Charlotte Balbier

soulmates. a laidback lake district wedding at the mortal man – louise & pete

May 30th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

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You’re in for a treat – today’s real wedding is a corker. Louise and Pete broke with convention by having a poignant humanist ceremony, giving them the opportunity to find traditions that made sense and meaning for them. So they wrote their own vows, made wishes for a happy future together and their rings were passed around and warmed in their family and friends’ hands.

Louise and Pete’s big day wasn’t actually big in numbers – nineteen guests, pub grub and then back to a cosy cottage for cake and cocktails – but the detailing is just perfect. Their customised denim jackets are fiercely cool and their record invites, inspired by their love of all things American country, blues and jazz, earn them muso points galore.

There’s something just a bit special about this one – in a world of Pinterest clones, these photographs feel honest and authentic. I mean, at the end of the night they donned Bride and Groom T-shirts, played beer pong and ate Tunnocks tea cakes. Zero contrivance, yet massive impact – we love it!

With photography by Weddings Vintage.

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louise says: We got engaged in October 2015 while doing a road trip in Southern USA taking in all our favourite music stops – Smoky Mountains, Dollywood, Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans. We were in the Tootsie’s World Famous Orchid Lounge in Nashville one night having a few beers and listening to live music when Pete popped the question.

Our wedding day was 17th March 2017 – St. Patrick’s Day (unintentionally!) We’d decided we wanted to turn our wedding into a bit of a getaway/trip for everyone and make it as relaxed as possible with the aim of generating plenty of memories. So we were trying to tie in finding a wedding venue with booking a cottage for us all to stay in and these dates seemed to work before everything got too pricey at Easter time!

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We chose to get married in the Lakes as Pete is from the South Lakes, Ulverston. It’s a beautiful part of the world we visit regularly from our home in Manchester.

We wanted a very informal ceremony and reception so decided to find a pub with a function room; we’d always really liked the idea of having some pub grub in a relaxed setting. When we came across The Mortal Man in Troutbeck, we instantly knew it was perfect. They have a garden room with fantastic views over a valley, rave reviews for their food plus lovely traditional touches such as log fires and their own homebrewed ciders. The Mortal Man were happy for us to have our ceremony in the garden room as well. We’d decided on a humanist wedding which can be made very personal and unique. The Mortal Man isn’t licensed for weddings so we’d already taken care of the legal part on the Monday before the wedding at Manchester Registry Office before we set off to our cottage – The Terrace in Windermere. It was such an amazing house for a party/gathering – really well equipped and the décor was amazing.

A Personal Wedding in the Lake District (c) Weddings Vintage (21)

Debra of Inspirational Ceremonies who conducted our humanist ceremony gave us lots of options and guidance on writing our vows and selecting readings. We really loved the idea of warming the rings, where during the start of the ceremony your rings are passed around the guests so they can place their hands over them and make good wishes for your marriage. As we only had 19 guests this worked really well – I’m sure it could take a long time if you had quite a lot more guests.

Although there was no strict theme, we were keen to incorporate our joint love of music throughout the wedding and tie in little hints relating to our American music road trip when we got engaged. Our playlists and the songs we started and ended the ceremony were all by musicians from the South of America covering Country, Soul, Blues and Jazz.

A Personal Wedding in the Lake District (c) Weddings Vintage (39)
We customised denim jackets with patches and pin badges, mostly relating to music and our American road trip and wore double denim on the Monday for our legal vows in Manchester. The jackets appeared again at the ceremony on the Friday where we wore them over our dress and suit to keep the rain off!

Our wedding invites also followed the American music theme. We went to Weddings Vintage with inspiration from Hatch Show Print, an old print house we visited in Nashville famous for its iconic printed gig posters. Hayley at Weddings Vintage translated our idea perfectly and the finished invite was a 7” inch vinyl cover, each with a record inside that Pete and I had picked up from a local charity shop. We liked the idea that our guests wouldn’t know what songs were on the records until they played them.

I suppose, more than anything, we tried to approach everything with a very DIY theme. We decorated the cottage ourselves with fairy lights and daffodils everywhere, and tried to add cheap and cheerful touches where we could. All cakes were made by friends, plus our friend and guest Lynn did my hair on the day.

We didn’t have a colour scheme – apart from the bouquet which tied in with buttonholes and the flowers on tables. These were dusky pink, lavender, white and natural greens.

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Time For Tea! Maggie Sottero For A Vintage Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Wedding In Harrogate – Gemma & Paddy

July 1st, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Why not start the week off as we mean to go on?  One gorgeous Real Wedding after another? Yes please!

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For this afternoon’s celebration we are staying in North Yorkshire, as we join Brides Up North reader Gemma and her new husband Paddy for a vintage Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.  Trust me, it’s pretty (and not a Cheshire Cat or Alice band in sight…)!

