April 3rd, 2015 | Julia Braime
We don’t know about you but here at Brides Up North HQ we just couldn’t take our eyes of Ted and Amy’s wonderful winter wedding when it arrived in our inbox. This stylish couple tied the knot between Christmas and New Year giving their friends and family an extra reason to be in high spirits over the festive season.
They wanted a relaxed and informal do in a charming rural setting and that’s exactly what they delivered.
I absolutely adore the flowers in this wedding – that bouquet! Oh and of course there’s a bunch of mistletoe too…pucker up!
With images by Brides Up North Featured Supplier, Fairclough Photography.
amy says: We got engaged on Christmas Day. We were at my parents’ house with my sister and auntie and uncle. We had just finished opening the presents and then Ted said, “I’ve just got one more present, but you’ll have to stand up for this one Bob (my nickname)”. I stood up, turned around and he was on one knee. I don’t remember much of what happened after that – only that I said “YES”.
We didn’t have a date in mind when we started looking at venues but after finding the right place, we sat down to look at diaries and found out they had space around Christmas. We both love Christmas and as we got engaged on Christmas Day, it seemed like a good idea to do it around that time. We went for the Saturday between Christmas and New Year, 27th December.
We got married at Bashall Barn, a few miles out of our hometown of Clitheroe, Lancashire. We wanted to get married in the Ribble Valley and knew that we wanted a relaxed and informal setting. The Barn was perfect for us, spacious yet cosy and with plenty or rustic, rural charm.
We didn’t have a theme as such but did stick with traditional Christmas colours of red and green. We wanted to create the sense of happiness and magic that Christmas evokes in us for all of our guests.
My dress was from Dessy’s After Six range. I went to Orchid Designs bridal shop in Clitheroe to try on some dresses to get a feel for what I wanted. It wasn’t the kind of dress I thought I wanted but as soon as I put it on, it just felt so ‘me’ and I didn’t want to take it off. It was the third dress I’d tried on and I just knew it was the one.
Ted wanted a three piece tweed suit but we’d left it quite late and they are harder to come by than we thought. About four weeks before the wedding we went out looking and found the perfect suit in Next, it fit perfectly and he looked gorgeous in it.
I purchased the two bridesmaids dresses online. I knew I wanted dark green but I found it really difficult to find any in the shops so had a look online and managed to find a company who had just what I was looking for. The dresses were then altered to suit each bridesmaid.
The groomsmen each wore their own suits but they all had matching red ties which were purchased from the Saville Row Company.
I travelled to the wedding in my dad’s car. I didn’t see the point in hiring a car and driver for the ten minute journey. As it was, it was lovely, my auntie had decorated it with ribbon and flowers and my uncle chauffeured us – it was perfect.
Our photographers were husband and wife duo, the Faircloughs from Fairclough Photography. They were recommended to me by another photographer. I sent the initial email to them to see if they were free on the day that we’d chosen and received a phone call less than five minutes later from Katie. The service was as efficient as that throughout and they were an absolute pleasure to work with. They have some great ideas and are keen to try out cutting edge techniques. We didn’t want the posed formal shots and so were happy for them to do their own thing. We were completely overwhelmed with the pictures! They really capture the spirit of us and of the day and that’s just what we wanted. I would highly recommend them.
I didn’t want really fussy flower decorations. I had a look on Pinterest for rustic winter wedding flowers and found a bouquet with thistle, berries and roses in. My mum had been recommended to try Fusspots in Whalley. I took the picture of the bouquet along with me and told the owner Theresa, what I was thinking. I cried when she delivered the flowers on the morning of the wedding – they were absolutely perfect!
The venue was already decorated for Christmas and so I didn’t want to go overboard with decorations. I had a large bouquet of mistletoe where the ceremony took place and candles everywhere – I love candles! On each of the tables, I had a cluster of flower decorations from Fusspots and a large lantern, along with favour bags and decorative table number plaques which were designed by a close friend.
I wanted simple homemade favours. I bought 150 small brown paper bags, miniature bottles and miniature jam jars online. My best friend’s mum made some homemade chutney to fill the jars with and I filled each of the bottles with port. There was also a small chocolate in each. I tied each bag with a piece of butcher’s string and attached a brown gift tag with the guest’s names on so that the favours were also the name places.
We had a cheese wedding cake for the evening, which was provided by the Barn. I wasn’t going to have a sweet wedding cake but my mum panicked a few days before and so we did end up getting a few plain iced sponge cake tiers from a supermarket but we didn’t even cut into it in the end!
