March 23rd, 2015 | Julia Braime
Having a good time was certainly high up on the priority list for today’s real wedding couple.
Sally and Simon planned their wedding date around securing the right entertainment for their big day in order to ensure the celebrations went with a bang.
Lots of singing, dancing, cocktails and a Jaeger train resulted in a fabulously fun wedding that went on into the small hours.
So it’s full steam ahead with today’s real wedding inspiration… cheers!
With images by Jonny Draper Photography.
sally says: We got engaged on July 18th 2014. Simon took me and our dog Oscar for a walk up Rivington Pike, it’s all uphill and I nearly gave up half way up but he made me carry on. I’m so glad I did as when we reached the top he got down on one knee! He had a mini bottle of champagne with glass and a can of Stella in his back pack to celebrate! He chose there as we often visit and you can see the church where his dad is buried so it made it that little bit more special!
We tied the knot on 7th February 2015, the date kind of picked us! We didn’t want a long engagement and always wanted a winter wedding so decided early 2015. The only thing that was a must was having Howard Wing as our entertainment, so it was a case of checking Howard’s diary along with the venues (and Bolton Wanderers fixtures!). I loved having the wedding so soon after the engagement, it meant I didn’t dwell on decisions and everyone’s excitement levels were high all the time!
We were married at Holy Trinity Church, Horwich as Simon’s dad is there. We then went on the have our reception at West Tower, Ormskirk. Years before I met Simon my sister was planning her wedding and was given the brochure by a friend, from that day I said it was where I wanted to get married. We thought it would be out of budget but we were allowed to tailor a package that suit our budget. Neither of us had ever been but we booked straight after our first visit!
I wanted the theme of the wedding to be very simple and classic. I always wanted an all-white wedding and added a touch of silver to add a little sparkle!
I wore an Ellis dress, style 11330 from Bridal Italia in Bolton, who were amazing! I always wanted lace strapless mermaid design and must have tried every lace strapless dress made! I wasn’t sure if I had made the right choice but I felt a million dollars on the day and wouldn’t change it! The in-house seamstress made so many changes to the dress to get it exactly as I wanted, covering the tulle neckline with matching lace and creating a deeper sweetheart. I always wanted a bolero to cover up at church so they made me a matching one from scratch. It was exactly what I had pictured in my mind! A few days before the wedding I decide to have a cathedral length veil which Bridal Italia altered to add extra lace down the edges – it gave the wow factor!
Simon wore a navy three-piece suit from Next, my dress had polka dots within the tulle so he wore a spotty pocket square and a silver tie to match the bridesmaids!
The groomsmen wore matching two-piece suits to Simon but had polka dot navy ties. I had seven bridesmaids who all have their own styles and I wanted them all to love their dress and feel comfortable. So, I decided to go for a multiway dress where each girl could choose a style that suited them. They also had an optional lace bandeau. I encouraged them all to be different with hair, makeup and accessories so they felt amazing and they all did! The dresses were from Coralie Beatrix who sells on Esty.
It took a team of people to get me and seven bridesmaids ready on the day! My hair was done by Paisley Gamble and make-up by Helen Cafferky, I cannot recommend both enough and will use them both again in the future.
We wanted to cut back on some expenses so decided my dad would drive me to church as he has a lovely car. I bought ribbons to put on and champagne for the journey to the venue. However! On the day just as I had put my dress on and was making my way downstairs my sister told me to look out the window, and there was a vintage silver car waiting! Her and my mum had surprised us, Simon didn’t know about it either until we left the church, he loved it!
Our photographer was Jonny Draper. He was recommended to us by Howard Wing and as soon as I saw his blog I knew I had to have him! I can’t recommend Jonny enough, he’s great fun and completely put us at ease, he understood exactly what I wanted and the pictures are fantastic!
