Charlotte Balbier

twinkle twinkle. a romantic winter wedding at the belle epoque – rachael & james

August 20th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Sparkling Winter Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Adam Riley Photography (73)

Today’s bride and groom were faced with organising their wedding from overseas as they now live in Melbourne but returned Rachael’s family roots for their big day. The distance didn’t appear to cause too many problems though as their winter wedding at Cheshire’s Belle Epoque came together beautifully.

Letting the venue speak for itself, Rachael added a few extra sparkling touches, including glitter and candles, for the twinkling, cosy winter wedding she desired.

Another touch of sparkle was added at the end of the wedding with a sparkler arch in the street, which attracted the attention of local pub goers and the even the police, who were all keen to pass on their congratulations to the happy couple.

Images by Adam Riley Photography.

A Sparkling Winter Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Adam Riley Photography (6)

rachael says: We got engaged on the top of Kilimanjaro in December 2013.  It was the start of a three month trip overland from Nairobi to Cape Town. I was really sick from altitude sickness and it took a whole lot of willpower to get to the summit.  When we did get to the top, James got down on one knee and asked me to marry him – it was the first smile in 36 hours of non-stop vomiting up the last 1,000m of mountain!  He had planned on waiting until Cape Town where we were meeting my parents and asking dad’s permission, but he was so impressed with me getting to the top of the mountain he did it there instead.  The other story his three brothers like to tell is that he capitalised on my lack of oxygen to the brain!

A Sparkling Winter Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Adam Riley Photography (10)

Our wedding date was 10th January 2015.  We chose it because I was re-training to be a teacher during 2014 and was busy studying full time so didn’t want a UK summer wedding. We were planning on coming back to the UK (we live near Melbourne) for Christmas so we thought it seemed like a good time to get married. Plus James has a very big family – including nine nieces and nephews – so we knew that if there was any chance of them making a UK wedding it would be during Australian summer school holidays. Rather than wait for 18 months so we could have a UK summer wedding I thought I would embrace a twinkly, cosy winter wedding instead.

A Sparkling Winter Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Adam Riley Photography (14)

A Sparkling Winter Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Adam Riley Photography (12)

The wedding was at my mum and dad’s local church in Cotebrook near Tarporley, and the reception was held at the Belle Epoque in Knutsford. We chose Belle Epoque for several reasons, firstly a lot of the more traditional wedding venues we felt were a bit too over the top and grand for what we wanted, but we wanted something that had character and a heritage feel to it.  Secondly we felt that Belle Epoque was ideal for a winter wedding as all the guests were in a relatively small area which made it easier for us to spend time with everyone. Obviously the food was also a big reason to have it there!

A Sparkling Winter Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Adam Riley Photography (18)

Eventually we did have a theme that came about, but it wasn’t something that I struck upon from day dot! I used to cringe when asked what theme we were having! We had a theme in as much as the table names were named after the mountain huts and summit points on Kilimanjaro and we ended up having the most fabulous Kilimanjaro wedding cake (my husband’s genius idea!), plus our first dance was Wimoweh!

Again, the colour scheme just happened, it wasn’t at all planned. My sister Lorna (who has a stationery company called Toots Designs) designed our beautiful wedding stationery and took her cue for colours from the Belle Epoque period so they were a sort of hyacinth blue/purple and silver combination. I chose bridesmaid dresses from House of Fraser that I loved that were a very dark navy blue, and we had hyacinths in our bouquets. Then there was a lot of silver sparkle on the tables.

A Sparkling Winter Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Adam Riley Photography (22)

I had planned on picking my dress in the UK while I was back for three weeks last July so that I could have my mum and sister there with me. That didn’t happen quite as planned! I went to check out some bridesmaid dresses in Melbourne that my sister had found but had to wait for an appointment to view them. In the meantime I headed into a few of the other bridal shops and found my dress. I didn’t love it on the rack but once it was on I really loved the way it looked and the detail on the back of it.  The wedding dress shop were really difficult about taking photos of it to send to my mum and sister, so I ended up skyping them both a week or so later while trying it on!

A Sparkling Winter Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Adam Riley Photography (29)

James wore a really nice suit from Austin Reed, a grey silk suit and his waistcoat and tie were navy blue with small white squares on. The best man and ushers wore grey suits with a navy blue tie.

A Sparkling Winter Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Adam Riley Photography (34)

A Sparkling Winter Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Adam Riley Photography (36)

Our wedding transport for the day was a beautiful Jaguar hired from Decadence Wedding Carriages.

A Sparkling Winter Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Adam Riley Photography (38)

Adam Riley was our photographer. My mum and dad had met him at a wedding fair in January 2014 and picked up his brochure.  I picked him out straight away and mum and dad said he was their choice too but hadn’t wanted to sway me! I followed Adam’s page on Facebook before we got married and was so excited to see how our photos would turn out. I had such high expectations which can be a bit dangerous…but Adam exceeded them with what he captured. All of our guests commented how well the photos captured the fun and atmosphere of the day. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Adam to anyone. On the day I don’t know how he got the shots he did as you barely noticed he was there!

A Sparkling Winter Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Adam Riley Photography (43)

My wedding flowers were a mix of thistles and roses (I’m half Scottish), with some eucalyptus as a nod to the Australian part! The bridesmaids had hyacinths in their bouquets too, which are my favourite smelling flowers. Charlotte at the Little Potting Shed worked wonders on the day too decorating the church. I have no idea how she did it, but she managed to get into the church after our service, untie all of the pew ends and take them across to Belle Epoque and place them around the venue there!