The venue we chose has been voted to have the best on site restaurant in the UK, as foodies this was a massive plus for us. We didn’t get married until 4:30pm and our evening guests were due from 7:30pm onwards and so we were a bit limited for time. We chose to have canapés to start whilst guests were having their reception drinks, for mains we had a braised blade of beef with creamed mash and veg and for dessert, a sticky toffee pudding. It was lovely!
We had a band called Duncan Disorderly to provide our entertainment. We first saw them at Knutsford Wine Bar and fell in love with them. They play covers but put their own funk style on each track. They’ve got tonnes of energy and are perfect for a good dance!
We wanted our guests to be as comfortable and relaxed as possible – this was at the forefront of our minds when we planned the day. We had a little snack table with savoury and sweet nibbles and little bowls for people to help themselves throughout the evening, to ensure nobody went hungry. We also put toiletries in each of the bathrooms for guests to freshen up.
I would highly recommend the Barn, especially to couples who want a little bit more flexibility when planning their day. Henk, the coordinator, was a great help in the planning and was very accommodating to our ideas.
I loved the whole day – it just went too quick! I particularly loved walking down the aisle and seeing my Ted for the first time – I got a rush of excitement like I have never experienced before!
We hadn’t booked a honeymoon initially but had booked a fortnight off work at the end of January. A few days after the wedding, we went to the travel agents in Clitheroe and booked a ten-day break to Mauritius, to begin two weeks later. It was so nice having something to look forward to when we both went back to work after New Year. Mauritius was idyllic! We stayed at Le Victoria in the north of the island and everything was perfect – the weather, food, people – we didn’t want to come back! We still miss the time we lived in Mauritius – even if it was just for ten days!
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to relax and enjoy the experience! It is so easy to get carried away with what you should/shouldn’t do but at the end of the day, it should be about you, the bride and groom! You only get one day to show everybody who you both are and how much you love each other – don’t lose sight of that in the planning.
February 19th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
A fine stately home was the setting for Caroline and James’ big day in the North East. The couple incorporated a rich colour palette of champagne gold and ivory into their celebrations resulting in one very stylish affair.
Extra sparkles were added in the bridesmaids dresses and decor while bride Caroline dazzled in her fabulous Mori Lee fishtail dress, complete with Jimmy Choo heels.
Images by Focal Point Photography.
caroline says: James romantically proposed to me on 31st August 2013 at Slayley Hall in Northumberland. He hired a private function room with champagne afternoon tea, after the proposal we had a romantic walk along the grounds and returned back to my parents’ house for further celebrations.
Saturday 20th December 2014 was our chosen wedding date. We both agreed that there is something about winter weddings that bring a fairy tale touch to the day’s celebrations. We also loved the early evenings that come with the winter season – this meant that there was more celebration time, lots of candles and glitter. Although the evening was darker earlier, it allowed us to create our own light with a soft, romantic and inviting mood for our guests.It also enabled us to have our dream honeymoon in the Maldives in their peak season of January.
We chose Ellingham Hall in Northumberland as our wedding venue. We stumbled across the location of Chathill during a countryside drive one weekend and when I later researched that it was in fact a wedding venue, there was no need to look anywhere else. The thought of taking over our very own grand, stately home within secluded grounds for our December wedding wasn’t going to be just a dream… our dreams were about to come true with just over a year to plan.
Ellingham Hall offered us the entire hall for a three-night stay, this included three reception rooms with cosy log burning fires, eighteen bedrooms, along with twelve estate cottages within the grounds.
The cottages proved to be so efficient for our family travelling from far afield as Australia, Hong Kong and New York, as well as offering a private space for James and his groomsmen to prepare for the big day ahead.
Our theme throughout was champagne gold and ivory. We felt this was appropriate for a winter wedding and it definitely worked on the day.
I chose a stunning, elegant Mori Lee all over tulle fishtail wedding dress in ivory. The dress was purchased from a bridal shop in Morpeth, Kathryn Trueman Bridal. As the dress was so simple and elegant, it allowed me to customise the dress to my exact wishes. The customised service at the bridal shop made the winter theme that extra bit special by adding a Swarovski crystal sash as a belt and also some detailed lace sleeves. The Jimmy Choo ivory silk satin peep toe pumps with crystal detail were the icing of outfit.
