Charlotte Balbier

rustic luxe: a styled country wedding shoot at the black swan, helmsley

July 27th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (26)

If there’s one thing that makes me go weak at the knees, other than gorgeous weddings, it’s a cute dog.

Having grown up with canine companions a firm part of the family, there aren’t many mutts that don’t evoke a genuine ‘ahh’ from me. So when our fabulous Sponsor, The Black Swan hotel, sent over the results of a recent styled shoot at the venue, which featured a fine Irish Red Setter, it was a ‘yes’ from me.

The ‘groom’ isn’t bad either, is he?!

Located in the idyllic North Yorkshire village of Helmsley, the black swan is the perfect venue for a romantic country-inspired wedding (did you catch the beautiful celebration we shared on the wedding blog this morning?). With this in mind the hotel welcomed photographer Annemarie King and a talented bunch northern wedding suppliers, to use the venue as a stunning backdrop for a rustic luxe styled shoot, complete with dapper tweed, natural blooms and detailed dresses.

The setting of the hotel brings all elements to life for an incredibly well-executed shoot that will make you go ‘ooh’ and well as ‘ahh’ (and not just over that dog). So let’s handover to The Black Swan for those all important details…

With images by Annemarie King.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (14)

the black swan says: The well-loved country charm, welcoming atmosphere and quaint English gardens, overlooking the pretty churchyard next door, made The Black Swan the perfect venue for Annemarie King and her team to co-create a rustic-luxe themed photographic campaign.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (10)

Model James with his red-haired beauties, ‘bride’ Zara and Connor, the Irish Red Setter, are on location at the hotel and also at Helmsley Walled Gardens, which brings the theme to life with a touch of nostalgia. The evocative images are intimate, dream-like, and sometimes fun and light-hearted.

The timeless, informal elegance of the photography mirrors the essence of this historic hotel venue – the smartly-tailored handsome groom James, in his Yorkshire tweeds and smartly polished brogues, along with his bride’s sweet, ethereal beauty and swan-like elegance make for a beautiful pairing, and Connor certainly adds a special appeal to the ‘family shots’.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (11)

The various settings demonstrate the hotel’s oak beamed Tudor Lounge, the oldest part of the venue with its original inglenook, and the cosy stone-walled Crosland Lounge, as well as the pretty English walled gardens, in which The Black Swan’s new Oak Gazebo is located, which is now available for outdoor summer wedding ceremonies and celebrations. Helmsley Walled Gardens also plays a part, giving a super botanical backdrop to the shots.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (19)

A creative team led by York photographer Annemarie King, is responsible for the shoot with all those who offered their talents and goods on the day doing a fantastic job. Two of Annemarie’s passions are showcased within the shoot as she’s an award-winning photographer specialising in both country weddings and canine photography.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (8)

The shoot’s retro-inspired gowns, which include the Alan Hannah’s Tara long lace gown, White Rose’s 50s style R920 gown, Angel B’s peppermint bridesmaid dress Am 242, and the flamboyant Cymbeline Adele design, were kindly loaned by The Bridal Lounge in Northallerton, along with selected accessories.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (7)

Carters Country Wear provided the tweed tailored outfit sported by groom, James. Carters specialise in suits and country wear tailored with cloth from Saville Row and Yorkshire tweed mills, with a particular emphasis on country sportswear. They enjoy an international clientele who value their quality and highly personalised service.

Much of the jewellery was generously loaned by Libby Butler Jewellery, located in Helmsley.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (3)

The striking makeup and hairstyling of our bride Zara, is by award-winning hair and make-up artist Kate Pymm, who based in the North East and works throughout the UK on a wide portfolio of projects, including bridal hair and makeup.

The sweet bouquets and simple floral arrangements with home-grown ‘grandma’s cottage garden blooms’ inspired by the rural-luxe theme, were all created by Liz Wood at Busy Liz’s Floral Design, of Kirbymoorside.

A Rustic Luxe Styled Shoot at The Black Swan, Helmsley (c) Annemarie King (5)

To complete the stellar line-up, Celebrate Country Cake Design, located in Helmsley’s Walled Gardens, supplied the cake, Fabulously Finished, of Ampleforth, supplied the props and the chair covers were loaned by Chair Covers of Yorkshire, located in Easingwold.

