December 18th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
Baby it’s cold outside, but we have a stunning real wedding that’s guaranteed to warm up your Monday morning.
Featuring an abundance of blooms – from striking bouquets and centrepieces, to blossom trees, a floral wall and iced flowers on the cake – Jeff and Zarah’s big day was nothing short of beautiful.
The stunning Hillbark Hotel in the Wirral provided the perfect setting for their elegant big day, with the ceremony taking place in the spectacular Grand Hall and the reception in the venue’s large star-lit marquee.
Drawing on her experiences as a guest at the weddings of friends and family, Zarah picked out her favourite features and mixed in a few of her big day wishes too, resulting in an entertaining and enjoyable day for all.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, James Tracey Photography.
zarah says: We got engaged in Cuba on the 22nd May 2016. Jeff organised a lovely meal. We got picked up from our hotel in a 1957 Chevrolet car, which was amazing. When we got back to the hotel after our meal, Jeff insisted he wanted to walk on the beach and smoke a cigar – as you do in Cuba! I was a bit hesitant at first as a few drops of rain appeared. None the less we walked down to the beach and Jeff smoked his cigar. After a short stroll down the beach, I wanted to go back into the hotel as few more drops of rain appeared. As we walked back along the beach Jeff said, “wait I have something to ask you”. He then went down on his knee, as he proposed lightening appeared in the background and he asked for my hand in marriage. I was quite shocked and said “ok”, feeling the happiest lady in the world. Jeff then chuckled and told me when he asked my dad, he said the same thing!
We got married on Friday 25th August 2017. We choose that date as it was the bank holiday weekend and we thought it would be a nice long weekend for our friends and family.
We got married in the Wirral at a hotel called Hillbark Hotel and Spa. We choose this venue as it is a beautiful Tudor style hotel and had an amazing great hall where we could get married. There are only 16 rooms at the hotel which meant we had the whole place to ourselves on our wedding day. The details at the hotel are amazing and it has lovely features, such as a large chandelier, fire place and hidden rooms. We also heard good reviews about how amazing their food is. It was also the perfect place where we could get married in the Great Hall and have our wedding breakfast meal in the star lit marquee.
We didn’t really have a theme or style, but I wanted it to be stylish yet classy with a bit of everything. I have been to a lot of weddings and over the years and I have liked parts of different friends and family weddings and I wanted to incorporate this into my own wedding. Things like the blossom trees, larger flower centre pieces and flower background wall.
I chose lemon, white and dashes of hot pink for the colour scheme as lemon and pink are my favourite colours – I like bright and exotic colours having a Mauritian background.
Dress-wise, I wanted a princess style design, which incorporated lace – I also wanted it to be off the shoulder with short sleeves. I went to a few bridal stores until I found the dress at Ava Rose Hamilton in Colne. They had a selection of amazing and beautiful dresses. They didn’t quite have the dress I had in mind but then they showed me a beautiful lace top which I could add onto of my dress, which just finished my dress off perfectly, along with a long cathedral veil with small diamantes. The service at Ava Rose Hamilton was amazing and I would definitely recommend anyone to go to this shop, if they are looking for a stylish wedding dress.
Jeff wore a bespoke suit from Signature Bespoke in Liverpool. He chose a navy-blue tuxedo style suit with a large velvet bow tie and velvet lapels on his suit jacket.
June 29th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely. Usual service will recommence on Monday 4th July 2016 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year.
Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your real wedding was one of our top picks.
Today’s real wedding is pretty and sweet and features lots of pops of our favourite colour, pink! It’s no wonder then that we loved it as soon as we set eyes on it!
Having dreamt of her big day since being read fairytales as a little girl, bride Laura decided on a ‘once upon on time’ romantic theme for her big day, complete with loved-up pink colour scheme. We adore all the bright and charming elements that make the wedding stand off the page; from the stunning outdoor garden setting to the bridesmaids’ pastel dresses and the dreamy blooms. A fine fairytale indeed!
With images by Emma Hillier Photography.
laura says: We got engaged in March 2014, Richard had organised a surprise trip for my birthday to the Lake District. It was raining that day so we took cover in the hotel that Richard had booked my favourite afternoon tea at. Once the rain slowly started to go off he suggested we take a walk around the hotel’s beautiful grounds. As we were walking all of a sudden the sun came out and he got down on one knee in the wet grass and asked me to marry him! I was completely overjoyed and through some very happy tears, I said yes!