James wore a bespoke navy blue three-piece suit, a white crisp shirt, a sevenfold champagne gold silk tie and lace-up brown brogue shoes. James is fortunate to have an uncle who owns a well-established suit hire company in Durham city, Troughear Suit Hire.
For my six stunning bridesmaids, we found the perfect sequined gold maxi dress from Little Mistress. The two flower girls wore the matching dresses and fur shawls. On the wedding day each bridesmaid had personalised dress hangers, dressing gowns and we also presented them with Tiffany bracelets during the speeches.
The majority of the bridal party stayed within the hall, or within the grounds, from the Friday until the Monday so the only transport needed was our wedding car to take us on the short two minute journey to St Maurice Church in Ellingham. For this journey we were fortunate to be gifted the use of James’ Director’s Bentley Arnage.
Photography is such an important aspect of your wedding day and those photos are lifetime memories to cherish, so with this in mind I chose a photography company which I had previously dealt with at my brother’s wedding a few years ago. Focal Point Photography were so professional and both David and Paul worked incredibly well together. With a winter wedding and the poor visibility, they still made the photographs just perfect – we both can’t recommend them enough!
I am fortunate enough to have my own floristry business – Poplar Tree Florist, with a team of florists at hand to make the flowers perfect. With it being so close to Christmas, we themed the church flowers with Christmas red and golds and the hall itself was very gold and ivory. The florists decorated the hall and church with Christmas trees, garlands and candelabras galore! My wedding bouquet and bridesmaids’ flowers were Vera Wang and consisted of cream avalanche roses and ranunculus flowers, with the two adorable flower girls carrying little gypsophila pomanders.
We chose simple gold candelabras for the table arrangements with an array of white avalanche roses and hydrangeas situated below the candles. Again these were provided by Poplar Tree Florist. For our chair covers we used Flawless Weddings and Events in Morpeth and also used Crosby Hire for the white limewash chiavari chairs. I would highly recommend these suppliers.
With my family connection in landscaping and garden centres we chose to incorporate this and our theme of a winter wedding all in one for the favours. We chose mini Christmas tree seedlings wrapped in hessian with personalised name tags for each of the men and for the ladies we had gold chocolate Ferrero Rochers – as they are James’ favourite chocolates.
We had an elegant, four-tiered ivory iced wedding cake with our initials displayed on the top tier.
Each tier consisted of a deliciously different flavour, including red velvet, chocolate and spice and Victoria sponge. This was made by the lovely Amy at Pretty Sweet.
For our wedding meal we chose a traditional menu of peppered tomato soup, Northumberland beef roast dinner, followed by orange chocolate cake. To accompany the meal we selected three of our favourite wines for each table – a red, white and rose, kindly gifted to us as our wedding gift off our good family friends at Lanchester Wines.
We had Anna Reay as a wedding singer during our church ceremony. We then chose Marty Scott as a wedding singer for the duration of the day. Marty provided us with the perfect background music during our wedding breakfast, followed by more live singing afterwards.
We enjoyed every single moment of the day, but our favourite part was saying “I do”.
For our honeymoon we visited the Maldives for just over two weeks in January – it was a dream come true and we hope to revisit the island again in the near future.
My top tips for other brides up north would be to enjoy every single moment without any stress. When you walk down the aisle, try to look at each of your guests and take it all in slowly. Also try to take you and your husband away from your guests for just five to ten minutes in a quiet room to chat about how your day is going – this is important because you both struggle to find time to be together during the day as you’re so occupied chatting to your guests.
February 11th, 2015 | Julia Braime
I was overjoyed when same sex marriage (actual marriage, not just civil partnership) became legal in the UK, but it’s only when I get to feature beautiful couples like Rachel and Emma that the enormity and awesomeness of that change actually hits home.
These girls were looking for a day filled with warmth, openness and togetherness, and that’s exactly what they got. How very Hygge!
All will be explained…
With images by Leighton Bainbridge Photography.
the girls say: We got engaged while staying in Northumberland in May 2013. In 2012 we had attended Peace Camp at Dunstanburgh Castle; white tents covered the grounds surrounding the ruins and we arrived at dawn where love poems were played from illuminated tents. Both of us were desperate to propose, unbeknown to the other! Unfortunately finances had restricted our opportunity at this time. Emma decided to re-enact this experience on our favourite beach, Beadnell on the 25th May 2014. She had recruited friends and family to erect a white tee-pee on the beach through the night for us to arrive at dawn. An excellent plan depended on excellent weather; and we had experience torrential rain and gale force winds up until hours beforehand!
