For jewellery, I wore a pair of single pearl earrings that belonged to my nanna (something old) and a pearl bracelet to match.
It wasn’t too difficult for Lee to choose a suit either. He knew that he wanted to wear something a bit different as he ‘could wear a navy suit anytime,’ so he went for a tux. We hired his tux from Moss Bros. We also felt like this reflected the vintage/1920s feel of Lartington Hall. Many people said you don’t really wear tuxedos for church weddings but again we wanted to be a bit different so just went ahead with it. His shoes were from Kurt Geiger. The groomsmen wore the same as Lee.
The bridesmaid’s dresses were peach and were from Watters, which we bought from Laura Lea Boutique in Old Eldon Square, Newcastle. The girl there was so friendly and helpful and knew exactly what styles suited different body shapes.
The bridesmaids also wore matching heart shaped, crystal earrings and necklace from Swarovski – which we bought them as a gift.
Marie Scroggins at ND Makeup did our hair and makeup. Marie was so helpful and such a lovely girl to share the morning of the wedding with. I have known Marie a while and always knew I wanted her to do my wedding hair and makeup. She offered advice both at the trial and on the day but also listened to mine and the bridesmaid’s requests and ideas.
December 15th, 2017 | Julia Braime
We’re feeling all the emotions on the blog this morning as we catch up with our hugely talented Sponsor, RTP Wedding Films.
Husband and wife team, Roland and Lisa, who are based in the North West, compare the excitement of filming a wedding to Christmas Day – and its 100% clear from the work they produce that this is no exaggeration.
Mixing the love and romance with funny parts of the day, this talented duo create films that make you experience the tears and laughter of those who feature in the video – and they also make you want to join in party with their fabulous dancefloor footage.
See the results for yourselves in the videos below, but be prepared for a roller coaster of emotions – and a strong desire to hit the dancefloor if you have a Christmas do lined up for tonight…
When did you first start filming weddings and how did you get into it?
roland says: I was always one of those people in a group of friends who carried a camera (before mobile phones). In 2004 I was an usher for a friend and offered to put together a wedding video for them. After a premiere night at their house a few people asked if I’d do theirs and before I knew it I had spent thousands of pounds on equipment, countless hours in front of a screen and had landed a career doing something I loved!
How would you describe your style videography and how does it set you apart?
My style is definitely fun! Every wedding I film has plenty of laughs, whether it’s the groom fluffing his vows, the best man’s speech or competition for the bouquet throw. Comical moments are needed to lighten the film as there will also be tender, romantic moments, a good balance of these will ensure a great experience for the viewer.
What is it that you love most about your job?
Definitely filming on the day, meeting the excited brides and grooms – it’s almost like filming Christmas every weekend!
In your opinion what are the most important things for a couple to consider when deciding which videographer to book for their wedding?
Pick a style you like, watch a few of their films (including the feature length ones), don’t pick one videographer and ask them to create a film similar to someone else’s and make sure you are comfortable with the company you have chosen, then get to know them a little better. We usually meet up with couples prior to the wedding so they can get to know the guys who will help tell the story of their big day.
Why would you encourage couples to have their wedding day filmed?
The major parts to any wedding are the speeches and ceremony, if you are only having a photographer then you are losing 50% of the story. Audio is so important to a wedding, most of the entertainment at a wedding is music based so why not have this included!
What is the feedback like from your couples?
Usually it’s how helpful we have been, both on the day and the run up to it. We are quite lucky with the couples who have chosen us, they picked our style and have full confidence in what we will deliver to them. A typical response from our brides is how much they laughed and cried whilst watching the film, for the first and possibly tenth time that day!
Do you have a favourite part of the wedding day to capture?
If we can be honest, it’s the dancefloor, stripping away most of the equipment we have used during the day and getting in with the guests (who by this time are like friends) and just enjoying the big smiles whilst Uncle Bob is spinning his wife, or one of the ushers is attempting ‘the worm’.