We were keen to get married as quickly as we could but realised that we needed time to plan and save so we decided we would get married the following year. We wanted a Saturday wedding in one of the summer months, we checked dates with our venue and the registrar and we were able to book our wedding on Saturday 22nd August 2015.
Richard didn’t really want to get married in a church and although we have been to many beautiful weddings in hotels it didn’t really fit in with what we wanted. I’d heard Ness Gardens in The Wirral, held weddings outside so a week after we got engaged we went to see the venue. We both instantly fell in love with it – it was everything I could have ever dreamed of and more. The gardens are so beautiful and getting married outside felt really magical. We never went to look at any other venues as we just knew this was where we were supposed to get married.
Ever since I was a little girl and my mum read me stories of fairytales, this is what I’d dreamed my wedding would be, my very own fairytale with my own happily ever after. So I chose a romantic theme for mine and Richard’s big day. For my table names I chose my favourite romance films and then from each film I used a quote about love. I also had signs made with love quotes on and hired some amazing light up love letters from Rock That Letter.
I used Pinterest a lot for inspiration and a pink colour scheme just stood out for me – it’s one of my favourite colours and added to my romantic theme. Once the room was dressed it looked even more beautiful than I had imagined.
October 12th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Several elements of today’s real wedding instantly stood out to me when first viewing Hollie and Martin’s wedding photos.
Firstly, the venue. It’s certainly got the wow factor and makes it easy to understand why Hollie and Martin didn’t continue their venue search beyond this impressive building! Second – the elegant colour scheme. Hollie almost went for just peach and cream but then decided to throw blue (her favourite colour) into the mix and the soft, powdery hue works perfectly. Third – the smiles on everyone’s faces. This was clearly an enjoyable wedding and featured lots of entertainment to keep guests happy. Finally, the cake. I can’t believe this was created just the night before the wedding – move over Mary Berry, I think there’s a new star baker in town!
With images by Jess Yarwood Photography.
hollie says: We got engaged in Liverpool on the Big Wheel at the Albert Dock. We were enjoying the view looking out the windows and on the third time around. Once the wheel stopped at the top I turned around and Martin was down on one knee with a lovely engagement ring.
We set the date for 9th July 2015. Our chosen venue was Thornton Manor in Thornton Hough, Wirral. It was the one and only venue we viewed and as soon as we were inside we were overwhelmed and knew this was the place we wanted.
We had a shabby chic, vintage style theme with a few other details, like our table names that followed a Beatles theme.
Our colour scheme was cream, peach and powder blue. I really liked the colours and how they looked together. I was set on the peach and cream but also torn as blue is my favourite colour, so decided to incorporate that too.
Martin wore a traditional suit with tails in a charcoal grey and champagne tie and pocket square. The groomsmen wore the same suit but with a powder blue tie and pocket square.
Our photographer was Jess Yarwood. I would definitely recommend her, our photographs are perfect and we just loved her style and the way she edits her photographs.
For the wedding flowers we had peonies, cream and blue hydrangeas, cream roses and freesia. Claire from Frodsham Flowers did an amazing job with all the flowers.
To decorate we had candelabras with floral arrangements. There were also willow branches in tall vases with hanging glass baubles with orchids and peonies inside and square glass vases with flowers in, which were placed on mirrors. To finish, the tables were scattered with pearls and crystals. My mum has her own wedding styling and decoration business, Angels Weddings & Events, and so she designed and did everything.
As favours we gave Baileys to the women and Courvoisier to the men, with chocolates and sweets for children.
Our wedding cake was tall six tier design with cream icing. Our cake maker let us down the night before the wedding so my mum had to make our cake for us the night before and the florist decorated it with fresh flowers.
Barretts Caterers provided the catering – they were brilliant their food is just amazing. They also helped run the day and ensured it went smoothly so we got a lot more for our money with their brilliant service.
Drinks wise we had Gallo rose, various red and white wine, prosecco and bottles of beer. Gallo is my favourite rose wine and we really enjoy prosecco. Beer was a good option for the men too.
As an extra treat for guests, we had Isabelle’s Ices, an old fashioned ice cream cart and bicycle, which went down a storm and entertained the children for five minutes.