A Sparkling Winter Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Adam Riley Photography (45)

One of the reasons I liked Belle Epoque was that they have quite ornate decorations around the venue anyway and it didn’t need too much decorating. As I was out of the country I wanted to make the wedding venue decorating part as easy as possible. The extra decorations were very simple – I ordered different silver candle holders from Amazon along with table sparkly bits and kept each table quite simple. My sister did all the place cards, table plan and table names and menus which looked fantastic.

A Sparkling Winter Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Adam Riley Photography (55)

Gemma McGrillis at Baked in Bunbury made us the most amazing cake. She spent about half an hour taking a brief on what my dress was like, the colour of the flowers etc and then produced mocked up images of some potential designs. They were all beautiful and we were spoilt for choice. But then James had the idea of having a Kilimanjaro cake, and what Gemma produced was a masterpiece – and delicious too.

I also put together a photobook to go on the cake table of our pictures from the Kilimanjaro climb, lots of people wouldn’t have seen them and many commented how nice it was to look through them.

A Sparkling Winter Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Adam Riley Photography (65)

As entertainment we had a ceilidh provided by Triple Scotch as my dad’s Scottish. All of the weddings I have been to with my Scottish family have had ceilidhs and are great fun. Everyone takes part and joins in which makes it lots of fun. We also had a disco.

Our first dance was Wimoweh (the original ‘In the Jungle’ song) as this was our silly song we played while we were planning our trip to Africa, and kind of became the theme song for the trip. I knew I was going to be quitting my job to go so we jokingly code named the trip project wimbaway in any emails to family and friends just in case my bosses were reading emails! My sister and mum thought we should have it as our first dance as we don’t have a particular song we are both attached to, but I thought it was a bit too silly and was a bit worried about what people might think! But the more I thought about it the more I liked the idea, then we had a few dancing lessons to put a routine together for it – although we messed it up on the day because we were laughing too much!

A Sparkling Winter Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Adam Riley Photography (56)

Instead of a guestbook my sister designed the most fabulous poster to sign which is now framed at home.  It is a heart shape made out of half British icons and half Australian icons with our names and the date on it.  Most of our guests signed this and it’s lovely to be able to display it. My sister is one talented girl and what she did for our stationery I know other people would have paid a lot for, I can’t thank her enough for all of her help and brilliant work.

A Sparkling Winter Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Adam Riley Photography (53)

There were so many brilliant moments during the wedding, but the sparkler arch at the end of the day was amazing. I had seen the idea and thought it was a nice way to end the evening and had it all cleared with the venue that we would do it on the roof terrace. While I was putting my nanna in a taxi to take her home I got chatting to the security man on the door who was lovely – turned out he had climbed Kilimanjaro too and his parents were from Uganda. I told him the plans for the sparkler arch and he said to leave it with him and he would get the road shut off to traffic while we did it! He did just that and we had a sparkler arch down King Street in Knutsford! People from the Rose and Crown came out to watch and I got hugs and congratulations from total strangers. However, the best part was the fact that the first car that had been stopped in the traffic was a police car.  He put on his flashing lights and put on his PA system to congratulate us both. It was something that couldn’t have been organised but was such a special and unique way to end a fantastic day.

A Sparkling Winter Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Adam Riley Photography (62)

The best tip I got given that I would pass on to other Brides Up North is to take time together to enjoy the day. It goes so quickly (everyone told me that but I didn’t realise how quickly), so make sure you take the time just to sit back and watch what is happening. Our car ride to the venue after our service was a really nice chance to do that.

A Sparkling Winter Wedding at The Belle Epoque (c) Adam Riley Photography (74)

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flower bomb. ian stuart for a winter celebration at crow hill – emily & mitchell

July 13th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (3)

Where on earth to start with today’s real wedding, this one has it all!

Following a very romantic proposal (we like your style Mitchell) Emily and her beau decided on a glam winter wedding without a Santa in sight. Instead of a typical festive celebration colour scheme of red this pair went for a lavish palette of taupes, lilac, latte and gold, which looked stunning. To complete their setting vision for the big day they then enlisted the help of Red Floral Architecture to take care of the flowers and décor – and the result? Wow!

The high level of style is continued in Emily and Mitchell’s attire choices with the groom opting for a cool burgundy suit and bow tie and the bride falling for one of Ian Stuart’s most iconic dress designs to date – the fabulous Flower Bomb!

Prepare to take note ladies, there are lots of great special touches and tips in here too. Take it away Emily!

With images by Tim Simpson Photography.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (15)
emily says: Mitchell proposed on the 22nd of September 2013 in Filey, North Yorkshire. He asked me to meet him out on the boat house over the lake where we were staying. As I approached the boat house to my utter amazement Mitchell had arranged lots of lanterns and candles in and around the boat house and as I got nearer began to play Bruno Mars Marry You – the rest is history!

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (10)
Our wedding date was 6th December 2014, which we chose as I have always wanted a winter wedding! There is something so glamorous and magical about winter and Christmas time! We 100% did not want a Christmas themed wedding but did want it near enough to Christmas that our guests would be feeling festive, magical and ready to party! We decided the first Saturday in December would be perfect.

Our wedding venue was Crow Hill in the beautiful unspoilt village of Marsden, Huddersfield. Both Mitchell and I fell in love with Crow Hill and couldn’t have found a better venue for the type of wedding we wanted to plan! We both have large close families with Mitchell’s family all living in London and so having somewhere to house all these guests the night before the wedding and the wedding night was vital for us! Crow Hill is a beautiful country house estate with accommodation for 32 guests across three beautiful properties! This enabled us to have all our close family, bridesmaids, best man etc. stay with us for two whole nights making it the ultimate wedding weekend! Serving a beautiful cosy supper on the Friday night around the open fire of the main property was just the perfect way to start our winter wedding weekend! Our guests could then flit between all properties making the whole thing so relaxed and with the definite ‘house party’ feel we wanted to achieve.