What area do you cover?
Primarily the whole of the North West but we do venture further afield. We have just taken on a few destination weddings for 2018-19.
Do you work alone or as part of a team?
I work alongside my wife Lisa #teamturner
What can couples who book you expect?
An over excited videographer!
What is included in your videography package?
A typical package would contain a feature film edit and an online highlights clip to share with friends and family. We would also include the full ceremony, speeches as separate videos and more often than not, a bonus video with full first dance, outtakes, bloopers, extended scenes etc
How can readers get in touch with you/ see more examples of your work?
July 25th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
This afternoon on the blog we’re catching up with our hugely talented Sponsor Silver Sixpence Films, to remind our readers that a videographer is a supplier that should not be overlooked.
So many times we’ve experienced brides that we’ve featured on the blog saying that their only wedding regret is that they didn’t get the day filmed. We don’t want you to have the same regrets and so professional videographers Penny and Ed of Silver Sixpence Films, are taking over the blogging reins today to explain what’s in it for you, and why it’s such a huge passion of theirs.
Better still, Penny and Ed are running a Winter Promotion for any November to March weddings with discounts on all our packages. So if you like what you see (and trust us, you will!) just quote WINTERBUN when enquiring and they’ll give you full details!
Now on with the show, 3-2-1, action…
Can you give us a little background on Silver Sixpence Films?
penny says: We set up Silver Sixpence Films in 2013 when Ed and I decided to have a change of career following a long career working in the film industry in London. Ed was working as a visual effects editor and I as a director’s assistant. Between us we had racked up some pretty impressive film credits including three Harry Potter films, Skyfall, Casino Royal, Prince of Persia, Edge of Tomorrow – the list goes on!
Both Ed and I have always loved filming and producing our own projects and whenever possible Ed was making his own short films and had been regularly asked to film at weddings for friends and family, which he loved doing. We found that there was a lot of freedom and creativity in wedding videography, but most of all we loved the people, and telling their stories. After the birth of our daughter we realized that we enjoyed our time spent making wedding films and helping people capture their day more than we were enjoying our feature film work and so we set up Silver Sixpence Films. Amazingly we booked 15 weddings in our first year and it has just snowballed from there! At the time we were living in Kent and our daughter was 18 months so the move back to East Yorkshire (my home town) seemed risky and a big change, but we went for it and have never looked back.
Can you give us a brief overview of the services that you offer to wedding couples?
We pride ourselves in having our own unique style of filming and find that people book us because of this. We work really closely with our clients and are available to them as much as they like in the run up to the wedding. We have a number of packages available for all budgets, but will often create bespoke packages, as every wedding is different and we like to offer the opportunity to fit in with a client’s specific needs. It is important to us that we don’t interfere with the wedding day and so we try and be as unobtrusive as possible when filming. In fact, people often tell us that they didn’t realize anyone was making a video when they see our finished film.
What sets you apart from other videographers?
We offer a really personal service to our clients, (we don’t have a corporate bone in our bodies!) From start to finish everything is bespoke; from the filming packages we create, to the coffee chats and (often hilarious) Skype calls. Our packaging is beautifully handmade; lovingly hand stamped with hand written notes inside. We often become good friends with our clients and their families because we are available to them and will do anything to help them out and make sure, not just their wedding film, but their whole wedding runs smoothly and is a success. The majority of our business now comes through referrals from past clients, which we love. On top of that we bring with us a considerable amount of experience from feature films, enabling us to craft really cinematic films using tricks in the trade that we have learnt from real Hollywood legends. Working on high profile feature films with famous actors like (name drop alert!) Tom Cruise, Emma Watson and Daniel Craig, has given us very high standards, which means we work extra hard to produce a fantastic finished product.