The plan did however turn out perfectly; despite a slightly later arrival on the beach following the “scenic route’!
Emma got down onto one knee and became for the first time, lost for words!
We were married at Newton Hall in Northumberland om 23rd December 2014/. Rachel had spent a huge amount of time in Northumberland throughout her childhood and it is a very important place to her family. We spent a lot of time together in Beadnell and the surrounding area and it feels like home. We had come across Newton Hall at a wedding fayre before it hosted ceremonies but it began to develop into a fabulous one-in-one venue over the years. We visited the venue just after our engagement and looked no further! We loved the style of the venue and the fact we could have exclusive use of this house. From the window in the bridal suite, Beadnell bay where we got engaged is visible and everything just seemed to fall into place!
Due to the date we booked, a Christmas theme began to develop. After initially booking Rachel looked into a honeymoon destination to leave the next morning, Christmas Eve. Copenhagen was one of the stand-out destinations and doing research into Copenhagen at Christmas gave us the word Hygge. In Danish it means “The art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open hearted and alive. To create well-being, connection and warmth. A feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other” We used this phrase on our invitations and the wedding was completely Hygge!
The colour scheme was natural fabrics and colours with a small amount of metallic touches. We wanted it to be cosy and festive without over-using red and green!
Rachel had spent a long time looking at dresses on the internet and we both tried a few on in a local shop to work out which style suited us best.
Rachel found a strapless, corset style diamond white Maggie Sottero gown on eBay from a woman the same measurements and we took a chance! We drove down and collected it at a service station in Yorkshire and called at The Bridal Factory Outlet in Northallerton on the way home to try some on for Emma. Emma chose the third dress she tried on, an ivory lace Mori Lee and although it needed alterations it complemented the Maggie Sottero perfectly. Rachel managed to try her dress on for the first time in the changing rooms with Emma and thankfully it fit and was just perfect! We managed to have our dresses a week after booking our wedding date!
Our bridesmaids wore navy twist front maxi dresses by Debut at Debenhams. Our boys wore navy suits with tweed waistcoats, red ties and white shirts, all from Moss Bros who were fantastic with everyone from dads to younger brothers!
We feel so lucky to be able to get married – we waited until it could be a wedding rather than a civil partnership and we are very fortunate that while planning this wedding all we have experienced from all suppliers, shops and others has been excitement and kindness. We were entirely overwhelmed with the love we experienced from our friends and families and that was the best thing about our wedding.
Leighton Bainbridge was our photographer. Photography was one of the biggest decisions for us. Emma is a keen photographer and we spent a lot of time looking at wedding photos to find out what style we were after. We found it difficult to find examples of lesbian weddings! When we met Leighton we knew he’d be perfect; we arrived armed with an album of photographs we liked from various sources and he took on this on board! He was quiet and polite; we were confident Leighton would fit into our day and produce excellent photographs to treasure.
We had great difficulty finding flowers which would be available in December but found dried bouquets by The Artisan Dried Flower Company. We used their winter theme and ordered matching hair pins, buttonholes and bouquets for all of the bridal party. The bonus is we can keep our bouquets forever!
We also ordered some dried flowers for the milkchurns at the ends of the aisle from The Artisan Dried Flower Company. We used wish trees to suspend our wedding favours which were glass baubles which we filled with different sequins, feathers and other sparkles hoping to make one to suit each person. We used fake snow and tiny crystals around the bases on the tables and battery fair lights on the trees themselves.
We used an antique map of Northumberland with buttons and string for our table plan. This was made by Rachel and again finished the evening before!
Emma’s mother, Sarah, ordered the material to dress the chairs and Aunty Helen helped with the sizing and preparation. The venue were brilliant; all of our various decorations were boxed up and left with them the evening before following a short meeting with their fantastic wedding coordinator Jane.
A friend from Emma’s work, Andrea made the cake, which fit with the winter theme again. It tasted fantastic! Lemon, Chocolate fudge and Fruit cake in layers.
We chose a string quartet for before, during and after the ceremony and a ceilidh for the evening, which was fantastic. North East Soiree provided the entertainment and they were fantastic. We wanted a ceilidh to encourage the guests to relax and break that initial first dance ice!
Our ceremony with the string quartet was lovely, “Annie’s Song” for our entrance and we walked out to “Fairytale of New York”. Rachel had suggested riding in on her horse – which was disallowed!