Crow Hill added with the amazing marquee provided a gorgeous, crisp, clean and glamorous space that was important to me when creating the feel for the reception. We didn’t want anything taking away from the decoration for the reception so a marquee was very important. The marquee at Crow Hill is huge with a chandelier gracing the draped ceiling, a built in modern and classy bar area all complete with bar tables, stools and a chic lounge area! Team the venue with beautiful scenery and amazing in-house chef it is just hands down the best venue for this type of wedding. We married in the equally fabulous St Bartholomew’s Church in Marsden village which also was incredibly important to Mitchell and I. A church as magnificent as St Bartholomew’s was just the icing on the cake when choosing this venue.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (8)

When it came to styling the wedding we had very definite ideas of what we wanted to achieve. We wanted a glamorous, glittering winter wedding without the ‘Christmassy’ theme. This included using tons of gold and champagne glitter, baroque style candle holders and tons of glamour. We wanted the style to feel really special but still tasteful with a magical, cosy and wintery feel. We decided having lots of twinkling candles, tons of textures and plenty of glitter was the way to achieve this. Our stylists Mat Hepplestone from Red Floral Architecture and Rebecca from Crow Hill where paramount in helping us achieve this!

The colour scheme for the wedding was always something I struggled with. Coming from an artistic background it was hard for me when people asked what is your colour scheme? And expected a one colour answer back! For us it was important to include various colours and tones and not just stick to one typical ‘wedding colour’. The colours included taupes, minks, dirty lilacs, creamy lattes and gold. We felt these colours helped us achieve the magical wintery feel without the usual red and green colours.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (2)

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (38)
I wore an Ian Stuart dress for the wedding which was from the amazingly beautiful Bridal Collection in Harrogate. It was the Flower Bomb dress in Taupe with multi flowers and featured a sweetheart neckline encrusted in Swarovski crystals. The dress had a tight bodice with a dropped waist and then exploded into a skirt full of mixed tulle, flowers and silk with a large train. The dress was completed with a cathedral length waterfall veil and a grey/mink coloured cropped fur jacket. I first saw this amazing dress gracing the window of The Bridal Collection way before we were engaged! I instantly vowed that I would wear the dress for my wedding day and that one day I would get to go inside The Bridal Collection and experience the excitement and awe of all the blushing brides I could see inside. I kept my vow and the whole experience was so special. Trying on that dress for the first time years from when I first saw it was magical and I really did feel like a princess!

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (5)

My hair and makeup artists on the day were the utterly amazing Flossy and Leigh. Head stylist Sam did me, my mum and bridesmaids’ hair and makeup for the wedding day. They then also touched my makeup up after photographs and before to ensure that I was looking my best. For the evening reception they then totally changed the style of mine, my mum’s and the bridesmaids’ hair and makeup. They are incredible and I couldn’t recommend them enough!

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (39)

Mitchell wore an amazing suit bought from Next. It was an incredibly stylish, classy dinner suit in an aubergine/burgundy colour. It was then professionally tailored and finished off with a Thomas Pink shirt, matching bow tie and Ted Baker shoes. He wanted an old school Motown look with a modern twist.

The bridesmaids wore full length strapless lace gowns with rouched side and a glam split up the leg. These where bought online. They then wore faux fur stoles and gold glittering shoes! The little flower girls wore handmade tutu dresses made by myself which took inspiration from the Ian Stuart dress and were made from masses of soft tulle and adorned with sparkles and silk flowers! They carried small gold glitter handbags from Monsoon and finished with gold glitter tights and fur trimmed cardigans from Monsoon also.

The groomsmen meanwhile wore classic black dinner suits with aubergine/burgundy bow ties as did the page boys. These were all bought from Moss Bros.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (12)
For the big day we hired a glossy black Volkswagen camper van called Stanley, who stylishly transported the groom and groomsmen to the church and also the mother of the bride and the bridesmaids. We hired this beauty from Love Dub Campers, York – an amazing down to earth and friendly company. I travelled in a fabulously glam pale pink 1950s Cadillac hired from Cartwright Cars in Huddersfield, another amazing company! The car looked stunning against the crisp frost and really added to the glamour of the wedding. Both companies where especially fab as they even took guests back up to Crow Hill while we were having photographs, much to our guests’ delight!

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (20)

Our photographers on the day were the amazing Tim Simpson Photography! We would hugely recommend these guys for their laid back, friendly and amazingly artistic style. They are just gorgeous lovely people who are so amazing at what they do! They are not invasive, they put you at instant ease, they mingle in with your guests capturing the true feel of the day and don’t waste time capturing boring structured traditional shots, instead putting their huge creative and artistic skills to perfect use and really getting those natural professional shots. We love Tim Simpson Photography and feel their connection and the team they have allows them to just cover absolutely everything that great wedding photography should.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (24)

My bouquet was designed to reflect the taupe shades of the Ian Stuart Flower Bomb bridal gown. The bouquet was a hand tied style made from masses of mink and taupe flowers including Quicksand, Sahara and Safi roses. The bouquet was accessorized with masses of pearls, crystals and diamantes to reflect the adornments on the bridal gown. Shards of tulle and birdcage veiling also featured throughout the design to reflect the skirt of the gown. The stem of the bouquet was finished with taupe material and finished with an amazing sparkling adornment. It was created and designed by Mat Hepplestone at Red Floral Architecture.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (23)

The styling in the marquee reception was also done by Mat at Red Floral Architecture and Rebecca at Crow Hill. The flower centrepieces were a mixture of designs including huge flower balls on ornate gold stands, huge blossom trees, beautiful boxed designs, tall cherub candle designs and a huge central piece which was suspended from the marquee chandelier and hung over the central table! Each design featured masses of roses in the chosen colours.

