July 19th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Adwoa and Jonny’s elegant town wedding combined a traditional British feel with Ghanaian touches to reflect the bride’s proud heritage. The result? A completely unique celebration. This couple were married in spring in the beautiful city of York and if you can show me a dreamier combination of location and time of year I will happily eat my fascinator.
Bethany Lloyd-Clarke captured the love with her typical flair and these photographs totally warrant all the gushing. We just adore the honest beauty of her images – the bride joyfully tangled in her veil, the groom’s last-minute hair check courtesy of his best man and especially the look of utter glee on Adwoa’s face in the back of their wedding car. You simply can’t fake that magic!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Bethany Lloyd-Clarke.
adwoa says: Jonny proposed before Christmas 2015 in Dean’s Park, just behind York Minster. We’d recently moved to York and Jonny said he wanted to go for a festive walk around town when, much to my surprise, he got down on one knee and popped the question. It was a wonderful surprise and although it was raining at the time, neither of us seemed to notice!
We were lucky enough to go back to the site of the proposal when we had our engagement photoshoot with the talented Bethany Lloyd-Clarke. She captured some beautiful pictures of us – this time in the spring sunshine.
We got married on the 29th April 2017. We both loved the idea of a spring wedding, and chose the Bank Holiday weekend to give our loved ones time to enjoy York after the wedding if they wanted to.
We had our ceremony at our parish church, the beautiful and ancient Holy Trinity on Micklegate, which predates the Domesday Book. For our reception, we really wanted to make the most of the spring wedding, so booked the 14th century Hospitium in Museum Gardens in York. It’s an absolutely gorgeous setting by the river within botanical gardens. We were a little worried that it might rain on the day and our guests wouldn’t get to enjoy the lovely surroundings, but we were very lucky with the weather.
We didn’t have a special theme as such, but we did want to combine my Ghanaian heritage with a traditional British wedding. Our favours were pocket squares made from Ghanaian wax print cloth with motifs symbolising the beauty of marriage. They were handmade by Jonny, who tried out a sewing machine for the first time! We also wore traditional Ghanaian outfits for the evening. Other than that, the colour scheme was classic: champagne and ivory with gold highlights.
May 29th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
If, like me, you’ve got a sweet tooth, this real wedding is going to have you reaching for the ‘treat tin’ as its peppered with delicious treats in a nod to the Easter season.
From Lindt bunny favours and an epic chocolatey wedding cake to a full-scale egg hunt, bride and groom Christine and Christopher certainly spoilt their guests.
And there are more delectable details to feast your eyes on too – cue a beautifully embellished wedding gown, pretty mint colour scheme and pet dog Sybil acting as flower girl. We love!
With images by Stevie Jay Photography
christine says: We got engaged on 27th March 2016, Easter Sunday. Chris hid an engagement ring inside a chocolate Easter egg and hid it in the woods in Sutton Park in Sutton-on-the-Forest, near York, where we live. We took Sybil our dog out for a walk and Chris asked me to find an egg, he then got down on one knee and proposed. Chocolate and a ring, what more could a woman want!?
We got married on 15th April 2017. We chose the date because it was Easter Saturday and a year from when we got engaged. We both love chocolate so had to choose Easter.
Our chosen venue was Grays Court Hotel in York, where we had both our ceremony and reception. We saw the venue every time we walked along the York city walls and fell in love with it.
Our theme was Easter related and we had an Easter egg hunt for the children (and adults!) and lots of chocolate eggs for guests to help themselves to.
We chose a soft mint colour scheme for bridesmaid dresses, ties and a few other bits just because it was a nice spring colour.
I chose a Morilee by Madeleine Gardner dress in ivory lace with an embellished back. I bought the dress from the Northallerton Outlet wedding shop and had it expertly altered by Thimbelina in York. I fell in love with dress after seeing it on another bride and had to wait with fingers crossed that she would choose another dress so I could have it!
Mine and my bridesmaids’ hair was styled by Escape Hair in Strensall. I’d would recommend them for bridal hair, we got so many compliments on how lovely our hair looked.
May 15th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
Today’s real wedding is all about the beautiful summer florals and gorgeous detailing – think kitsch bunting, homemade chutneys and cupcakes, plus lots of twinkling lights.
Set in one of our favourite northern cities, York, the couple’s special day perfectly captures the beauty of an urban wedding, with park benches, stairwells and bustling streets all featuring in their stunning wedding album.