My flowers were supplied by Sue Nunn, we were on the same page immediately! I carried a simple bouquet of white roses and I chose centrepieces in all white. She made the table arrangements propped on four test tube vases so views were not obstructed and we added lots of mini tea lights and vases all over the tables! To save a little I asked Sue to provide seven empty vases on the top table for my bridesmaid bouquets, they looked great and kept the flowers fresh to take home! I also hired petal table clothes and silver sequin runners from Gilded Linens for something a little different along with lace chair sashes from Princess4aday.
As favours we decided to make a charity donation to two charities close to our hearts in remembrance of loved ones we have lost. I bought charity pins for the guests to take away with them.
I called in quite a few favours for the wedding, the cake being one! I left the whole cake design to one of my bridesmaids, Michelle, who had a friend at work that made individually designed cupcakes and a cutting cake. I didn’t see them until the day and they were a lovely surprise!
One of our planning highlights was the food and wine tasting. We sampled several dishes and settled on butternut squash soup, chicken with a creamy leek and mushroom sauce (yum) and profiteroles. West Tower allowed us to tweak recipes to get exactly what we wanted. We were given so many wines to choose from and Brian spent a lot of time with us tailoring a drinks package to suit. We had several compliments on the red wine we chose! We chose two different beers for the reception drinks, Moretti and Budvar and a Kir Royale for the ladies. The only thing I can recommend for any brides getting married at West Tower is don’t drive to the tasting! I have never seen so much wine and so many cocktails!
We had Mike Smith Sax Player to provide entertainment for reception drinks, this was a surprise given to me on my hen party from the girls! Later we had Howard Wing. Since we saw Howard for the first time at a friend’s wedding I said I would never get married without him! We wanted a huge party to celebrate our wedding and that’s certainly what Howard delivers. There aren’t enough words to describe how good he is and how many amazing memories I have from the day. He gets everyone involved and in the party spirit. We also booked a DJ – Dave Jones – through Howard Wing, he was amazing, I didn’t leave the dance floor all night!
We wanted to add special touches to our day to ensure our guests had the best time! One extra was the Jaeger train; we had 100 Jaeger bombs set up and had a race against each other. Simon won however he did slip and fall knocking a few over the bar! Luckily it was all caught on camera and on the short video Howard Wing made on the day! Another little special touch was to have our ‘last kiss’ before our first kiss. We really wanted to make our mums feel special on the day, so as a surprise they were invited up during the ceremony to give us our last kiss as single people before our first. We chose our mothers as they had given us our first ever kiss at birth. We also had Candles 2 Cherish make us two candles in memory of lost ones which we lit during the ceremony and are a great keep sake.
We would definitely recommend West Tower to others. The venue and setting are stunning and the main reason we booked. Other than the fact the place is stunning, the food is incredible and the staff couldn’t do enough for us. Brian and Charlotte helped with all the planning and Lindsey made sure our day went without a hitch! Lindsey cares about every little detail which was great as I was very particular! After meeting Lindsey I had no worried about the day and felt completely relaxed to leave everything to her! The waiting staff and bar staff are also superb, extremely polite and accommodating, they even stayed up until we wanted to go to bed at 4.30am!
My favourite part of the day was standing in church next to Simon, all nerves disappeared and I couldn’t take the smile off my face! Closely followed by Howard Wing’s entertainment – epic!
We left a few days after the wedding for our honeymoon, we went to Jamaica and stayed at Secrets Wild Orchid. The hotel was amazing and it was great to just get away alone and really relax!
I would advise other Brides Up North not to cut corners on a photographer as after it’s all over you will want amazing memories to look back on! And…the little things really don’t matter!
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December 17th, 2014 | Julia Braime
It’s been a real treat to drop in an extra little feature every day at noon this week as we celebrate our readers’ real life love stories, courtesy of Brides Up North Sponsor, Silver Sixpence Films.
Popcorn at the ready, let’s hear from Gemma and Niall.
gemma says: Niall proposed in our living room between visiting my parents the weekend before Christmas and heading to Niall’s mum and dads for Christmas day. It was lovely that it was just the two of us at home.