Each table was also adorned with hanging glass tea lights, hordes of flickering candles on a mixture of candle sticks and mercury glass holders, masses of flower petals and rose heads and each table had luxury linens draping in a mix of champagne and gold sequin cloths and designer bridal lace cloths. The chair covers matched these also with added satin fabric ties on some allowing us to achieve the mix of colours and textures that we really wanted. We also had huge light up letters saying ‘love’ and ‘dance’ provided by Typical Type. These added such drama and a wow factor to the marquee. We also had a light up monogram with our names projected onto the dance floor. Finally we had a tree for our table plan with hanging tags for our guests to find their tables and we had various ornate gold gilt frames around the reception encouraging people to Instagram/Facebook their wedding pictures using a hash tag unique to us.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (29)

We gave out favours to each of our day guests, these consisted of little mercury glass heart Christmas tree baubles. These were boxed in small lilac boxes and hand tied with a latte coloured ribbon and each finished with a pearl and diamanté embellishment, which were handmade and finished by Mitchell and myself.

We chose a six tier cake made and designed by Sarah Small at Choose Cake! Along with Sarah we designed and adapted the cake until it was perfect. It featured and ombré ruffle effect on the bottom tier, lace and brushed gold effects throughout the rest of the tiers including a monogrammed plaque with our initials. The final tier finished the cake off with cascading gold sequins and a large sugar paste flower arrangement to add to the overall theme of the wedding. The tiers included chocolate orange, white chocolate and red velvet flavours.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (45)
We had a reception welcome drink of hot winter Pimms for guests on arrival and a selection of gourmet canapés. Guests also had access to a hot chocolate bar with a winter lodge theme where they were served hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows and various other toppings in takeaway cups monogrammed with our initials and wedding date. We also had a winter candy bar where guests could choose from traditional Scottish tablet hearts. Ferrero Rochers and eggnog lolly pops! The menu was created and provided by Tracy Keppie at Crow Hill who is amazing! The food is to die for and is honestly the best I’ve tasted! She is incredible!

We added quite a few special touches on the day including providing glittering flip flops for guests’ ‘dancing feet’ and a basket of blankets for guests to keep warm outside! We also had a DIY photo booth with a huge array of props for guests to create their own photo memories. At the end of the night each guest was handed a mini bottle of Baileys and a golden box of wedding cake to enjoy as a midnight taxi snack.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (30)

We also had makeup stand in the main house of Crow Hill for guests to go get their makeup ‘touched up’ which was provided by the fabulous Flossy and Leigh. Guests could get their eye makeup intensified, try a new lipstick and even have false lashes applied for a small cost. We also had toiletries in the toilets for guests to use to freshen up including deodorant, hair spray, dry shampoo, chewing gum, hair clips etc.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (33)
We would 100% recommend our venue to others! Crow Hill is an amazing venue with fabulous staff. They know exactly what they are doing and manage the whole day with a professionalism. The venue is perfect for the ‘house party’ style wedding weekend which is what we wanted. It’s a total gem of a venue that will totally wow your guests! It’s perfect!

Our favourite part of the day was standing at the alter and just taking in the sheer beauty of what was happening, it was a moment we will never forget. We felt so relaxed and serene at this point with an indescribable peace upon the both of us, so beautiful and our most treasured part of the day.

A Glam Winter Wedding at Crow Hill (c) Tim Simpson Photography (44)
We went on our honeymoon on the Monday after the wedding to Vienna! I’m a complete Christmas lover and Vienna was so magical at that time of year! It was so romantic. We wrapped up in our warmest clothing and visited the amazing Christmas markets, sipping on sweet ameretto liquor punch, took a horse drawn carriage ride around the beautiful city, visited the glamorous hotel coffee houses and soaked up the festive atmosphere! We stayed in a suite at the famous Hotel Sacher and sampled the famous Sacher torte!

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be marry as early in the day as you can! People always say the day goes by too fast and so I decided I wanted to get married as early as I could to ensure I actually had a wedding day rather than a wedding ‘late afternoon’.

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‘rapped in love. a personal winter wedding at the chimney house – shelley & andy

June 30th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A PersonalWinter Wedding at The Chimney House (c) Shutter Go Click Photography (33)

There’s no doubt about it, this wedding is a true reflection of the bride and groom, featuring their passions, loves and memories.

After an unexpected proposal, Shelley and Andy searched Sheffield to find the perfect ceremony and reception venues for their relaxed and intimate big day.

We love their unconventional wedding approach which included Shelley buying her gorgeous wedding dress from eBay (for £40!) choosing an Eminem track for their service and heading to a local pub to carry on the celebrations after the reception. Because frankly, why the hell not!

The wedding day also included a very touching tribute to Shelley’s dad, who sadly died when she was just 14-years-old, demonstrating how couples can remember and celebrate those that have been loved and lost on their special day.

With images by Shutter Go…Click Photography.

A PersonalWinter Wedding at The Chimney House (c) Shutter Go Click Photography (9)

shelley says: We got engaged just after we’d bought our first home together. I was busy unpacking boxes in the kitchen, chatting away on the phone to my best friend, Siobhan, while Andy was out. I heard him come back in but took no real notice. About two minutes later I turned around, still on the phone to my mate, to see him bent down on one knee with the ring in one hand and a takeaway Costa in the other (he knew the way to my heart). I said to my friend “I’m going to have to call you back, because I think sh*t is about to get real!”