October 5th, 2015 | Julia Braime
This afternoon I am proud to introduce one super talented couple (and the cutest newlyweds like, ever), Becki and James of 2 little ducksWedding Videography. They’re here to show off some of their short films, tell you why you should book a videographer for their big day (full disclosure: I didn’t think we needed a wedding video but now fully regret not having someone to capture our day on film), why it should be them and to offer Brides Up North readers a sneaky little discount while they’re at it!
Just quotes BridesUpNorth10 when you book to receive a 10% discount on all of their packages.
How did you get into wedding videography?
In 2006 James bought a HD video-camera in Japan to shoot a little ninja film and when he returned he used it to film his sister’s wedding. Many films done as favours followed with lots of comments about how good the films were. This new love affair with filming resulted in James returning to University to complete his degree in Media, Technology and Production. It was at this time that we met, sharing a passion for film and photography we soon became a strong team and I quickly became James’ camera assistant and booking agent! 2 Little Ducks Wedding Videography was the result.
Why should a couple have a wedding video?
Lots of reasons! Firstly, the day will go by so quickly, and you can’t possibly be everywhere at once. You are going to miss parts of your day unless a videographer is there to capture it. Secondly, a photographer will capture most of the sights but none of the sounds of your day. A wedding video allows you to replay your vows, the speeches, the cheers as you enter the room and the laughter of you, your friends and your family. Also a wedding video is a time capsule, you can pass it on to your children and grandchildren and show them all the family members who they sadly may not have been able to meet.
What is your favourite thing about being a wedding videographer?
Everyone is at their best on a wedding day. Everyone looks fabulous, has come together in a celebration of love, togetherness and hope for the future and this makes them happy smiley people (the food, drink and dancing helps with that too!). The best thing about being a wedding videographer is capturing the little moments which the bride and groom have missed and knowing that you will put that in the video and they will love it! It is a privilege to be part of the most special day of people’s lives.
How do you get couples to relax on the day?
Mostly that is about the preparation time beforehand, lots of people are nervous around cameras so meeting us beforehand reassures them that they are not going to have the camera up close in their face, that we are discreet and relaxed whilst being completely professional. They are relaxed about us on the day as they know that we will do a great job! In our experience though all the nerves come before the big day. Once the wedding day begins most couples just go with it and enjoy it, many couples tell us that they barely noticed us there as they are just concentrating on enjoying their day, guests, however, do have to be encouraged not to “duck” underneath the camera as this looks worse on film than if they just walked in front!
Any really memorable weddings that you have captured?
Last year we filmed a lovely couple Terry and Maureen, they had been together for over 30 years but had never got around to tying the knot, sadly Maureen had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and this was the impetus for them to finally have their special day. We were filming their first dance, Terry with his arms tight around Maureen and captured their eldest son, looking on and wiping a tear from his eye. Even thinking about it now makes me emotional. Our experience with Terry and Maureen has led us to our support of a fantastic charity “Gift of a Wedding” which asks for donations from wedding suppliers to ensure that other couples who don’t have long together are able to have a perfect day.
What sets you apart from other wedding videographers?
2 Little Ducks are about capturing your day not about getting you to perform, we have seen loads of wedding videos which we know as professionals must have taken ages to set up, cutting into the couple’s enjoyment of the day. We tell couples we will film whatever you want us to film but try and just relax and enjoy your day without feeling you have to create something “different”, in years to come this will look dated.
The other thing that sets us apart is we actually have video cameras! Many videographers actually use DSLR cameras with a record button, the quality is nowhere near the video cameras we have and reliability can often be an issue leading to important parts of your wedding being missed. We promise every couple a highlight reel of their day within 2-3 weeks whilst we continue to edit the full video. This gives you reassurance that we did capture your wedding and also allows you to replay the day for yourselves, your friends and family and for others who could not be there on the day.
We have an aerial camera which can capture footage from high in the air, this is great for outdoor weddings or those at stately homes / country houses where you want to capture full scale and grandeur of the location. We recently used this to film a firework display, the results are stunning, though we were a little scared that the camera be blown out of the sky!
What can a couple who book you expect on the day?