We involved our dog, Rowan as ring bearer in the wedding. She was perfectly behaved through the day, enjoying the wedding breakfast on Emma’s knee sharing Rachel’s chicken!
Our “best people” made a beautiful speech including photographs of both of us as children, the last seven years together and then our engagement photographs. The master of ceremonies stated it was one of the most emotional weddings he had seen; it felt like a long time coming!
Our first dance was to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. We finally decided on the song the evening before the wedding and choreographed the routine at 10pm in our PJs in our hotel room!
The venue was fantastic. They were so well practised and nothing was too much of a problem. We felt comfortable and looked after all day. Jane our coordinator on the day was fantastic – even stitching out dresses up before the first dance when we realised we were going to struggle! The master of ceremonies John was lovely and other staff were friendly and professional. Although it was only the third same-sex marriage at the venue, the staff were great. We did change the format from a normal wedding slightly to suit our situation but this was never a problem. They are very flexible!
At the end of the evening, the close friends and family staying retired to the bar in the main house. Rachel took her hair out and was sat on the floor, we were all sat with coffees and tea and wedding cake discussing the day. It was truly Hygge!
We were pretty early to bed and we sat in the bath together and opened our cards. We later found out that had we looked out of the window from our free-standing bath in the Beadnell bay room we would have probably seen a fantastic show of the Northern Lights! Every part of the day was wonderful but those moments when we were alone were special; we repeatedly said how magical the day had been and how loved we felt.
We flew to Copenhagen on Christmas Eve morning and arrived at the Hotel Neptun at tea-time. We were asked to join the duty manager and his wife (and dog!) in Christmas Eve dinner where we sampled Danish desserts and tea and our new friends gave us tips on where to visit! The next morning we woke up to snow on Christmas day! We spent five days in Copenhagen visiting the local sights and enjoyed the Nutcracker Ballet at Tivoli gardens. Copenhagen was a winter wonderland – a beautiful city with friendly people and amazing food! We cannot wait to return!
Our top tip for Brides Up North is to make sure the wedding is your own kind of special. We had a tiny wedding guest list and we were pretty ruthless on who we invited to make sure that everyone could be comfortable on the day. This was excellent because it meant we did spend time away from our guests without worrying they were missing us! By having a small wedding party, it took the pressure off and we enjoyed the company of everyone there.
February 3rd, 2015 | Julia Braime
Hey, it’s Tuesday and baby it’s cold outside.
Let’s have another warming winter wedding, shall we?
Amy and Adam’s twinkling celebration mixes classically elegant styling with a good dose of merry and bright for their Boxing Day big day. And as you know, at Brides Up North, we love a bit of sparkle…
With images by Andrew Keher Photography.
amy says: We got engaged on Christmas Eve 2013. The ring was on my pillow in the bedroom when I came in from my shift at the hospital. I pretended I hadn’t seen it so I could shower and change out of my uniform first and Adam played along! Adam had a speech prepared but didn’t get very far through it as he was so emotional. We opened the champagne and my parents and brother came round that evening for dinner and we told them the exciting news. Cue more champagne!
We got married on Boxing Day 2014. Christmas is a very important time of year for me and my family and we wanted to make it even more special by adding a wedding into the mix. It meant that the usual Boxing Day tradition of staying in pajamas all day had to be jettisoned but nobody seemed to mind.
We chose The Belle Epoque, Knutsford as our venue.
We wanted exclusive use of an intimate, romantic venue and the Belle Epoque was definitely the right fit. It’s lovely all year round, but particularly cosy in the winter with real fires and beautiful decorations. I have a love of all things French and the Art Nouveau feel to the venue made it even more perfect. It’s also got a great reputation for food – we’re big foodies so it was particularly important to give our guests the most delicious wedding breakfast.
We gave a nod to the 1920s, Great Gatsby style that you can particularly see in the shoes worn by Adam, the best man Andy and my dad, as well as in elements of my dress.
Since Adam and I have been together, he’s introduced me into the world of beer (I was very much a wine and cocktail girl before), especially Belgian beers which we tried plenty of in Bruges – Adam took me there for my 30th - so the tables were names of Belgian beers. Each one had an empty bottle of the beer in on the table with a candle in the middle and a coaster attached using ribbon we had made that said ‘Amy & Adam 26th December 2014’.
The venue comes already dressed – and beautifully so – so we didn’t want to do too much to it. We added in some candles, cream silk rose petals scattered up the aisle and silver snowflakes and crystal decorations.