A PersonalWinter Wedding at The Chimney House (c) Shutter Go Click Photography (6)

We set the date for 20th December 2014, there was no real reason behind the date apart from that we both wanted a winter wedding.

We got married at the Rutland Hotel and had the reception at the Chimney House in Sheffield. We wanted a small intimate ceremony and reception and both venues were perfect for this. The Chimney House was absolutely amazing and was far better than we could have ever hoped for. We chose the Chimney House as it suited our style perfectly; graffiti on the walls, exposed brick work, skull candle – we’d move in there if we could!

A PersonalWinter Wedding at The Chimney House (c) Shutter Go Click Photography (12)

We didn’t have a theme, instead we just went with us and what we liked. We did have a colour scheme though; grey with silver. We chose it because we thought it fitted in with that winter vibe.

A PersonalWinter Wedding at The Chimney House (c) Shutter Go Click Photography (18)

I’m not a dress kind of girl and I’m much more comfortable in some jeans, flat shoes and a leather jacket! However I did buy a really beautiful lace mermaid style gown with a sweeping train from a website without trying any other dresses on! I did really like it but it just wasn’t me. So I ended up going on eBay a few weeks before the big day and getting a lace long sleeved vintage style dress instead – I think it cost about £40 quid!

I also wore a faux fur jacket, second hand from eBay, with Vivienne Westwood shoes. I wore my mum’s veil which she wore on her wedding day and my grandma’s 1950’s veil headpiece, which she wore on her wedding day too. I loved the whole outfit, it was much more me.

Andy wore a navy blue three piece suit with white shirt and silver tie.

A PersonalWinter Wedding at The Chimney House (c) Shutter Go Click Photography (20)

My mum, Anne, made all six bridesmaid dresses. They were vintage Vogue patterns. I was finding it difficult to decide on a dress that both the bridesmaids and I loved and then I found the pattern and my mum offered to make them for me. All the bridesmaids loved them. She did an amazing job, and the girls looked stunning.

A PersonalWinter Wedding at The Chimney House (c) Shutter Go Click Photography (22)

Ryan from Shutter Go Click was our photographer. We would both absolutely recommend Ryan to other couples. I was quite nervous about the whole photography thing (I don’t like having photos and just tend to instantly go awkward as soon as someone points a camera at me). This didn’t happen with Ryan, he made us both feel completely relaxed and at ease. All the wedding guests said how great he was and we loved having him part of our day. The photographs are absolutely amazing and are better than we could have ever imagined. We even joked the other day about renewing our vows, just so we could have Ryan photograph it.

A PersonalWinter Wedding at The Chimney House (c) Shutter Go Click Photography (24)

I chose to have a brooch bouquet which I bought from a seller on Etsy. I then added a few brooches which belonged to my nan and one which Andy’s grandma, Jean gave me. The bridesmaids also had smaller brooch bouquets made by my sister, Sarah.

The flowers and decorations we provided by the Chimney House. They asked if we’d like any particular flowers or theme but we just said to do what they wanted. I’m glad we did, it looked absolutely amazing!

Place names and cards were made also by my sister, Sarah (which also doubled up as favours). They were small toy dinosaurs spray painted silver with a little name card tied round their neck (both mine and Andy’s favourite film is Jurassic Park!) We also put chocolate dinosaurs in a little bag.

A PersonalWinter Wedding at The Chimney House (c) Shutter Go Click Photography (27)

My cousin Stephen did the honour of walking me down the aisle (to Stan by Eminem) as my dad died when I was 14. My sister, Sarah did the ‘father of the bride’ speech, so to speak, and what a speech it was! The event manager of the Chimney House said it was one of the best she’d ever heard. She’s even had a few offers since from our friends’ partners asking if they help write their own best man/groom speeches!

It was really important to me that I did something in memory of my dad so to honour him, I did a video tribute editing clips to the track When the Going Get’s Tough by Billy Ocean, from my childhood with him and the rest of my family and friends right up to the present day. There was some pretty embarrassing stuff on there (me at 15 rapping into the camera, thinking I was the next Eminem and running round the garden naked at five-years-old to name a few) but if he was there to make that speech it was have been 100 times more embarrassing!

People were laughing and crying at the same time! At the end of the video, I ended it with just a clip of me and my dad, walking hand in hand away from the camera which faded to blackness and the words ‘In Loving Memory of Stephen Bingham, Father of the Bride’ came on the screen. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house!

I know for some people they might find it upsetting to do a tribute like this for a close family member on their wedding day, but I’m so glad it, because even if for only five minutes, it felt like his was there with us in the room.

A PersonalWinter Wedding at The Chimney House (c) Shutter Go Click Photography (37)

For the wedding breakfast we went for the menu option which was titled, ‘The House Feast’ – and it was exactly that! All the guests loved the food. The menu included shin of local beef braised with Kelham Island ale served with horseradish dumplings and herbed chicken breast and boned chicken thighs with confit garlic poached with peas, spinach and baby carrots.

We left the wine choice up to my mum (both myself and Andy aren’t big wine drinkers) and we also ordered kegs of real ale and larger from the Kelham Island Brewery.

A PersonalWinter Wedding at The Chimney House (c) Shutter Go Click Photography (26)

The Chimney House isn’t the kind of venue to have a disco/wedding band so instead we opted to just play our favourite music while we ate.

After the Chimney House some of the wedding party went to The Hop pub in Sheffield where one of my friends, Lauren, had organised a special cornered off area with a private bar. There was a live band on and it was great just to sit and relax after a long day. Lots of our friends who couldn’t make it to the wedding (because of the small numbers) came and others kept popping in on their way to the next bar!