Further entertainment on the day included a string quartet, which is something we really wanted. Hearing them play as we walked down the aisle and once we were married was just amazing. We also had a solo singer James Michael, who was on the Xfactor a few years ago, to perform and he was brilliant. To mingle amongst our guests, we had a caricaturist and Marshall Magic, the most amazing magician! Matt Tolley of Cheshire Wedding DJs provided the evening disco.
We would definitely recommend Thornton Manor to other brides and grooms. It is the most beautiful venue with so much land and beautiful views. It has so much character and the staff were so friendly and helpful.
We can’t choose a favourite part of the day as we enjoyed every moment, but seeing each other for the first time when I walked down the aisle with my dad was a really lovely moment and once we were married we were so relaxed and could enjoy the day without the nerves.
Due to work commitments we have yet to go on honeymoon but we are planning to go to Italy next year.
My top tip to other Brides Up North is to stay calm and don’t worry on the day. So much effort, time, money and stress goes into it on the lead up to the big day that you should just enjoy every moment. Even if the smallest thing goes wrong, let it go, as it will be the most perfect day to you both regardless.
May 20th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Is there anywhere more romantic to pop the question than Paris? Ok, so I’m a little biased, as that’s where my other half got down on one knee, but another proposal in the French city of love is how today’s story begins.
After a dream engagement Emma and John bagged their dream venue Thornton Manor, for their big day and got the preparations underway.
They agreed they wanted the wedding to have a classic feel to suit the venue and we think you’ll agree that everything from Emma’s lace dress, to the maids’ pastel blue gowns and simple blooms say elegance.
Looking at the wedding snaps it’s easy to see why Emma and John had their hearts set on this venue – the reception room is nothing short of incredible!
With images by Matt Parry Photography.
emma says: We got engaged outside Montmartre cathedral in Paris at midnight on the 28th December 2012. John had planned to propose on New Year’s Eve but had the urge to do it on the first day we got to Paris. We had dinner in our favourite restaurant in Montmartre then John took me up the hill to ‘see the laser show on the Eiffel tower at midnight’.
We wanted a summer wedding, we knew you couldn’t guarantee good weather in England but thought we’d have the best chance in the summer months. The 28th August 2014 was available at our dream venue so we booked it. We married one month after my 26th birthday and the weather was stunning.
We got married at Thornton Manor on the Wirral. We had looked at the venue on the internet but dismissed it as we felt we couldn’t afford it. On a Sunday we were going to a wedding fair but it was awful so we googled if there were any other fairs in the area and there was one at Thornton Manor. When we got there we were welcomed by the owner, Phillip, and we were blown away and instantly knew we would do everything we could to get married there.
We wanted an authentic, classic feel for the wedding and knew we wanted elegance to match the house. We had top hats and 1950’s style bridesmaid dresses.
The main colour was pastel blue. It is my favourite colour and we felt it was perfect for a summer wedding. Our bridesmaids, groomsmen and page boy wore pastel blue. The stationery was ivory and pastel blue.
I chose an ivory David Tutera for Mon Cheri dress. It was a sleeveless soft lace mermaid gown with lace straps with a scoop neckline. The dress had embroidered Swarovski crystals with a spun gold waist.
John wore a charcoal morning suit and grey top hat. His outfit and the groomsmen’s outfits were from Slaters in Liverpool.
The bridesmaids wore a 1950’s pastel blue style dress from Dorothy Rose Bridal in Ellesmere Port. Everybody was blown away by the dresses and the fit was beautiful.
For our wedding transport we had a vintage Bentley in cream and black. It was hired from a company local to the venue.
Matt Parry was our photographer, without a doubt we would recommend him to anybody. Matt made us so comfortable before the day with meetings via Skype to talk about ‘essential’ photos and talk to us about his style etc. On the day John met Matt at the venue a little earlier than expected, Matt was having a look at the venue to get some ideas for his shots. Matt then came and spent a lot of time with me and the girls getting ready before going back to the venue to get those ‘nervy’ shots of John.
Throughout the day Matt wasn’t in anybody’s way, John said he didn’t notice him at all during the speeches but when you see the photographs you wonder how! He was a great friend on the day and we were absolutely overwhelmed when we got our beautiful presentation box through the post with all our gorgeous shots.
My bouquet was made up of ivory roses with Chinese grass loops, arranged by Amore Flowers in Widnes. The bridesmaids had ivory and pastel blue roses.