My bridesmaid wore cobalt blue and our flower girl wore silver and cobalt blue – we wanted an accent colour to stand out.
The dress was one of the first I tried on, but not one I initially chose. Janine, the owner of Timeless Bride, suggested I try it on and it was perfect. It was the only dress that made my mum cry when she saw me and I felt beautiful and elegant in it straight away. I didn’t want white, the colour of the dress is champagne and I think this was more flattering for my complexion.
It is a strapless dress, but the dress came with a cape in the same lace that was on the dress. We had a halter neck strap made during alterations out of this. The strap was detachable and the plan was to take it off in the evening, but I loved it so I wore it all day. The seamstress also made a bustle on the dress so I could dance more easily in the evening.
We also added a diamante belt to the dress to accentuate my waist and add some more glamour.
Gemma Hallowell did my hair and make up.
Adam wore tails and a silver cravat from Freedmans in Stockport. He wore two toned shoes from Ebay which looked amazing.
My bridemaid’s dress was from Coast. My mum made the flower girl’s dress.
Our flowers were from The Flower Lounge, Didsbury.
Sian is a school friend of Adam’s and she was really helpful in the early stages of our wedding planning, suggesting a make-up artist for me, as well as helping us to find our photographer and venue, so when it came to the flowers it had to be The Flower Lounge.
I’ve ordered flowers previously from Sian and have always been really impressed. I had only a very vague idea of what I wanted: a structured bouquet with white flowers only, particularly roses, hand-tied with ribbons and pearls. We trusted Sian completely and she didn’t disappoint. I had a smaller bouquet made for my bridesmaid and button holes for the men.
The Flower Lounge won the region’s Wedding Florist of the Year 2014,
We used Andrew Keher.Photography.
I have already recommended Andrew and he is photographing my friend’s wedding in May!
Andy did our engagement shoot earlier in the year and got some stunning images of us, which are on our lounge wall. We were so impressed with them that we had a signature book made using only Andy’s images.
Andy went the extra mile throughout the process, driving to meet us at the venue when we had our menu tasting so he could weigh up best places for photos and get an idea what the venue was like. The ceremony room is candle-lit and very intimate and the whole venue is dimly lit, so it is known as being a difficult place to get excellent wedding photos – we were really touched that Andy came to see it beforehand and feel that this is partly why we got such fantastic shots on the day. He had agreed to stay until the first dance, but ended up staying much later, continuing to work hard to capture some beautiful moments.
Our wedding stationery (invitations, table plan, menus and name cards) came from Wedding Paraphernalia. A very personalised and excellent place which I’d highly recommend. As the tables were Belgian-beer themed, we sent the coasters for the beers to Jo at Wedding Paraphernalia and she put the table plan together for us.
My mum found little Christmas tree bauble table decorations and had ribbon made that said ‘Amy & Adam, 26th December 2014. These acted both as favours for people to hang on their tree in the years to come and as place cards. Wedding Paraphernalia made name cards for each person which we attached to the bauble with tiny silver pegs (my mum had to hand paint these silver as she couldn’t find silver ones!).The children had finger puppets which went down really well.
We used silver snowflakes and table crystals as well as tealights and tealight holders too. We had Mr and Mrs cushions on our chairs as well as a wooden Mr and Mrs sign on the top table. We also had little chocolates that had wedding quiz question on the wrapper in little silver gauze bags.
My mum took great pleasure finding all of the little extras and organising these for us, for which I’m really grateful as I don’t have a particularly good eye for the little details, nor the patience!
Before the tasting at the venue we had a good idea what we wanted, but were blown away by other options when we tasted them and changed the menu completely!
My dad makes the most amazing Christmas cake each year, so we asked him to make one for the wedding. He made it double the depth and it was delicious.
My Aunty Iris made a fantastic Victoria Sponge (my favourite cake) and a beautiful mocha cake which made up the other layers… although that’s not entirely true – the bottom tier of the cake was real, the top two were faux.
My mum decorated all of the tiers. We wanted all aspects of the wedding to be personal to us and were very lucky to have such generous and talented family members who offered to make the cake for us. The time and effort they put into it was incredible and we are truly grateful.
I lived in Quebec for a year, memories from which I hold dear – I wanted some music from there playing, so created playlist of songs for during the drinks reception.
Afterwards, we had an acoustic singer and a DJ.