A PersonalWinter Wedding at The Chimney House (c) Shutter Go Click Photography (30)

To add a special touch to the day we asked all our family for photos of them on their wedding day and for some of their favourite family photos. We then had a slide show of them playing at the Chimney House on their projector. It really got everyone talking and laughing about old memories.

A PersonalWinter Wedding at The Chimney House (c) Shutter Go Click Photography (34)

We also did a ‘first look’ photo on the garden before the ceremony. Andy stood with his best man, Shane, with his back to me while I walked onto the garden followed by my bridesmaids. I’d seen the idea on the internet and thought we’d give it a try. The thought of walking into a room (even with only 40 people) gave me nightmares, so we thought if Andy and I saw each other first, it might calm my nerves a bit. I’m not sure how these things are really meant to go, but as soon as we saw each other, we just burst out laughing!

A PersonalWinter Wedding at The Chimney House (c) Shutter Go Click Photography (41)

We would certainly recommend the Chimney House to another couple like us who want an intimate and relaxed reception. From the first enquiry, they were so helpful and did everything they could to make our day perfect.

We both have so many amazing memories from that day. I can’t really remember any of the ceremony apart from trying really, really hard not to faint! I’d been so calm all day and as soon as I heard Dido start the verse of Stan…I lost it. I pretty much ran down the aisle clung on to my cousin’s arm. I can just remember trying really hard to stop my legs from shaking while trying equally as hard to concentrate on what the registrar was saying! If I’d have been asked what the best part of the wedding the following day I’d have said getting through the ceremony in one piece! But now after a few months, it’s a tough one. Different parts were so special in different ways. My sister’s speech, the video, but I think the best part was walking back down the aisle hand in hand with Andy and looking at him to see my husband.

A PersonalWinter Wedding at The Chimney House (c) Shutter Go Click Photography (29)

We were planning on a trip to the Maldives for the honeymoon but then Eminem (my childhood hero) announced a US tour four months before the wedding. Without even asking, Andy said, I guess we’re blowing the honeymoon budget on a trip to Detroit then to see Eminem. So we did! We also spent a couple of days over New Year in our favourite place, Berlin.

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to go with what you want and don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise. We did our thing and stuck by it (even though we did get a few rolled eyes/weird looks along the way). During the day just take a step back and watch everything that’s going on around you and enjoy it!

Also, don’t leave making your ceremony music playlist until an hour before the ceremony (Andy’s fault!).

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home for christmas. a twinkling winter wedding in the north west – kylie & graeme

June 3rd, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Christmas Wedding with Vintage Touches (c) Emma Hillier Photography (43)

Here at Brides Up North HQ, it’s just dawned on us that there’s only 6 months till Christmas!  Since we haven’t really seen a sniff of summer yet, that still feels like a pretty long time away to us, but if you’re planning a winter wedding, we bet time is just racing by.

Today’s real wedding couple followed up their festive engagement with a vintage Christmas themed wedding at a luxury Cheshire hotel, so we hope their lovely celebration leaves you feeling inspired and looking ahead!

Keeping things classic yet classy Kylie and Graeme ditched a traditional red or white winter wedding colour scheme in favour of an elegant navy and pink theme, complete with hints of sparkle. Subtle Christmas touches were then blended with pretty vintage décor for a stylish setting.

We love Kylie’s lace fishtail dress (that was clearly meant to be) as well as the bridesmaids’ elegant bespoke dresses and the guys looked very handsome in their fitted suits too!

With images by Emma Hillier Photography.

A Christmas Wedding with Vintage Touches (c) Emma Hillier Photography (1)

kylie says: I was studying my first degree in Liverpool and Gray (Graeme) use to visit all the time. We had been together three years when he proposed. It was Christmas Eve and I returned to find tea lights and rose petals everywhere. I opened my gifts and in the last present was a box with a diamond in it. Gray then got down on one knee and proposed. Looking back I am so glad there was no massive ‘out in public’ proposal, the way Gray proposed was so intimate and perfect. Just us.

We decided to tie the knot on 23rd December 2014. Gray is a massive Christmas fan! We both are actually, particularly because between 2010 and 2014 I studied my second degree and I was away from our home a lot, and Christmas was the only time we really got to spend quality time together.

A Christmas Wedding with Vintage Touches (c) Emma Hillier Photography (2)

Our wedding was not only a celebration of our love but it was a way of remembering all our lovely Christmas times together and celebrating that I was finally home for good.

We got married at the Grosvenor Pulford in Cheshire. We absolutely adore this venue. On our first visit the wedding co-ordinator was really attentive and nothing was too much trouble, even with all our ideas! The venue also looks so lovely at Christmas time, the in-house decorations are stunning. The venue is big enough to invite everyone you want but small enough so you don’t feel lost in the venue.  I loved that we were the only wedding that day too.

A Christmas Wedding with Vintage Touches (c) Emma Hillier Photography (4)

It was a vintage Christmas wedding. I wanted lots of subtle winter touches but without it feeling like your typical Christmas wedding. We also wanted a vintage feel, so we had birdcages decorating the venue and a vintage style wedding cake with lots of sparkle thrown in!

The colour scheme was navy and pink. The bridesmaids were in navy and there were subtle hints of pink dotted around. Navy looks fantastic during winter and I’m a sucker for pink!