They can expect that we will be there early, ready to go, that we will be smart, professional and polite, we will work well with other suppliers and often meet or talk to for example the photographer beforehand to ensure a smooth running day. We will capture everything you want capturing but won’t get in your way.
Tell us about some your most recent collaborations and styled shoots with other industry professionals?
We recently collaborated with Minihaha Garande of Brachetto Weddings on a styled shoot in Skipton. This was our first experience of a styled shoot and it was great fun as well as an opportunity to meet some fabulous local wedding suppliers, Medici Macarons, Photography by Kathryn, Minnie Bee’s Floral Design and Cakes for Show. We have also just completed a promotional video for Peak Tipis who have a great team of people behind an amazing product. Those Tipi’s are huge, awe-inspiring and magical inside!
What projects do you have coming up ?
We have such exciting weddings booked for this season, I am looking forward to a Yurt wedding at Bolton Abbey, a Bollywood dancing vs Ceilidh dance off in North Yorkshire, a big band at Victoria Hall and lots of fun and garden games at Sutton Park. Everyone has such different and fun ideas for their wedding!
You are newly-weds yourselves – tell us about your own big day?
We got married in August last year at St Stephens Church in Skipton and had our reception at The Priests House in Barden Tower. We wanted our wedding to be intimate and only had 40 close friends and family members there with a few more on the evening, it was a very relaxed and fun day, I laughed so much my face hurt! We asked two friends of ours who are both trained camera operators to help in capturing the day though of course James could not stop himself setting up shots and doing some of the filming once we were at the reception. He edited a beautiful highlight reel for us which I can’t stop showing people!
What is included in your package?
We have three main “packages” though we are happy to work with couples to create something bespoke. Our Silver package is for couples who just want to have the ceremony capturing so we would cover the arrival of bride and groom, ceremony and register signing then leaving the ceremony, this package costs £400 and offers couples the opportunity to have a record of the day without breaking the bank! Our Gold package is priced at £600 and will cover everything from the silver package plus the arrival at reception (if in a different location) and the wedding breakfast, though not close ups of people eating! Also the speeches and the cutting of the cake. Some couples feel that they after this point they just want to let their hair down, get a few drinks and don’t necessarily want what happens afterwards recording on film so we can leave before it gets messy! Our Platinum package basically ensures that we are there all day and for as long you want us into the night. It will cover everything from the 2 previous packages but also the first dance evening reception and entertainment and we include bridal prep filming in this if the bride wants it. Our cameras are excellent at filming in low light and will easily be able to record at night including any evening entertainment such as fireworks.
All our packages include the 3 minute highlight film. There are also a range of extras such a photo slideshow on the DVD using photos supplied by the bride and groom or our screen-grabs from the day. We can make a very funky graphic novel using screenshots too, a funky alternative to your traditional framed wedding photo.
We are also happy to film proposals, engagement parties, hen and stag parties and a lovely idea we think is to record “secret” video messages from the bride to groom and vice versa that can be watched on the morning of the wedding as the couple get ready. James wrote me a lovely letter which I fortunately read before my makeup went on and it was so lovely just to hear from him at that point. We wished we had thought to do little films ourselves!
Can you do a discount for Brides Up North readers?
We are happy to offer Brides Up North readers a discount of 10% on all of our packages. Just quotes BridesUpNorth10 when you book!
How can Brides Up North get in touch with you/ see more examples of your work?
We have a fab website which James designed himself which has more info on including FAQ’s, examples of our work and a contact form, or you can email us at email@example.com, call on 07817 664605, tweet @2DucksWeddings or visit our Facebook page.
Anything else we should know?
We are a very friendly bunch and never put people under pressure to book. We are passionate believers that every couple should have their wedding filmed as we know so many people who have regretted not doing it but if you get in touch we are happy to just give you the information you ask for and leave it up to you!
June 8th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
When planning their wedding, today’s couple say they very much wanted the occasion to revolve around the most important things in their lives – family, friends and love.