I wore a Lusan Mandongus gown from Teokath Wimbledon: all the dresses I tried on were beautiful so it was a tough decision! In the end I went with a designer I felt fitted my body shape the best and the dress that I felt was the most flattering. I absolutely love, love, love my wedding dress and feel much more emotionally attached to it than I ever imagined I would.
With a marquee in Niall’s mums and dad’s garden we had a blank canvas. We were quite relaxed about style and theme (just going with stuff we liked) but ‘classic fresh marquee wedding’ probably sums it up quite well.
We both really enjoyed the ceremony and have memories of smiling and laughing a lot. It’s the first time we both saw each other on the day and so was amazing. It is quite a surreal experience and over very quickly, you forget there are 100 people there watching you. My cousin commented after the event that the ceremony was the most fun one he had ever been to!
Featured images are video stills.
December 9th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Tina & Andy’s big day is just sublime. From their chic styling, to their outdoor white wedding breakfast, personalised brew and simple yet special personal touches, this is a celebration that has real class.
And take a look at their randomly captured proposal video. It’s moments that this that make life amazing.
With images by Little Miss Boyco.
tina says: For our 10 year anniversary, we decided to have a big trip to celebrate – and what better way to do that than going to Vegas and Orlando! Little did I know, Andy was planning his own little surprise. In the months leading up to the holiday, Andy had spoken to my parents about his plans and had also found the perfect engagement ring, with the help of my little sister.
On the second last day of the holiday, we went to Universal Studios in Orlando for the “Cinematic Spectacular” – a light, laser, water and firework display in celebration of 100 years of Universal. At the end of the show, as we walked out with the crowds, we reminisced about our favourite parts of the holiday and how the show was the perfect way to round off the trip. As we chatted, Andy stopped and turned to me and said there was just one more thing that would make the holiday more perfect. And this is where he got down on one knee and proposed! Amongst the blur of tears and strangers clapping and cheering, I accepted!
In a crazy twist, the proposal was actually captured on video by one of the passers-by, which was posted on YouTube a couple of months later, and which Andy randomly stumbled across a few months after that!
If you would like to see the moment for yourself, take a look. It is so strange being able to watch it back but also awesome we have this memory to cherish forever!
We chose to get married at High House Farm in Northumberland as it had everything we were looking for in a venue – beautiful countryside surroundings, delicious locally sourced food, a cute little play area for the kids – and of course, the fact it’s a brewery just added to its charm (myself and Andy are both avid beer drinkers)!
We especially loved the outdoor barn and knew it would be the perfect place to have the ceremony, the wedding breakfast and the evening party. We also loved the fact there was no package to adhere to – we were allowed to choose our own food, drink, entertainment, and decorations.
The main thing we wanted was for our wedding to be as personal as possible – we wanted elements of “us” in as much as we could. It was really important that the wedding reflected us as a couple and not just a wedding package. We also wanted to keep it quite soft, rustic and romantic. In keeping with the venue, we decided to adopt a country theme – that is soft colours, floral prints, twine, and lots of candles and fairy lights.
We decided to have olive green as it is one of my favourite colours and we thought it would fit well with the country theme we wanted.
My dress was a Maggie Sottero from Wedding Essentials in Newcastle. I had an idea of the kind of dress I wanted – something soft, elegant and which was a bit different to the “typical” wedding dress. I spent several months dress-shopping and thought I had finally chosen the dress I wanted which ticked all the boxes however it cost a bit more than I had budgeted. As fate would have it, in the very last shop on my very last day of a “just-in-case-I-see-anything-else” shopping trip, I saw a replica of the dress I had my eye on – in the sale! I tried it on and knew it was the one – long, soft lace, with a low v-back with just a little touch of bling. Lucky for me as a few weeks later, the store closed down!
In keeping with the fact we wanted to have the wedding as relaxed and informal as we could, we decided not to hire or buy suits. Instead, Andy wore a suit he already had and loved – it was a navy three piece suit (jacket, waistcoat and trousers) from Burton and he teamed it with a white shirt from Next, a skinny tie in the same olive green as the bridesmaid dress and some brown brogues also from Burtons. As Andy is a big fan of comic books, he also wore Wolverine socks and handmade Wolverine cufflinks, a present I had bought him for his birthday earlier on in the year.