A Christmas Wedding with Vintage Touches (c) Emma Hillier Photography (8)

My wedding dress was a lace fishtail dress – I adored it! I saw the dress on a wedding blog and I just loved it as soon as I saw it so I rang round lots of bridal shops in the area to see if they stocked this particular dress and none of them did. It looked like I was going to have to pay to have it shipped to a bridal shop to try it on, which I was reluctant to do in case I didn’t like it. Then a week later, one of the bridal shops I called had received the sample dress on error in my size, they were going to send it back that day to the designer so they said if I wanted to try it on I needed to come right away. I raced to the bridal shop and I was so glad I did, as soon as I tried it on I loved it!

Gray bought a suit from Reiss. He originally was going to wear a navy suit and grey tie like the groomsmen but we went into Reiss to get some suit inspiration and Gray took a liking to his suit straight away. So on the day Gray wore a grey suit and navy knitted tie and the groomsmen wore navy wool suits from Burton with grey ties from Topman.

I had the bridesmaid dresses designed and made by the fabulous fashion designer Klue by KellyAnn. I cannot tell you how much I love the bridesmaid dresses. I loved that each one was made to measure and my bridesmaids could tweak any aspect of the dress that they wanted to. Some of my bridesmaids had midi pencil dresses and one of my bridesmaids was able to a have a dress that she could spin around all day in at her hearts content!

A Christmas Wedding with Vintage Touches (c) Emma Hillier Photography (11)

Emma Hillier Photography was our chosen photographer. Emma is the most amazing photographer I have ever met. I may be biased but that’s not only because I have the most amazing wedding photographs but we have some amazing engagement shoot pictures and boudoir pictures too. Emma is such a lovely person, she puts me completely at ease and my wedding day would not have been the same if she wasn’t there. She was so calming on my wedding morning and my family loved her.

The first time I saw her pictures from another wedding Gray and I both knew she was going to be our wedding photographer. She captured the wedding day so perfectly and nothing was too much trouble for her or no idea was too wacky! We love you Emma!

A Christmas Wedding with Vintage Touches (c) Emma Hillier Photography (16)

Vivid Floral Design provided our flowers – this was a very important aspect to me. I explained to Mandy at Vivid Floral Design exactly what I wanted and she delivered my vision perfectly. I loved my bouquet with the added glitter and sparkle and the bridesmaids’ bouquets were exactly what I envisioned in my mind. I also picked the groom’s and groomsmen’s button holes and asked Mandy to add the twine to them last minute as a surprise to my future husband.  He loved it!

Vivid floral design also supplied our table arrangements which were fantastic with the roses and dangling tea lights. Our table plan was created by Deannamic Designs.

As favours we gave our guests ‘Grylie’ (a combination of Graeme and Kylie) strawberry jam which was made by both of us over a weekend. It was something fun for us both to do together and our guests loved it with many since asking for a second batch!

We chose a three tier sponge wedding cake. Each tier was a different flavour: Victoria sponge, lemon and coconut. We didn’t want royal icing on the outside and asked for buttercream instead. It was amazing!

A Christmas Wedding with Vintage Touches (c) Emma Hillier Photography (20)

We had Rock Revolution as our evening band and one of the members of the band also played the piano during the wedding breakfast. The band were amazing and everyone said how much fun they had dancing away to them. They even got me and my bridesmaids up to help with the backing vocals of one song!

Special moments on the day included my brother walking me down the aisle as my dad is no longer with us, which was a really emotional moment for us both. Two of the bridesmaids also did readings, which were really touching.  One was heartfelt and the other more humorous. It was nice to get a mixture of emotions during the ceremony and made the ceremony personal to us.

A Christmas Wedding with Vintage Touches (c) Emma Hillier Photography (25)

Other suppliers that we used on the day that we would recommend are Love Umbrellas who provided our umbrellas, The Glass Slipper Company where I got my shoes from, Crown and Glory which is where we got the bridesmaids’ hair pieces from and Nicola Joyce who did hair and makeup. Also, our invitations and stationary were done by Artwork by Angie. We had completely bespoke stationery made and the outcome was more than I expected. Angie is so amazing to work with!

A Christmas Wedding with Vintage Touches (c) Emma Hillier Photography (50)

My favourite parts of the day included getting ready with all my favourite girls. It was nice having that time with them. I also loved seeing Gray’s face as I walked down the aisle. It was just amazing having all our nearest and dearest under one roof and sharing the day with them.

Gray says the best part of the day for him was seeing me walking down the aisle, he says I looked absolutely stunning. Gray is usually quite a calm person, he didn’t get flustered about doing his speech or saying his vows in front of people but recalls the anticipation just before I arrived and the emotion he felt when he saw me… feelings he says he’s never felt before!

A Christmas Wedding with Vintage Touches (c) Emma Hillier Photography (44)

We went on a minimoon over New Year in Scotland. It was a secluded lodge with a hot tub called ‘the hideaway experience’ and was simply amazing. Each night we would be in the hot tub and we would chat and just admire the stars. We will be having a honeymoon this summer and plan to visit Halkidiki in Greece.

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be do what makes you happy, listen to advice from friends and family but ultimately do what you want to do. Also, pick your battles; don’t waste energy getting stressed on the lead up to the big day. You want to look back on the build-up in a positive way.

Finally, don’t worry about people not turning up to the evening; people might not be able to attend even if they had the best intentions to. The friends and family that are there will still make sure you have an amazing day!

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snow in love. ronald joyce for a radiant winter wedding at the maynard – rachel & gareth

May 20th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (48)

We may be supposed to be heading into high summer right now (although as I’m writing this there is hail beating on the window outside) but here at Brides Up North HQ just the very sight of a winter wedding makes us dream of mulled wine and mince pies, getting us excited about the chillier months to come.

If you’re in the middle of planning your Christmas wedding, Rachel and Gareth’s seasonal celebration has it all – stunning wreaths complete with red berries and mistletoe, warm comforting food and a classic red colour scheme.