Taking just one look at the images below, it’s clear to see that they achieved their aim perfectly, making the day both loving and personable.
We adore Emma’s classic Ian Stuart gown and her maids’ pretty sparkling dresses, all of which tie beautifully with the elegant décor and dreamy hotel setting.
Regardless of what the weather is doing outside today, this wonderful winter wedding is guaranteed to make you feel all warm inside.
emma says: Andy proposed to me at home. It was the 20th October 2012 and I was getting ready to go out on one of our ‘date nights’. As I walked into a candle-lit living room with champagne filled glasses out on the table, my heart started racing. Andy got down on knee and then went on to tell me why he wanted to marry me before popping the question. As you can imagine, I was a blubbering wreck by the end, and of course I blurted out ‘yes’!
We booked our wedding for Saturday 31st January as we both wanted a romantic winter wedding and we thought it was the perfect time of year to hold it. Funnily enough, it was only afterwards that we realised it was exactly four years to the day that we actually met. It was obviously fate and we were meant to book that date.
We held our wedding at the stunning Merewood Country House Hotel in the Lake District. We both love the lakes and have spent a lot of time there so it seemed only natural – being one of the most romantic places in England, we knew it was the place for us to get married. We chose the Merewood as we really wanted our family and friends to feel like they were coming to somewhere homely, rather than a hotel, which was helped with us having exclusivity of the venue. As soon as you walk in it has such a cosy and warm feel to it with the open fires greeting you in the reception. It’s grand but still intimate at the same time.
I asked my two best friends and my sister to be bridesmaids and my beautiful little niece and they were all just amazing. I also asked four of my closest friends to walk down the aisle in front of me as sadly my beloved Dad passed away from cancer in September 2012. It was lovely to have all my closest girlfriends there with me right before I walked down as they have all been a great support to me over the years and it was definitely the right choice as I felt secure in the fact that if I did have a wobble, they were there. Luckily I walked in and saw everyone’s beaming faces and then I caught my future husband’s eye and he just gave me a reassuring look that he wasn’t far away – I just took a deep breath and I couldn’t stop smiling as I walked towards him.
We didn’t have a theme as such, but there were parts of the day that hinted at our styles and influences. For example my late Granddad, my Dad’s father, was a film buff and the manager of a cinema when it was all on film. I just loved to watch all of the old movies with him so Andy and I did our wedding invites like an old Hollywood cinema ticket (which our guests tore off and then sent back as an rsvp).
There is something so romantic about a winter wedding, so for my colour scheme I wanted to keep it very simple, classic and beautiful with elegance to it. I just adore whites, creams, greys and soft colours together, and it was fabulous that all the bridal party coordinated their outfits around that palette too. I wanted it to look magical, with a touch of glamour and sparkle!
The dress I chose was an Ian Stuart couture gown from Ava Rose Hamilton in Silsden, Yorkshire. I knew I had found the one, as it not only exuded glamour with an edge to it, but it was also timeless and feminine. I found inspiration from Jackie Kennedy’s wedding dress that she wore when she married JFK in 1953. I just adored the neckline and I found something similar with my gown which gave it that Hollywood Glamour feel to it and I just fell in love instantly.
Andy wore a slim fit dark blue three-piece suit that he bought from Slaters in Leeds with a white shirt and a white tie and he also wore Kurt Geiger tanned brogues. He had tried on Paul Smith, Hugo Boss and viewed many other suits, but Slater’s had a huge variety and the fits were perfect – not to mention the price!
For my beautiful bridesmaids I chose dresses from a website called Virgos Lounge. I loved that they were a bit different and very glamorous and with it being winter the soft light grey and the iridescent leaf shaped embellishment on the dresses looked stunning.
The best man, usher and the father of the groom all wore suits also bought from Slaters in Leeds. We went for something slightly different from Andy’s suit, so we picked out a very similar one for the men but in a dark grey with light blue/grey spotted white ties, which really complemented all the girls’ dresses. The boys also all wore Kurt Geiger tanned brogues.