For more information about weddings at The Black Swan, contact 01439 770466 and ask to speak to their Wedding Co-ordinator. Alternatively, visit their website

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glory days vintage: a styled vintage wedding shoot in yorkshire.

July 23rd, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Glory Days Vintage Styled Shoot in Yorkshire (c) Luke Bell  (27)

This afternoon on the wedding blog it’s all about the pretty with this stunning vintage wedding styled shoot set deep in the heart of Yorkshire. Put together by a small but very talented group of fantastic wedding industry professionals, headed up by creative photographer Luke Bell, we just love this set of inspirational images.  If you’re hoping that your wedding day look might have a hint of the vintage about it, be prepared to be inspired…

A Glory Days Vintage Styled Shoot in Yorkshire (c) Luke Bell  (29)

luke says: Towards the end of February I worked on a really fun location shoot in Leeds that had turned out really well considering I’d stepped in at the last minute to photograph it. So feeling inspired I decided that I wanted to produce a shoot myself and started to work on a number of ideas – but the problem was nothing was really coming together: I couldn’t find the right model, I’d been knocked back from a couple of locations I was keen on using, I was struggling to find a make up artist whose work would fit into the concepts I was thinking of and I was still in need of a designer. So it’s fair to say that I was getting nowhere fast… and then it happened. It’s not often that a model’s look provides the starting point for a photo shoot – but as soon as I saw Harriet‘s profile I knew that I not only had to work with her, but due to her obvious passion for all things vintage I also knew who I would approach to help me.

A Glory Days Vintage Styled Shoot in Yorkshire (c) Luke Bell  (25)

I’d always wanted to collaborate with Hayley from Glory Days Vintage Bridal again (since our previous shoot had ended up on the cover of the Yorkshire Post Magazine) and Hayley – being the awesome person that she is – was more than happy to get involved and provided two beautiful vintage wedding dresses and even hand made three headpieces for us to use too. It started to feel like things were coming together – now I just needed a make up artist and a suitable location to use.

A Glory Days Vintage Styled Shoot in Yorkshire (c) Luke Bell  (16)

I contacted the very talented Faye Robertson who I’ve worked with many times before to see if she could recommend anyone and luckily it turned out that her work on a TV show had finished just in time so she was available herself – now things were really looking up!

A Glory Days Vintage Styled Shoot in Yorkshire (c) Luke Bell  (15)

As for a suitable location, well sometimes these things are just staring you in the face. Being fortunate enough to live in a gorgeous rural village we actually have a wealth of beautiful backdrops and even a stunning little 12th Century church right here in Sheriff Hutton itself – perfect for photographing vintage bridal gowns.

A Glory Days Vintage Styled Shoot in Yorkshire (c) Luke Bell  (19)

Faye and I agreed that the styling for Harriet’s makeup and hair needed to work in harmony with Hayley’s dresses and headpieces and I made sure that the lighting I used was sympathetic to the look while adding a touch of glamour and mood too.

A Glory Days Vintage Styled Shoot in Yorkshire (c) Luke Bell  (13)

Once Faye and I met Harriet we instantly clicked and although we all knew that we were up against some pretty cold weather and changeable light the endless cups of tea, giggling fits, outbursts of swearing and general hilarity that took place ensured a fun and relaxed shoot that I feel produced some stunning results.

A Glory Days Vintage Styled Shoot in Yorkshire (c) Luke Bell  (11)

I’d like to thank Faye’s good friend Claire who came along and assisted me with my lighting setup and to my good friend Elaine who stepped in at the last minute to lend me her wedding bouquet. Cheers guys!

A Glory Days Vintage Styled Shoot in Yorkshire (c) Luke Bell  (21)

We’re always on the lookout for brides who’d love to recreate something like this on their wedding day – whether it be the dress, headpiece, makeup, hair or photos please don’t hesitate to get in touch, as we’d all love to help.