Amore also did our reception flowers, we would highly recommend them. We gave Joe the florist free reign to do as he pleased within our theme and he did a beautiful job!
We gave out jams and chutneys as favours, which were made by a company called Posh Pickles based in Knutsford. With customized labels and ribbons to match our theme, Rob and Steph did a great job and their Jams and Chutneys are amazing!
We had a four tier lace cake with roses and rose petals in the theme of pastel blue and ivory – the layers were lemon and carrot cake. A friend of mine, Coleen, did the cake – she was great!
The venue had a caterer list that we had to choosefrom to provide our wedding breakfast – we chose Anne Wilson Corden Bleu. We had a pate starter, pork trio main and a trio of deserts – it was so nice!
For entertainment we had a DJ in the evening and gave him an extensive playlist – basically every song for the evening! In our RSVP’s we asked our guests to give us a song that would get them on the dance floor.
We also booked a string quartet to play before/after the ceremony and during canapés after the ceremony. They played as I walked down the aisle and also the music John and I walked out of the room to – they were absolutely brilliant and so many people commented on them.
We would definitely recommend our wedding venue to others purely because it’s magical. There is something about the music room that leaves you feeling calm and humble. The Manor House ball room is breath taking and given rain or shine any bride and groom will have the best time of their lives celebrating there.
One of our favourite parts of the day was when our photographer Matt took us off into an old green house to take some unusual shots of us. We loved this part of the day as we were able to spend time together and it was really fun trying not to smile or laugh at the camera. The pictures turned out to be amazing, just what we expected from Matt.
For our honeymoon we decided to go stay on the Palm in Dubai, the hotel was on the beach which was total paradise. We loved our stay and will definitely be returning in the future.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to remember the reasons why you are getting married. I think some brides/grooms can get carried away with making sure absolutely everything is perfect but just remember that you can’t please everyone no matter how much you will try. Remember your wedding day is your day and at the end of it all you’ll always have your best friend beside you so there’s nothing to worry about.
Also try not to spill red wine on your dress!
December 29th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Merry Christmas! Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break for the festive season, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely.
Usual service will recommence on Monday 5th January 2015 (with some big news!) but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year. Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks for 2014.
I’m firmly of the opinion that your wedding day should be the very best party that you’ve ever been to.
It looks like Jessica and Craig took the same view when they said ‘I do’ at the gorgeous Thornton Manor on The Wirral earlier this year. Gorgeous outfits, good food, vibrant flowers and plenty of fun and games left their guests in the mood for a very beautiful all night party.
With images by ER Photography.
jessica says: We got engaged in Rome, Italy. After a romantic candlelit dinner we caught a taxi to the Trevi Fountain. We found a quiet spot to the side in an alcove and he got to one knee. This was after a day walking around the Vatican.
We were married on 23rd May 2014 at Thornton Manor – the beautiful setting & extensive grounds coupled with the exquisite manor house made it an easy decision. It’s spectacular venue with so much history.
We chose careful colour palettes throughout the day using white and cream for purity and innocence during the Ceremony, and then the Wedding Breakfast & my bouquet were extremely colourful to reflect our personalities!
I chose a plain but elegant champagne/oyster dress with a long cathedral veil from Blush Bridal.
Flower Design created the most beautiful of bouquets, button holes and displays throughout the venue, using orchids and other vibrant flowers. Flower Design worked with my ideas really well and produced the most splendid arrangements.
ER Photography were our photographers. They were fantastic – beautiful pictures, lots of coordination on the day and part of the party!
Chapman Holmes were our caters and were fantastic! Craig’s favourite food is steak, so decided that we really wanted the menu to reflect what we love to eat. We decided on Goats Cheese with Pesto Credot, Roast Sirloin of Steak with Dauphenois Potatoes and our cake as dessert.
Our pretty wedding cake was by The Frostery in Uppermill. It was Lemon Drizzle and we served it as our dessert with Raspberry Coulis. We had a cheesecake for the evening so the evening guests could enjoy an alternative wedding cake.
We had David Buckingham, a guitarist from the ceremony through to the end of the meal. My father has always played the guitar and when we came across him at a wedding fair he was playing the very piece that my father used to play to me as a child.
Soul Apostle were the band providing lots of fun and great music. Tom was our DJ and listened to our tastes and played us the best music which meant I danced all night!