When it came to the wedding photos we sought advice from our wedding co-ordinator and chose a local award-winning photographer known very well by the venue. Steven Taylor was superb from our first meeting to the end of our wedding day. He listened to our thoughts and did the most amazing job on the day with his son Josh and after receiving the proofs back recently, we understand why they are award-winning – they captured the whole day perfectly. We also had Silver Sixpence Films to capture the day on video for us.
On the day I carried a beautiful, opulent massed posy bouquet of ivory roses, lisianthus and gypsophila bound with ivory satin ribbon. They were provided by Kevin from Brackens of Bowness.
With us deciding on a romantic ivory and cream wedding, we opted to have tall vases for the reception centrepieces, filled with acorns with tall willow branches and hanging glass tea-light holders. On the other tables we had round shallow glass bowls filled with acorns and twisted ivory willow with a cluster of candles in the centre. Down the staircase we had willow and foliage wound down the banister with fairy lights intertwined. Kevin from Brackens of Bowness again supplied these stunning arrangements. He was amazing and listened to everything that I wanted to achieve. With Kevin’s talent and creativity he helped make the venue look like the fairy-tale wedding I had always dreamed of.
We didn’t do favours at the wedding breakfast. Instead we had personalised chocolate bars created for our family and friends who were staying at the hotel and placed them in their rooms for their arrival.
We opted for a four-course wedding breakfast. It took us a little while to decide on the menu as all of the food is so delicious and it is also locally sourced. In the evening, we had mini fish and chips served in traditional newspaper cones. It was all absolutely delicious!
We both enjoy music, so it featured heavily throughout the day. The thinking was to have very much beautiful and relaxing music, building as the day went on so we had a string quartet to entertain people before and after the ceremony. Andy recorded a live DJ mix for the wedding breakfast containing music from our favourite films interlaced with famous quotes from cinema.
To get the evening started, Andy had also prepared some warm up before a fantastic rock band called Blue Star Tattoo from West Yorkshire performed on the night with classics by AC/DC, ZZ Top and The Who, through to more current hits by The Killers, Kings of Leon and Arctic Monkeys. We chose this band as a nod to my Dad Geoff (and Andy’s Dad John) who both love rock and roll.
In the library we displayed family photos of our nearest and dearest to give a homely feel and also in remembrance to special people who could not be there with us that weekend. With candles lit and love quotes added around the fireplaces, it added to the romantic and relaxing ambience of the venue.
We used Purple Swan for the hire of our chair covers, which were white with crystal vintage brooches on ivory lace sashes and bows. The company were fabulous and made everything so easy and stress free by dressing the room the night before and they were so professional. I bought the lanterns and candles from the shop The Range in Leeds to add a touch of romance down the aisle as well.
We would most definitely recommend our venue to others. Everything about it is fabulous, from the views to the food, and the first class service. The venue has so much character, it still has many of the original features, which include magnificent fireplaces and gorgeous stained glass windows. We felt at home as soon as we walked in. No matter how many times you visit, when it’s time to go home, you just don’t want to leave.
My favourite part of the day was sitting down to eat the amazing food at the wedding breakfast next to my new husband and looking around at all of our favourite people in the world, all sat together and there just for us was simply the best feeling in the whole world.
We are planning to go on honeymoon to Santorini this summer to catch some sun and some amazing scenery, and as Andy is obsessed with sunsets (apparently they have some of the best in the world), we couldn’t think of anywhere more romantic to go.
My top tip to other Brides Up North is to make sure you enjoy the lead up to your wedding day, enjoy being engaged. The day itself goes so fast, I know it sounds cliché but it does so take time out with your new groom/bride for a few moments during the day and evening as you are both in demand and so busy. It’s lovely to have a few moments now and again to both look around and think – ‘This is our wedding day, how amazing is this?’
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