And I’m pretty sure that because each of us had so much fun on this styled shoot there’s always the chance we will organise another one very soon – so watch this space!

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true blue. justin alexander for an eclectic wedding at the crab & lobster – ann-marie & matthew

July 16th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (31)

Today’s real wedding took place at a quirky hotel and restaurant that has a sort of anything goes feel to it with its mismatched décor and furnishings. Rather than try and impose a set theme on such an individual venue, bride and groom Ann-Marie and Matthew cleverly blended styles they love into the setting for an elegant yet eclectic wedding day.

We love the 1950s influences in the bride and maid of honour’s dresses as well as the groom’s slightly unusual pale blue suit and patterned tie combo. Elsewhere there are pretty shabby chic touches in the décor and a country garden theme running through the flowers and cake designs.

Oh, and Ann-Marie didn’t just go for one ‘something blue’ but instead lots, with a colour palette made up of varying shades of the cool hue.

With images from Michael Cartwright Photography.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (2)

ann-marie says: We got engaged on 20th April 2013 at Drybeck Farm in Cumbria. It was our anniversary weekend and Matthew had booked a weekend to Drybeck Farm as a surprise. Drybeck was our first weekend away together when we first met so Matthew thought it would be romantic to rekindle the early days. Matthew had been working during the day and came back at lunch time to get ready and go. I jokingly asked him “Have you forgotten anything? Like a ring?” to which he replied “Seriously? You do know there isn’t a ring, don’t you?” That was enough to put me off the scent.

I’d made a lamb stew to take with us that we cooked over an open fire and we sat and drank red wine and ate stew and tiger bread under the stars, wrapped in blankets. Matthew finally popped the question down on one knee on the banks of the River Eden. I of course said a massive yes!

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (3)

We decided on 24th May 2015 as our wedding date and chose The Crab & Lobster near Thirsk, North Yorkshire, as our venue. We knew the hotel and restaurant because of its reputation in fine dining but we had never been to stay before. We went to a wedding open day and suddenly everything fell into place. The gardens are beautiful and the hotel is so wonderfully quirky that we instantly fell in love with it.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (10)

We wanted our wedding to be laid back but still beautiful. One of our major turn offs with all things wedding was the ‘fake grandeur’ that is automatically pushed on brides. We also didn’t like the idea of an outright theme. We preferred just to choose all the things we liked and try to link them together. If we had to try and shoehorn our wedding into any kind of theme I suppose it would be ‘50s shabby chic, English country garden glamour’ (if that can be a theme?).

This eclectic mix of styles matches our personalities and went perfectly with the venue, which is a mismatch of all sorts of memorabilia and oddities.

We chose blue for our colour scheme. We didn’t make any decision on one particular type of blue and decided to have a wonderful mix of shades and hues that all complemented each other. We used white and ivory with a touch of peach to complement the blues. On reason for choosing blue was because of its association with luck at weddings and we thought why stop at one ‘something blue’ when it can all be blue!

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (12)

My dress was a 50s style ball gown by Justin Alexander and bought from Just Perfect at Shotton Colliery. It had a boat neckline and pleated sash waist with a small detailing of crystals and pearls. The dress was plain ivory silk and had a train. On my feet I wore peacock blue peep toe shoes from Faith, which had a T-bar encrusted in diamantes and peals.

My headpiece was custom made by The Libertarian. It was an ivory silk flower with crystals and pearls in the centre and a short 50s style veil with a sprinkling of diamantes. The crystals on the flower were my ‘something old’ and had been taken from a necklace my Grandmother left to me. My earrings were custom made by Mobeus in Hartlepool which also used the crystals from my Grandmother’s old necklace. Finally, I wore a jersey pearl bracelet that I borrowed from our daughter (she was bought it as a christening present).

On the big day, Nicholas at Hobson and Holmes in Darlington, did my hair while Jo Leversuch of Makeup by Jo, did my makeup.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (8)

Matthew wore a pale blue suit from Psyche in Middlesbrough with a coordinating dark blue tweed waistcoat from Debenhams. His shirt was plain white from M&S and shoes were brown brogues from Just Perfect Menswear at Shotton Colliery. Matthew’s tie and pocket square were from an online retailer called Dancys.