So forget about the (lack of) sunshine – an easy ask for us northerners – wrap up warm and let’s head to the stunning Peak District to relive this gorgeous couple’s big day.

With images by Richmond Pictures.

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (13)

rachel says: We got engaged in London. We had given a voucher for a meal for two in the Apex Hotel at Tower Bridge as a Christmas present. We booked the meal for 8th February 2014 and decided to make a night of it by booking a room there too. Gareth proposed in the hotel room as we were getting ready to go down to dinner. It was a bit of a shock but I couldn’t have been happier!

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (22)

We got married on 13th December 2014. We both really wanted a winter wedding, there’s something romantic about that time of the year and the run up to Christmas. The crisp, frosty days and (hopefully) blue skies outside while we cosy up inside, perfect!

We got married at Fulwood Old Chapel in Sheffield. We picked this as we wanted to get married somewhere close to where I was brought up. The chapel is small and intimate so it was perfect for our numbers and we felt it would be nice to have our family and friends fill the whole place and really feel like a part of the ceremony.

Our reception was held at The Maynard in Grindleford, Derbyshire. We went to a wedding fair there and knew straight away it was the perfect venue for us. There are stunning views from the rooms looking out across the Peak District.

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (38)

As it was coming up to Christmas we played a little on that and had a snowflake theme. We had snowflake Christmas tree decorations as wedding favours, the cake was decorated with snowflakes and our stationery and table confetti was snowflake themed too.

We picked red and silver for our colours. Again because of the time of the year. The bridesmaids had red dresses which looked stunning and vibrant in the winter light.

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (41)

I chose a dress by Ronald Joyce from Brides by Losners in Stamford Hill, London. I picked this one because my mum and my bridesmaid cried when I put it on – so I was pretty sure this was the dress for me! It was the complete opposite of what I’d imagined for myself as it was quite fitted, but I loved it from the first time I tried it on.

On the wedding day my makeup was done by Lisa Kirby in Sheffield and my hair was styled by Kirstine Allott of Kutz in Dore, Sheffield, both of whom I would recommend.

Gareth hired a navy blue three piece lounge suit with red tie from Young’s suit hire. The groomsmen wore the same. The bridesmaids wore gowns from twobirds in claret.

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (42)

I travelled from my parents’ house with my dad in a vintage Jaguar while my bridesmaids travelled to the chapel in another vintage jaguar. These were provided by a family friend.

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (46)

Karina and Tom Lax of Richmond Pictures were our photographers. We would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a wedding photographer. They were so professional but also fun and friendly and made us feel totally at ease throughout the whole day. Karina and Tom really did their homework before our big day and found an amazing place for us to have some pictures taken after the ceremony; it was like something out of Wuthering Heights! We are absolutely over the moon with our photos, a perfect reminder of our special day for us to look back on.

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (47)

Our flowers were provided by Vikki Baxter at Jo Price Flowers in Sheffield. I had a bouquet of red roses, mistletoe, red berries and Christmas tree twigs.

Vikki also provided the flowers for the chapel and reception. We had a heart shaped wreath above the door at the Chapel and arrangements around the inside with the same flowers and foliage as the bridal bouquet and also cinnamon sticks, orange slices and nuts to make it really Christmassy. We also had Christmas wreath style table centre pieces around hurricane lamps, lots of tea lights and a twinkle curtain as a back drop behind the top table, which were provided by Weddings by Dragonfly.

My mum, my bridesmaid and I made snowflake Christmas tree decorations as wedding favours using snowflake wire form beads and ribbon. These also doubled as place names as we threaded name tags on the ribbon with our guests’ names on one side and our names and the date on the reverse.

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (55)

We chose a three tiered cake iced in white and decorated with snowflakes. Each layer was different flavour – vanilla sponge, chocolate sponge and a fruit cake. The fruit cake was made by my mum and the rest by a family friend.

For our wedding menu we picked winter warming food – chicken with bubble and squeak and a sticky toffee pudding dessert. We had champagne for our toasts so we could celebrate in style!

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (60)

We really wanted our guests to have a great time and leave thinking ‘wow’ so we hired a magician for the drinks reception and a photo booth for the evening reception, provided by Rhythm of Your Choice.  My parents also booked some singing waiters who performed during the meal. This was a complete to surprise to the both of us and also to all our guests. One of the waitresses dropped a whole tray of cutlery which got everyone’s attention, and then started singing ‘Let it go’ from Frozen as she got up from the floor! It was such a shock but soon everyone was joining in, dancing and waving napkins in the air!  We had a band in the evening called Banzai and a DJ provided by Rhythm of Your Choice.

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (66)

We would recommend both the chapel and The Maynard to other couples. Janet and Peter at the chapel were so friendly and helpful from the minute we booked our ceremony with them.  It’s perfect for smaller weddings. I would recommend The Maynard for its setting. There are so many beautiful places for photos and stunning views from the venue. The food, drink and service on the day were all excellent.

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (68)

The ceremony itself was our favourite part of the day. Having all our family and friends in one place at the same time who were all there to support us and celebrate with us was so touching.

A classic Christmas wedding at The Maynard (c) Richmond Pictures (75)

We went to Kuramathi Island Resort in the Maldives for our two week honeymoon. We had a month between our wedding and honeymoon so we could enjoy Christmas at home with our families. The resort was fantastic and just what we wanted. White sandy beaches, beautiful blue seas, excellent food and drink, and stunning sea life on the house reef where we went snorkelling every day.

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – try to relax and enjoy the day! Look around and see all your friends and family who are there for you.

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