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Gemma says:  Paddy proposed to me in July 2010. It was the morning of York Races and we were getting ready at home. I was undecided about what jewellery to wear and Paddy said “Why don’t you look in the drawer, you might find something in there”. Confused I opened my dressing table drawer and found a ring box… inside was an engagement ring. The whole day was wonderful; we celebrated with friends and drank champagne at the races. At the end of the day we watched some of the X-Factor finalists perform on stage and the song I always remember playing was “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol. It later became our first dance song.

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We tied the knot on 4th June 2012. It was the bank holiday weekend of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, so we decided to take advantage of the extra day off. We enjoyed the weekend before the big day and spent the Sunday dressing the venue.

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We had our ceremony and drinks reception at The Sun Pavilion in Harrogate, followed by our wedding reception at The White Hart Hotel.

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I really wanted a venue which had beautiful gardens where we could have our wedding photos taken. We looked at several different venues but none of them seemed right. I came across The Sun Pavilion on the internet and it just looked stunning. It had an amazing stained glass roof and a terrace outside which overlooked the idyllic Valley Gardens. It was perfect and we were excited to book our wedding reception there.

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For our reception, we chose The White Hart Hotel which was only a few minutes walk from the Valley Gardens. The hotel décor fit perfectly with our theme as they had recently refurbished and so we didn’t really have to do too much with the decorations.

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Our colour scheme was ivory with highlights of pale pinks, wisteria and lavender.

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My hair was done by my hairdresser and friend Gemma Peers. She also did my mum’s, nan’s and sister’s hair.  I had a make up trial at Bobby Brown and did my own make up on the wedding day.

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I chose “Cleo” a Maggie Sottero dress from The Harrogate Wedding Lounge. Hayley and all the staff were fabulous and really helpful. The seamstress helped to customise my dress and make it unique to me, we re-positioned the corsages and added a sweetheart neckline. I loved it!

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My shoes were from Monsoon and as soon as I saw them I knew they were the ones. The pearl brooch on them was exactly the same as the hair comb I had bought from Etsy. It was fate.

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My necklace was another Etsy purchase and I loved the big statement rhinestone flowers.

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The bridesmaid dresses were Ronald Joyce, also from The Harrogate Wedding Lounge. I loved the wisteria colour as it was a gorgeous vintage colour.

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Paddy, our page boy and best men wore suits which were hired from Slaters in Leeds.

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The night before the wedding we all stayed at The White Hart Hotel. We didn’t have very far to travel to the ceremony venue, however we still wanted something to travel in style in.

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Paddy borrowed an Audi R8 from a friend for him and his best men to travel in. From my bedroom window I could hear the sound of the engine as they took a tour around Harrogate town centre.

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My wedding car was also borrowed from a friend. It was a beautiful MG Magnet and I loved it’s vintage look. I wanted a vintage car but something that was a bit different.

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We hired Sally from Priceless Weddings as our on the day coordinator. With us having two separate venues I wanted to have some continuity and ensure there was someone to keep the day flowing and be there to help guests. She also acted as toastmaster and was fantastic!

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All our wedding flowers were provided by a family friend and she did such a fantastic job. My bouquet had my favourite flowers in it – peonies, carnations, roses, anemones and lavender. It was finished off with some fabric from my dress.  The bridesmaids had rose wrist corsages.

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It was important for us to have children at our wedding as we wanted our son to be page boy. It was so lovely having our son there on such a big day, during the ceremony Jake stood with us holding our hands. When it came to the giving of rings, Jake took each ring and passed it to us, it was so sweet! He even sat with us whilst we signed the register…it was just perfect.

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We wanted our day to reflect us as a couple as much as possible.

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I studied fashion design at university so like to be creative and indulge in craft projects, so I knew we were going to make a lot of things ourselves for the wedding from designing our own wedding stationery, to doing our own centrepieces.

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We decided upon the theme "a vintage mad hatter’s tea party". I have a love for all things vintage and my husband has his own business supplying tea and coffee to trade. So it just seemed the perfect theme for us.

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Harriet from Weddings Vintage did a fabulous job with our wedding photos. Harriet had photographed a friends’ wedding and when I saw the photos I instantly knew I wanted her to photograph our day.

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I made all of our wedding stationery; save the dates, invitations, order the day, name tags… you name it. It was a labour of love, but I was really pleased with how it all turned out and it was unique to us.

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For our drinks reception we served pink fizz, and also had bottles of Fentimans with stripy paper straws and I made “drink me” tags which we hung around the bottle necks.

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We treated guests to ice-cream which was provided by Ripley’s who are based in The Valley Gardens.

We borrowed a vintage butcher’s bike and decorated it with bunting, and guests helped themselves to the ice-cream from the basket on the bike.

