June 30th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
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.
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!”
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!).
June 3rd, 2015 | Rachel Parry
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
artwork by angie, burton, cheshire wedding, christmas wedding, crown and glory, deannamic designs, emma hillier photography, grosvenor pulford, klu by kelly ann, love umbrellas, nicola joyce, real wedding, reiss, rock revolution, the glass slipper company, topman, uk wedding blog, vivid floral design, winter wedding
May 20th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
brides by losners, christmas wedding, derbyshire wedding, fulwood old chapel, jo price flowers, kuramathi island resort, kutz, red wedding, rhythm of your choice, richmond pictures, ronald joyce, sheffield wedding, the maynard, twobirds bridesmaid, weddings by dragonfly, winter wedding, youngs suit hire
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.
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