My little sister was the only bridesmaid – she wore a long chiffon, one-shouldered dress from Dessy in moss green form Wild Brides in Sunderland.
I saw an advert at work that a colleague made paper flowers and bouquets out of recycled materials – we thought this was really interesting and unique and so contacted her to see what she was able to do for our wedding. We found she could customise the flowers (using different materials, decorations etc) and it would also work out a lot cheaper than real flowers. Coupled with the fact me and Andy both suffer from hayfever and the flowers would be a lasting memory of the day, we jumped at the chance!
Joy from Martha Makes made us two bouquets and nine buttonholes from sheet music we had chosen ourselves. We bought cream paper from Paperchase, printed out one of our favourite songs (Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls) and had them made into flowers with pearls in the centre. We also wanted a leaf adding to the flowers to give it a bit more of a floral design – Joy had never done this before but she was happy to play around with the idea and in the end, she made them out of green gardening magazine pages – they looked amazing! Organic, personal and one of a kind!
Wiesia Bojko was our photographer for the day – we feel incredibly lucky we found her and that she was available! From our very first consultation, she came across as a very warm and friendly person – with a passion for her work and a portfolio to prove it. Our impression of her has not changed one bit even after the wedding. She was professional and friendly, and has a very natural way of capturing the special moments and little details. I would (and have!) recommended her to friends and family!
We had asked friends and family to save their glass bottles and jars for us since we got engaged, which we decorated with tea lights, twine and green and cream ribbon.
We decided to have real flowers dotted around the venue using the glass bottles and jars we had collected. I had seen online that it was possible to buy the flowers from a wholesaler and make up the displays yourself – and it would be considerably cheaper than ordering from a florist. As we wanted a soft, romantic, country theme, we decided to buy lots of baby’s breath, a few purple thistles and some light pink lilies to decorate the venue. We bought the flowers from a wholesaler in Gateshead (Premier Flowers) and me and my sisters put them into the bottles and jars the day before the wedding.
Me and Andy chose fabric for the bunting from Dainty Supplies in Washington and my sister (who is a dab hand with a sewing machine!) made them for us. We had three different types of bunting – one was made out of hessian which I painted white hearts onto using a stencil and fabric paint, one was hessian which I painted “Love Is Sweet” onto for the sweetie table, and the rest of the bunting was alternate triangles of olive green, floral and hessian. We also decorated the barn with fairy lights and lanterns from eBay.
We went through all of our photo albums and chose some of our favourite photos from our time together which we thought represented us a couple (e.g. festivals, beer and fancy dress!). We printed them off, trimmed them down to look like polaroids and wrote little captions beneath them – we pinned them onto a piece of twine with little wooden pegs and hung them from the walls.
We decided to give out beer bottles as favours as the venue was a working brewery and we knew a lot of our friends and family would love it! We went for a tasting session at the venue a few months prior and chose the beer we would use. Andy designed the label for the beer – calling it “Tandy’s Tipple” (a name our friends call us), and High House Farm printed the labels and stuck them on the bottle for us. We used the favours to double up as seating cards – I made little origami hearts using some paper I had bought in Paperchase and I learnt how to make them from a YouTube video and wrote our guests names on them and tied them to the bottles with twine.
We wanted to have cupcakes for the wedding as we felt they are more fun and informal. Andy’s sister and brother-in-law own their own restaurant and we enlisted the help of their dessert chef (Carley from Carley’s Cakes) to make us a selection of pastel-coloured cupcakes in various different flavours (e.g. cherry, chocolate, gingerbread). We also had little bride and groom cupcakes made – the bride had a veil on the top (a cutting from my very own dress!) and had iced flowers and the groom had a little top hat and a bow tie. We had bought little Mr and Mrs cake thrones for them to sit on as well!