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We set up a table just for the kids at the wedding breakfast . Each received a goodie bag from us which had in it a disposable camera and an “I spy” list, a word search, colouring pencils and a handmade biscuit.  We also provided a hamper of vintage toys and games for the children to play with as the table centrepiece. 

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We spent weeks scouring charity shops and eBay for vintage pieces that fit perfectly with our theme. Each piece was lovingly chosen, and my nana and mum also gave me their tea sets to use which made it even more personal.

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Each table had a different centrepiece all designed to look like the mad hatter’s table. We had cake stands on stacked vintage books, vintage glass bottles and tea pots filled with flowers, tea cups and saucers stacked up with pearl strands cascading out, vintage keys and door knobs…

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Each guest had a pretty little vintage trio as their place setting. The name tags were vintage keys which we sprayed white and I made the name tags which were tied to the keys with ribbon. 

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Our wedding favours were tins of loose leaf tea, which were made for us by Jeeves and Jericho.  The tea blend was specially made just for us. 

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We found a violinist through the Leeds College of Music for our wedding ceremony. She played whilst guests were arriving, during our drinks reception and also played along with my entrance song which was “Turning Page” by Sleeping At Last.

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During the evening Paddy and one of his best men DJ’d. It was like the old days when they used to DJ together in clubs and bars and they had such a laugh doing it again. We also had a local band “The International Party Doctors” who were fantastic and really got the party going. They performed our first dance song for us, which they had to learn beforehand.

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My Dad also got up on stage and sang a song to me, which was a big surprise as my Dad is quite shy. It was very touching.

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We treated evening guests to cocktails and a sweetie buffet.

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We asked a friend who is a professional chef to make our wedding cake and then we decorated it ourselves.

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The big surprise for our guests was when we cut into the cake and it was rainbow coloured! I was really chuffed in the months following the wedding when it was announced the trend for wedding cakes in 2013 was rainbow cake!

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For our wedding breakfast, we served afternoon tea cake stands for dessert and had teapots filled with proper loose leaf tea.

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Since our wedding, I have started my own business hiring out all our vintage china and props.

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In the evening we provided our own photo booth for guests to enjoy! We collected our own props and our wedding photographer took the photos. It was definitely the best idea and everyone really got into the spirit.

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As I had done most of the wedding planning, Paddy had the task of booking the honeymoon. I did start to panic at one point as it was three  weeks until the wedding and still nothing was booked. I had my heart set on the Maldives or Bora Bora with a water villa, but Paddy had other ideas!

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A few days before the wedding he surprised me with tickets to Thailand. We spent a night in Bangkok at The Banyan Tree Hotel, before flying to the island of Koh Kood and the Soneva Kiri Resort. To get to the island we had to travel on a small plane and then get a speedboat. It was rainy season whilst we were there but we were actually really lucky and only had one day of rain. The honeymoon was better than I could have imagined and was the perfect way to round off the celebrations.

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My top tip for other Brides Up North is to try and be organised as much as possible so you can enjoy the last few days in the run up to the wedding.

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Congratulations Gemma & Paddy!

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Get in touch to see your own Real Wedding featured on Brides Up North – here’s how.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Weddings Vintage

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Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Bobby Dazzler: A Chic Manchester Real Wedding Inspired By The Music Of Bob Dylan – Faye & Mark

June 6th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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The Real Wedding gorgeous just keeps coming today.  I figured one chic celebration deserves another, so this afternoon we join Faye and Mark for their stunning Manchester city centre wedding with delectable detailing and melodic undertones running throughout.

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Sent to me by the couple and Hayley at Weddings Vintage, featuring some of my very favourite North West suppliers and with images by Sam Clayton Photography, this one is really rather lovely…

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Faye says:  Mark & I met in 1999 whilst working in a restaurant in Manchester called Simply Heathcotes. Our story is a lengthy one characterised by a couple of break ups, chance meetings at festivals and reunions initiated by my regular winning of competitions on our favourite radio station 6music! Manchester & music were always going to feature in our wedding day.

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Mark planned a very secret (and typically extravagant!) proposal which involved for unexpected days off work for me, a surprise trip to Rome and a Bob Dylan concert in November 2011. Mark proposed on the morning of the concert before a trip to the Vatican. It was a trip to remember and frankly, quite a lot to take in! Mark had commissioned a sapphire engagement ring from RA Designer Jewellery at Manchester Arts and Crafts Centre which was beautiful and a perfect fit.

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We got married on 27th December 2012. 

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I am very much a Manchester girl with Mark & I enjoying living in the City Centre since 2006. We were only ever going to have a Manchester City Centre Wedding!

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We chose to get married at St Ann’s Church. St Ann’s is a church we visit often and my mum & I have become particularly fond of it over the years. It was 300 years old in 2012 and for the occasion, it had some restorative building work. It has never looked so lovely.