We heard the singer, Danny Clarke, perform in a local pub and were really impressed with him so booked him pretty much there and then. He played a mixture of indie and well known classics which suited us perfectly. He played 2 x 45 minute sets during the evening.
Our DJ was Nick Campbell, a regular at the venue. He managed to find some pretty obscure songs requested on the night and he was very professional, making none of the typically cheesy wedding DJ announcements.
We bought my parents a present each to thank them for their generosity, time and patience in the run up and during the day – my dad wore his cufflinks proudly. We bought my mum and engagement ring charm for her charm bracelet.
For our own jewellery, we used The Ring Workshop, Oswestry. We had been into several high street shops and found them most unhelpful, focussing on the sale rather than finding wedding bands we liked and that sat well with my engagement ring. Mark at The Ring Workshop provided a personal service, talking us through available options and helped us decide on the most suitable rings.
We were really impressed with The Belle Epoque. It is the perfect venue if you want an intimate and romantic setting.
They did all they could to make the day run smoothly and be so memorable, including being flexible in amending running orders, menu options, and sourcing additional beers of our choice for behind the bar.
I was most looking forward to walking down the aisle with my Dad, to see Adam waiting for me and looking so happy, surrounding by our closest family and friends. This definitely lived up to expectations and we were all very emotional.
The icing on the cake, and something we couldn’t have planned if we tried, was that it began to snow whilst we were eating our meal! Under Andy’s direction, we braved the cold to get one of our favourite shots of the day. Apparently snow at a wedding is good luck too!
We went to Mexico for our honeymoon. The first week we stayed at Secrets Playa Mujeres in a beach front bungalow, and the second week at Excellence Playa Mujeres where we were upgraded to a two storey suite with plunge pool upstairs on the roof terrace. Both resorts were 5 star adults only all inclusive, service was impeccable throughout, pampering us and making sure we were well fed and topped up with cocktails. Our favourites were the iceburg (beer topped with frozen margarita), and the guava and tamarind margaritas.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to organise the big things early and don’t be afraid to relinquish control of the smaller things to family and friends. Decide which things are most important to you and then be willing to compromise on others.
February 3rd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
What’s not to love about today’s wedding?
Matt and Stephi’s celebration oozes opulence and style, from the bride’s stunning lace dress and regal faux fur wrap, to the classic Austin York car and those sensational blooms. However, this couple didn’t get caught up in the planning process enough to lose sight of the reason they were tying the knot – simply because of the love they have for one another.
So wrap up warm as we join the Matt and Stephi in reliving their romantic winter wedding.
With images by Ruth Atkinson
stephi says: We got engaged on 1st August 2014. I was in Keswick helping at the Keswick Convention and Matt came to pick me up at the end of the three weeks. It was a really rainy miserable day but he eventually persuaded me to go for a walk up to the hill where we first started going out three years previously. We got there and he got out a picnic blanket and then gave me a box of letters that he’d written over the last three years that he’d saved for when he proposed. I read through them all and then he got down on one knee and popped the question! Then after a little picnic, we made our way back down the hill to the car and Matt tripped and fell headfirst and slid on his front down the entire muddy hill. It was a very hilarious addition to the proposal story!
We set the date for 3rd January 2015. We knew that we didn’t want a long engagement and to drag it out. So we started at 12 months and moved forward until we got to a date that worked.
We got married at Christ Church in Fulwood, Sheffield. Matt and I are part of the church family there and so there wasn’t really any question about getting married anywhere else. We chose Firth Court as our reception venue. I’d been to a wedding there before and thought it was beautiful and we thought it was a massive bonus that it is on a main road, just in case the weather decided to turn nasty! We would definitely recommend this venue to other couples. The team there was professional in every way and delivered a great service, plus the building is stunning inside and out.
Matt and I very much wanted our faith in Jesus to be the centre of the day. Yes it is ‘our big day’, but we both believe that all good things come from our Father in Heaven so we wanted to reflect that in each part of the day – particularly the service. Everyone said how much of a joyful celebration the service was, of our love for each other and of God’s love for us all.
We wanted a very simple and elegant wedding in terms of style. I didn’t want the day to be about the theme or the décor etc but about the fact that we were getting married. I chose a pale blue for my bridesmaids and pretty much everything else was very neutral – lots of whites and ivory and pale blues.