As Andy is a DJ, we decided to choose all our own music from the ceremony to the meal to the evening. We chose a selection of songs we love, and thought were in keeping with each part of the day, and mixed them together and let them play either through speakers. We had everything from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Westlife, N-Trance to Manowar! In the evening, the best man’s father very kindly lent us his lighting and sound system so we were able to have a proper disco.
Me and my dad danced to The Carpenters “Yesterday Once More” – a song which means a lot to both of us.
Me and Andy’s first dance was to Biffy Clyro’s “Many of Horror” – which isn’t a typical first dance song but a song which we both love, invokes great memories, and which was a little more alternative.
We bought a cheap mirror from a high street store, and we wrote the seating plan for the wedding breakfast on it and displayed it during the day. On the night, we took out the mirror and used the frame as a photo prop.We had also made speech boards by ordering speech bubble shapes from eBay, and covering them with blackboard vinyl. We asked our guests to write a message on the board and pose with them in photographs.
I would recommend High House Farm to other couples who love the countryside, love good food, love good beer and the option to create the wedding they want!
It sounds cliché but I loved every single part of the day, from seeing all the guests during the ceremony, to walking up/down the aisle, to laughing/crying during the toasts, to dancing my shoes off on the night (literally – I swapped my cream lace heels for my lovely pink Converse trainers!)
If I had to choose one, I really loved seeing all our friends and family stood around us in a circle at the end of the night, singing Green Day’s “Time of Your Life”. It is a song we both love and to see the people we love singing it back to us was just amazing.
Two weeks after our wedding, we jetted off on a 4 week honeymoon around South East Asia. It was a trip we had both wanted to do all our lives. We spent 5 days in Tokyo, Japan – eating insane amounts of sushi and ramen and sightseeing, and then we went on a two week cruise which stopped at some incredible ports – we shopped in Osaka and Okinawa, we went to a hot springs resort in Taiwan, we ate fresh seafood and visited the Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam and we ate from a hawkers market and watched the skytrees in Singapore. We then spent a week in Hong Kong – visiting family and sightseeing. It was an incredible trip and something we would love to do again!
It sounds simple but our top tip for other Brides Up North would be to make YOUR wedding what YOU want it to be. We knew from the start we wanted a wedding that reflected us and our relationship – we are so glad we didn’t just choose a wedding package on offer.
Another top tip – spreadsheets! Make spreadsheets for everything! They keep you organised and save so much stress!
November 26th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Rena and Yianni’s big and beautiful white wedding celebration, filled with flowers and candles, oozes old Hollywood charm. Their unique and beautiful venue and white on white colour scheme sets the scene perfectly for a day of glamour and elegance (and energetic Greek dancing)…
Roll out the red carpet!
With images by Butterworth Photography.
rena says: We booked a long weekend away to Belgium and Bruges for my birthday and to enjoy the Christmas markets. I didn’t realise that Yianni was planning to propose while we were away. We went out for a romantic meal on the first night and I found it really odd that he wouldn’t give the waiter his coat and thought it was because he didn’t trust them so I did the same thing! I didn’t realise it’s because he had the ring with him. He then asked me to go for a romantic walk around the palace gardens but I opted for chocolate waffles instead and put his plans for a proposal on the first night to an end!
On the second day we took a day trip to Bruges. Yianni asked me to go for a romantic horse and carriage ride but I again opted for waffles instead and ruined his Plan B. We then climbed 400 steps to the top of the Bell tower and Yianni asked me to pose for a photo with him. I didn’t realise he’d set the camera to video mode and before you know it he was down on one knee and had manage to catch the proposal on camera.
We were married on 27 April 2014. Exactly two years from the date we first met.
We wanted to get married in a venue that was unforgettable. The Devonshire Dome reminded us of a piazza and we knew it was the perfect choice for our wedding.
It’s a gorgeous drive up through Derbyshire to Buxton which is such a picturesque place. I knew I wanted an iconic and memorable building for our special day and was keen to avoid using a hotel. There aren’t many places that fit 450 guests for a sit down meal and we were so lucky to find the Dome!