After exchanging vows against the magnificent backdrop of their local church, Roz and Rob then celebrated with family and friends at the National Centre for Early Music. Going for something of a creative DIY approach (would we expect anything less from an art teacher?) the bride was very hands-on in the lead up to the wedding and a few of the guests even baked some scrumptious treats to tuck in to on the day.
With images by Alwin Greyson Photography
roz says: After asking my parents for permission, Rob decided to pop the question at one of my favourite places near my home town of Sheffield, on 26th May 2014. We decided to go for a walk to Stanage and once we arrived at Robin Hood’s cave Rob presented me with a gift, which was a photo album filled with pictures from our past two years together. Whilst I was looking through the last page, he got down on one knee and popped the question. I said yes and as we embraced we heard someone clapping, we looked up to see a rock climber cheering us on – we thought we were alone, but what a spontaneous surprise!
We tied the knot on 25th July 2015. As a teacher, I wanted to get married during the holidays – this gave me a week after school finished to get things sorted, as it was very much a DIY wedding!
We got married at St Michael Le Belfrey Church in York. This is the church where we met and both attended.
February 8th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
While there are numerous stunning wedding dress designs hanging on the rails of boutiques, for some brides nothing completes the dream wedding picture like having a couture gown specially made for their big day.
Brides Up North Sponsor and dress-maker extraordinaire Antonia Aitken of Blossom and Belle, is fully versed in the art of creating beautiful bespoke wedding gowns, from the structure and cut to the fabric and finish. As such, we’re putting the blog in her skilful hands this afternoon so she can tell us exactly what couture is, and how she goes about creating it through her one-off, timeless wedding gown designs.
She also has news of a fabulous Blossom and Belle charity tea party event taking place in York on Sunday 26th February, which will feature workshops, high-end suppliers and delicious treats, so be sure to read to the end of the post for full details.
With images by All You Need Is Love Photography
How would you define a couture wedding gown?
antonia says: Couture is not ‘dressmaking or copying a design’ – rather it is the creation of a luxury item which starts from design through to pattern cutting, toiles and fittings and the final amazing result.
Couture is not off the peg. It is a unique creation that no one else will have. It is a process that takes time, not something that can be made in an instant. Specialised elements, from hand stitched hems and embellishments, to steel boned bodices and button and loop detailing, are the epitome of a couture gown. It is timeless piece that will look just as wonderful in years to come as it does on the day of the wedding.
What skills must you have as a dress maker to craft such creations?
As the design director at Blossom and Belle I pride myself in my skill to create a one-off bespoke gown or outfit.
It’s having the ability to see a client for the first time and knowing exactly what she will suit. It is the art of how fabric will work and fall on the form. Knowing about colours, textures and the cut and line of a design. How to emphasise the best features of a client and disguise those that they are less keen on.
I do not work from someone else’s pattern, I make my own, which is a meticulous process requiring great skill and an art form in itself.
What do brides enjoy about having a couture gown for their big day?
For my clients, it’s the knowledge that they are wearing something truly unique and luxurious and in their own size – not mass produced and not off the peg – something made especially for them.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the process a bride can expect to follow if she decides to have a couture Blossom and Belle gown made?
The whole process of having your own gown created is really quite lovely. After your first free consultation, where we go over ideas and look through fabrics and any trimmings or embellishment ideas, I will design a range of gowns for you to choose from and take your measurements. I also say at this point that the bride should get their underwear as this is vital to the fit of the gown. A toile is then made in calico, which is a mock-up of the wedding dress and where tweaks and design decisions are made. Having a couture gown made just for you is a very private affair and no one else, unless you want to, will see your gown being created.
There should be no more than five fittings, although some brides like to have more as they love to see everything taking shape and enjoy the process so much.
Finally, for the full experience, I’m available to dress the bride on the day of the wedding to make sure everything is perfect.
What would you say to brides who are worried that having a couture dress made will be expensive and time consuming?
A couture gown is unique and made just for you, which is why it can cost more than an off the peg gown. Only the finest of fabrics are used, meticulous hand beading and hand stitching are all involved in the process of having a couture gown made. It can take several months just to make one gown, which is why fittings are spread over time to suit the bride and to allow for any tweaks to be made.