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It offered the traditional service Mark was looking for with a City Centre location and a lovely Rector, Nigel Ashworth who made us feel very welcome and delivered a very personal address on the wedding day. You would never guess it was in Manchester from looking at the pictures. It looks distinctly Roman which was very apt!

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We held the reception at the Great John Street Hotel. Living in Manchester City Centre, and specifically Castlefield we have spent a lot of time there with friends and close family. We both knew that it was where we wanted to hold the reception straight away.

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We wanted an intimate, easy and laidback occasion and the Great John Street suited this perfectly whilst offering a “home from home” feel due to it being somewhere we had spent so much time at!

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It was really important for us to reflect our relationship in the day itself.

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The constant thread through our relationship over the last 14 years has been our love of music and specifically, Bob Dylan. Once we decided on that everything started to fall into place –we were able to use some of our most loved lyrics in the invitation and reflect some of our favourite songs & albums in the day.

Thankfully we found Hayley from Weddings Vintage who was able to bring it all to life! We loved working on this with her. She was absolutely brilliant and made everything so easy.

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We were also able to put our photographs from our pre-wedding shoot to good use to achieve what we have always wanted – our own albums!

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I wore a Cymbeline dress called Farandole which I bought from The Wedding Shop in Alderley Edge.

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I have to admit that I found dress shopping quite stressful. I was so relieved when I found a dress that I could actually see myself wearing and being comfortable in. It was really important for me to feel like myself and to look like me, albeit a more glamorous version!

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My headpiece was by Hermione Harbutt. I contacted her after seeing her work in a Bridal magazine. I absolutely loved it! It was perfect and suited my hairstyle really well.

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My shoes were Tilly by Rachel Simpson. They allowed me just enough of a heel to be the same height as Mark and were super comfy – both very important considerations!

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My mum Joyce & bridesmaid, Angela were both an amazing support to me. I will always treasure the memories of our “post dress shopping” coffees! Nobody tells you this but the time you get to spend with your loved ones in the build-up to your wedding really is special.

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One of my favourite pictures is of Angela and my mum laughing over dinner on the day. Angela has definitely become Daughter No.2 in the past year! The time together in the run up also brings with it lots of opportunities for tears; I think we must have got all the emotion out there early! We still congratulate each other on how we held it together on the morning of the wedding.

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We chose a True Bride bridesmaid dress from Blush Bridal in Whitehaven. Rachael & Susan were so helpful and they have a really beautiful shop. Angela looked amazing!

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Mark & his Best Man Alex chose suits by Kenneth Cole from House of Fraser with shirts by Duchamp and silk ties by Canali. They both looked really sharp and handsome.

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Sam Clayton was our photographer. We are so pleased with the pictures which capture the day perfectly. Sam immediately “got” us and she was lovely to work with. She made everyone at ease. She is so likeable and everyone warmed to her. Sam was introduced to us by the photographer we had originally booked but who had cancelled. It was fate and meant to be; Sam was brilliant!

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Manchester looks amazing in the photographs.

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This means so much as we have recently relocated to Cambridge – it’s lovely to look back on our home town looking so great. We can’t wait to put them up in our new house.

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We chose to travel in a Morris Minor called Daisy on the day. Mark’s first car was a Morris Minor and his dad has always owned classic cars. It was the natural choice!

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Geraldine and Ken from Regent Classics were a joy and pleasure to work with and Daisy was lovely. Mark & I loved our journey from church to Great John Street Hotel with Ken through the busy streets of Manchester!

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Mark & I met Pete Churchman when he was playing at a restaurant in the Northern Quarter in Manchester. We knew that his style would suit the day and Pete (with a little help from Mark!) did a great job of getting everyone on the dance floor later in the evening.

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Sian at The Flower Lounge in Didsbury did a fantastic job and was able to bring our (very vague!) ideas to life. We both wanted something informal and simple. Sian suggested anemones, gypsophila and ivory freesia and everything came together beautifully with some relaxed decoration at the hotel and simple candles at St Ann’s.

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There are so many favourite parts to the day… walking down the aisle hand in hand with my mum, seeing Mark for the first time, the lovely service, Nigel’s kind words and the boys’ speeches.

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I think I’ll always remember the moments Mark & I had together though; the chat over a whisky sour on the balcony, our carousel ride (great idea Sam!), the glass of fizz on the journey to the hotel. It was slowly dawning on us that we were married and we both felt very happy.

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After the wedding we returned to Rome for New Year’s Eve before going to the Maldives. It was an unreal holiday. Truly amazing!

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My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to relax and enjoy it!  Plan your day around you, your relationship and what means the most to both of you. You can’t go wrong.

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Congratulations Faye & Mark!

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Would you like to see your beautiful big day on these pages?  Here’s how

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Sam Clayton Photography

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