I really wanted a garden wedding full of blossom which is why we picked the Spring date. I also wanted a twist of both Hollywood and Grecian glamour. Not an obvious combination, but it all seemed to come together on the day.
I wanted a classic princess style dress and loved the pearl and diamante detail around the waist and the sweetheart neckline.
Yianni wore a black tuxedo which we bought while shopping in the USA.
My bridesmaids wore nude blush maxi dresses from Lipsy. They all looked stunning. The girls had bouquets of white hydrangeas and I wanted to incorporate that into my bouquet. I wanted a bouquet that was completely rounded so you could see flowers from all angles. I incorporated white roses, stocks, hydrangeas and white berries with stephanotis, provided by Nadia Di Tulio.
We had flowers matching my bouquets on the candleabras and the top table which were also provided by Nadia Di Tulio. We hired in blossom trees and a top table blossom arch from Essential Wedding Hire.
For favours, we gave out mini whisky bottles for the men and crystal heart tea light holders for the ladies.
Cupid Carriages provided a white vintage Rolls Royce for us on the day.
We had a three course meal along with Greek bread, starters and dips and bacon sarnies for those who stayed to party until the early hours with us.
Delicious Designs in Belper made our wedding cake. We chose a 6 tier wedding cake covered in blossom petals with scattered diamantes. Rather than traditional fillings we had white chocolate chunks with fresh raspberries.
To round off a fabulous day we had a live five piece Greek band with lots of Greek dancing.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to choose a timeless colour palette. I wanted to keep everything quite neutral to ensure that I wouldn’t look back on my pictures and regret the colour I’d chosen or think the colour looked old fashioned.
July 8th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Let’s keep the Real Wedding pretty coming this morning with this stunning and stylish celebration at Arley Hall & Gardens. Jenna & Martin opted for a modern and muted colour scheme for their beautiful big day, dotted with gorgeous vintage inspired details.
As soon as I saw her choice of heels, I knew that today’s bride and I would be sartorially compatible. Jenna, I like your style.
With images by Lisa Howard Photography.
Jenna says: We got engaged in Stratford Upon Avon on 24th March 2012. Martin had arranged a weekend away for us and luckily it turned out to be one of the hottest weekends of the year! He proposed whilst we were sitting on the banks of the River Avon with a bottle of bubbly! It was perfect!
Our wedding day was 23rd May 2014. We got married at Arley Hall & Gardens, Cheshire.
We had actually been out looking at another venue which we were really disappointed with, when we drove past a signpost for Arley. We had seen it online but thought it looked way over our budget to even consider it an option. However, we decided to go and have a nosey. We didn’t have an appointment booked at Arley but the staff were so accommodating and the venue was so perfect! It was just what we wanted with the two aspects of the stately home and the rustic barn for the evening reception.
Styling wise, it just seemed to work out in the end that everything was a little bit vintage with a modern edge. We opted for a colour scheme of grey and white – we wanted to keep everything quite neutral as the rooms in the venue already have so many colours in them anyway; we didn’t want it to look too busy. Plus grey is my favourite colour!
I wore a lace mermaid style dress by Mori Lee from Always & Forever Bridal Boutique, St Helens. I had gone into the shop with the mind set that I definitely didn’t want a lace dress! However that soon changed. I also didn’t want a lace up corset style back and seeing as my dress had both I was reluctant to try it on, however after much persuasion I did and I loved it (but I did end up having the seamstress swap the lace ups for a zip)!
I carried a posy of white peonies from the floristry department of St Helens College.
I was really close to my nan who died a few years ago so really wanted to try and incorporate my memories of her into the wedding. I had a locket with a picture of her in it wrapped around my bouquet and a large photograph of her from my mum’s wedding with a candle burning.
Martin wore a dark blue slim fit three piece suit from TM Lewin, Liverpool. His shirt was white with accents of blue from Hugo Boss. His shoes were brown brogues from Bertie in Steve Madden, Manchester.
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