We had a photobooth which people stuck into a book and left us their best wishes and messages.
We hired the lakeside marquee for the evening reception so we could have a big party and part of the marquee is a nightclub so we could create the party atmosphere. My favourite part of the day was dancing all night!
We took a week’s mini moon in Barbados but plan to go to South America in September for 3.5 weeks.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to make sure you take time out on the day to spend together and have a moment of reflection.
May 12th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I’m putting this feature together in my PJs (oh the glamour!) on Sunday night after a great weekend in Cheshire hosting our – absolutely gorgeous – luxury and vintage wedding exhibition for the first time at Hilltop Country House. Rain couldn’t stop play (and I woke rather worryingly to the torrential type on Sunday morning) on what was a properly lovely day of fabulous people, superb talents and beautiful brides in an especially stunning setting. So up my street!
There’s been so many lovely comments on Twitter and Facebook from our visiting brides and exhibitors and it’s lovely to put my feet up and reflect on a job well done. Today, and the whole season so far in fact, has been epic. Thank you all for your kind words and feedback.
I’m feeling a little sad as our spring season is now drawing to a close – to be back with a bang in September! – but we’ll be closing the season in style with not one but two supremely pretty events to finish off with next Sunday 18th May. For the first time ever, we’re splitting the team and doubling up with two amazing bridal exhibitions in one day… I think the phrase Super Sunday might actually have been invented for this… read all about what’s in store for you at The Alnwick Garden here or Middleton Lodge here.
Bring. It. On.
Anyway, I’m here in the office after hours, getting ahead so I can take a day off with my baby girl tomorrow, and recharge for a week of loveliness here online too. Things just keep getting prettier and prettier around these parts, and our brand new look isn’t far off either… #getsetsparkle.
This afternoon though, we’re in the Wirral for the fun and fabulous Real Wedding of Brides Up North reader Rachel and her new husband Alex. This is a day packed with colour, love and laughter. My very favourite type.
With images by Martisan Photography.
Rachel says: We got engaged in the Palais De La Mediterrannee hotel in Nice on May 16th 2012. Alex surprised me for my birthday.
We were married on Friday 16th August 2013 at St Mary’s Church in Woolton, Liverpool and then had the reception in the Lakeside Marquee at Thornton Manor, Wirral. It is a beautiful, private location set on a lake where we knew our guests would be able to relax and just enjoy themselves. We wanted our reception to be in one big open area so that everyone would mingle and have fun together.
Our colour scheme was different shades of pink and orange. It was a real summer wedding.
I had a rose and orchid bouquet. My Nana and Mum’s favourite flower is the orchid and mine is the rose. I wanted my bouquet to have a little of each of the three of us in it.
Our photographer was Martisan Photography and he was fantastic!
We had a swing band called Dominic Halpin and the HoneyB’s. They never fail to get the party started! They are amazing!
Our invitations and table décor were by Hattie Boo Designs which is run by a super talented lady, Emma Bryan.
As a special touch, we had photographs of our four sets of grandparents and both sets of parents on their wedding day to remember their weddings and successful marriages. They have all fulfilled their vows.
We wanted the wedding to mirror us as a couple. It was very romantic and classic. On our first Valentine’s Day Alex bought me a book called ‘Love Monkey’ by Edward Monkton. We named our top table after that, with a quote from the book that represented us. The rest of the tables were named after a famous writer or scholar with a famous quote they had once said about love.
We used Terry Tangs in Liverpool for our wedding cake. It was a four tier cake with a different flavour for each tier.
I loved every second but I think my favourite part of the day has to be our first dance. I wasn’t looking forward to it as I was nervous but it was something I will never forget nor experience again. In our wedding venue the dance floor and ‘party room’ was hidden behind a curtain and so the guests had no idea. When the curtain was raised and we were behind it you could see how surprised and excited everybody was for us.
For our honeymoon we went to Australia for just over three weeks. We started in Melbourne and then went to Sydney. We then drove to Byron Bay and Brisbane and spent the last week on Hamilton Island in the Whitsunday Islands.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to enjoy it! Enjoy every second from the planning, to the build-up, to the day itself! It is easy to get stressed about trivial things when you are planning a wedding and worrying that something will not go to plan. If you really are marrying the love of your life you will have the best day ever and it will be perfect no matter what.
Congratulations Rachel & Alex!
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