We never ask for the full price of the gown to be paid upfront, rather it is paid by instalments, which takes the pressure off. I do say that you never lose money on a couture gown as it becomes an heirloom passed down through the family.
What is the feedback like from brides who have had a Blossom and Belle Couture dress made?
I always receive wonderful feedback from brides, and have even been invited to the wedding. Over the time of the dress being made we get to know each other very well.
I have had one bride recently send me a photograph of her 17-year-old daughter wearing her gown that was made by me 20 years ago and it still looks wonderful and timeless. I also had one bride love the style of her vintage inspired gown so much, she had another two made in different colours!
October 31st, 2016 | Alexis Forsyth
Today on the blog we bring you Hannah and Michael’s special day, at the beautiful five-star Grand Hotel and Spa, in York. The historic city was already close to the couple’s hearts and they were totally won over by the Edwardian venue’s truly romantic backdrop.
Opting for a gorgeous gold, bronze and blush pink colour scheme complemented by an abundance of candles, petals and even pom poms – this is a wedding exuding understated glamour and charm.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Richard Perry Photography.
hannah says: We got engaged at home, in our living room, on 13th April. Everything was pretty hectic as we were planning a move to the Middle East with Michael’s job. It was just perfect, I was sat playing with our little boy, Archie, and Michael literally gave me the shock of my life as he appeared with a box and got down on one knee to propose. I couldn’t believe it!
We got married on 4th August 2016 – we didn’t want to wait, plus I had always really wanted a summer wedding. With it being last minute, we were limited by dates but after settling on August, this date just seemed right.
Our wedding venue was The Grand Hotel and Spa, in York. We knew the venue had to be in York as it has a lot of special memories for us – from our first date to the birth of our son, as well as it being my hometown. I fell in love with The Grand Hotel from the moment I saw the grand boardroom; the venue’s elegance and history was just perfect.
Our wedding theme was vintage glamour with a touch of romance. I wanted something with class and sophistication, and once we found the venue, I knew that the grand features of the hotel would work perfectly. As for the colour scheme, this focused on gold, bronze and blush pink.
I found my wedding dress at The Little Pearl Bridal Boutique in North Yorkshire. I always knew this would be my starting place, as I know the owner Diana through a close friend. As soon as I stepped into the boutique I knew my dream dress would be in there, somewhere. After trying every different style and fit, I finally found the one – that butterfly feeling was most certainly there! I chose an Enzoani gown in ivory; a vintage style silk and lace embellished dress. It matched the venue and style of the wedding perfectly. I could not recommend Diana and The Little Pearl more. I had the most magical experience from start to finish and felt like a true princess. Diana didn’t miss a detail and would go out of her way to accommodate any request.
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February 26th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
We are totally in love with today’s bride’s stunning attire for her big day. Switching a traditional dress for a stylish top and skirt combo, we think Emma totally rocked the separates, which were made by her mum’s fair hands, no less!
And there are plenty more beautiful elements to this gorgeous winter wedding; from the bridesmaids’ mismatched lace dresses, to rustic homemade cake and the abundance of fairy lights. We love!
With images by Andrew Keher Photography.
emma says: We got engaged in August 2014 in Monmouth, South Wales. We had been away on holiday to Berlin for a week, which was a non-stop, activity packed week. We had talked about having a few days wind down when we came back before going back to work. This was something Matt was very keen for us to do, and now I know why!
We booked a beautiful little cabin in the heart of the woods in the Monmouth valley, complete with a wood burner, view of the woods and a microbrewery nearby. On the first evening there we were playing Guess Who in front of the fire (as you do), when Matt proposed. It was a huge, lovely surprise. We spent the rest of the weekend talking about what we should do for the wedding.
We got married on 14th November 2015. Both of us wanted to get married in autumn/winter, and this was the date that fell together for the venue, caterers and the return of close family moving back from America.
Our ceremony venue was Grays Court, York. This is a lovely nine-bedroom hotel which is close to the Minster. We chose Grays Court because it was beautiful, full of character, and by far our favourite ceremony venue in York. It even has gorgeous gardens for photos, and, if the weather was right, you can get married outside! The staff were lovely, and really helpful. It also provided the luxury hotel we wanted to stay at for our wedding night.
For our wedding reception we chose The National Centre for Early Music, which is a church that has been converted into a venue. It had the gorgeous features of a church, but the freedom to create the wedding we wanted. The team there was great with flexibility and assisting us.
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