When it came to my dress I tried on a lot of dresses! And my problem was that I liked them all. I ended up choosing a long sleeved, lace dress by Lusan Mandongus from Lulu-Mae Bridal in Sheffield. It wasn’t what I had thought I wanted but after I left the shop I couldn’t stop thinking about it so I went back and tried it on a second time and fell in love. I ended up having a seamstress disaster two weeks before the wedding (just before Christmas) but a brilliant lady, Penny Beal came to my rescue and was incredible. I also had a faux fur wrap from Monsoon, which was perfect to keep me warm out in the Peak District. Julia Smith did my makeup and she did incredible work on my stressed out skin – I felt amazing all day.
Matt wore a Classic tailcoat suit with traditional striped trousers, hired from Moss Bros. He had a patterned ivory waistcoat and plain ivory cravat.
My bridesmaids wore floor-length pale blue dresses that I got online. I loved the way the neckline and lace at the top matched my dress. They also had scarves to keep warm when we were outside – I got them from Primark! The groomsmen wore the same as Matt. They also all had scrabble letter cufflinks with their initials. We also had two flower girls, who wore beautiful dresses from Monsoon, and three page boys. As part of their outfits they wore red converse to match with the bridesmaids scarves.
We travelled in a 1937 Austin York. We hired it from Legends Wedding Services and loved having such a beautiful classic car in the photos – although it was freezing!
Ruth Atkinson was our photographer. She has done a lot of our friends’ weddings and it was the first thing we knew we wanted when we got engaged. She takes absolutely beautiful photos and we hardly noticed her at all on the day. We received our photos from her within a week of being back from honeymoon and couldn’t have asked for anything more from her.
I carried a natural looking bouquet of white roses, gypsophila, silver brunia, grey eucalyptus and muscari. It was absolutely beautiful and went brilliantly with my bridesmaids’ small posies of gypsophila. Katherine at Petalis in Sheffield was really helpful in giving her experience and ideas whilst still listening to what I wanted. Petalis also did our reception flowers. We had candelabras as centrepieces on each of the tables. Some of them were dressed with gypsophila and some were left plain. It looked like a fairytale! We also had lots of candles in jars dotted all over the place.
We gave out charity favours for three of our favourite charities – NSPCC, Cancer Research UK and Alzheimer’s Society. I wrote a little poem explaining why we had done it and attached the pin badges to the card.
As I’m gluten intolerant cake isn’t a very easy thing to get right, and Matt and I both have an unhealthy love affair with cheese so we decided to have a cheese cake. It was absolutely incredible and we still have cheese left now! It also killed two birds with one stone as we just had accompaniments and served it up as the evening buffet.
The catering at Firth Court was out of this world. Several people said it was best wedding food they’d ever had – the gravy was so good I could’ve drank it. We had Wensleydale cheese and leek tart with grain mustard dressing for starter, then for main we had roast loin of Moss Valley pork with a dry rub of sage, garlic and thyme, spiced apple compote, cider gravy, seasonal vegetables and potatoes. For dessert we had dark chocolate fondant with white chocolate ice cream and raspberry coulis.
Matt and I are both musicians so we knew we wanted a really good live band for our evening reception. Our first choice was always Function Fever and they didn’t let us down! They had everyone on the dance floor and everyone said how great the band was.
A couple of special touches included us sending out ‘mad lib’ RSVP cards. These were a lot of fun and we loved reading through everyone’s replies. A friend of ours also organised a special guestbook for us. She drew a tree and guests did their fingerprint leaves on it, and we also had little guest cards for people to fill in and leave little messages.
My favourite part was definitely the service. Just after we got married, turning around and seeing everyone there was a really special moment. But most of all hearing everyone singing their hearts out in worship was so beautiful.
For our honeymoon we went to H10 Hotel Rubicon in Lanzarote. It was lush. We had such a relaxed week, enjoying the sun and some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. The spa was great place to go on the cloudy days and it was the perfect place to relax after all the madness leading up to the wedding.
In the run up to the wedding, regularly remind yourself why you are doing this. It’s not about the favours or the place cards but about two people wanting to spend the rest of their lives together. My motto (especially when I couldn’t get in my dress two weeks before my wedding) was: ‘As long as we get married, the day is a success. Everything else is just a good story’.
Subscribe to receive the FREE weekly Brides Up North e-shot, our newletters and notifications of events, giveaways and offers
We strive to represent the very best in our industry, but Brides Up North cannot be held liable for the products/ services of our sponsors. Any bookings are made at your own risk. Terms & Conditions.
All images © Brides Up North/ original author. Images should not be reproduced without written permission. Terms & Conditions.