Our maid of honour wore a royal blue 50s style dress by LouLou Bridal and our flower girl wore an ivory satin and tulle ballerina style dress both bought from Just Perfect at Shotton Colliery. Their head pieces were both custom made by The Libertarian and featured handmade and custom dyed silk flowers.

The groomsmen all wore a suit of their choice with white M&S shirts and ties from Dancys. Our page boys wore pale blue linen suites from Next with coordinating bow-ties from Dancys.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (24)

Michael of Michael Cartwright Photography took our photographs. Michael is an old school friend of mine so we knew that we would be hiring a photographer that could put us at ease and who knew our personalities and tastes. Michael did a fantastic job of capturing the day without lots of posed or staged photos that will age and go out of fashion. We have ended up with a wonderful pictorial story of our day that will stand the test of time. Michael was a true professional and was so great at taking candid photos. We hardly even knew he was there throughout the day but we still got more than 1,000 pictures to choose from.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (32)

I carried a bouquet of wild and garden flowers in a range of blue and lavender tones including forget-me-nots, scabious, cornflowers, roses, lisianthus. They were tied with a bow with long tendrils of multi-coloured ribbons in different widths and textures. The brief to the florist was that I wanted to look like I had walked through a beautiful meadow and country garden and collected my flowers on the way to the ceremony – they did not disappoint.

The flowers were from Flowerhouse in Hartburn, Stockton-on-Tees which until recently was my brother’s business which he and my mum started more than ten years ago. Ever since I was small I have grown up around flowers and flower shops as my mum has been an award winning florist for 50 years. I knew from being a little girl that the most special thing was for my mum to do my wedding flowers and with the help of the staff at Flowerhouse that wish came true and the flowers were spectacular!

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (54)

Our table decorations were lots of smaller bunches of flowers using the same flowers as my bouquet. These were in jam jars which I decorated with ribbons and lace. Again the flowers were from Flowerhouse. We also decorated the tables with smaller jars with tea lights in them and set the table settings with sprigs of lavender and corn from Shropshire Petals, who also supplied our confetti.

I made all the decorations for the day including a number of hand painted signs and more than 30 metres of bunting as well as burlap signs and ribbon wands for the little people to carry. Instead of a guestbook I also made a hand painted canvas which everyone could write their messages on which has given us a beautiful momentum of the day.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (47)

As favours, each guest was given a packet of forget-me-not seeds from Not on the High Street. Due to the huge number of flowers at the wedding, each couple also got to take home a jar of fresh flowers at the end of the night.

We chose a three tier cake with a different flavour for each tier – fruit, chocolate and vanilla. A friend of ours (Jenny) made the cakes and a friend of my mum’s iced them for us. It was decorated with fresh flowers from Flowerhouse and a bunting cake topper from Beautiful Greys, a shop on Facebook.

Additionally we had a cheese and pork pie wedding cake from Earls Cheese Wedding Cakes in Stockton, which doubled as our evening buffet. This was topped with bride and groom mice from Cotton Reel Crafts. We served the wedding cake on the evening as dessert.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (49)

To keep guests entertained we had a jazz duo welcoming everyone to the ceremony and then playing in the gardens afterward. They were the Crab and Lobster resident musicians, Muttonchops, and were a fantastic addition to our day. During the ceremony Matthew’s brother, Robbie, and my friend Angela gave a rendition of Songbird by Oasis which was very special to us. On the evening we decided to have a jukebox instead of a DJ. That way the dancefloor was always full because the music was chosen by the guests.

To make the day all the more special we added a few individual touches, including inviting our guests to take part in a competition at The Crab and Lobster’s one-hole golf course to win a bottle of bubbles. It was a fun little addition and everyone had a go at getting their ball closest to the flag.

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (70)

We would recommend all of our suppliers, they each provided exactly what we wished for and were full of professionalism. We would also definitely recommend our venue to other couples. It was so fantastic in every way. The staff were wonderfully attentive and understood our vision from the outset and ensured that everything went swimmingly. They were very willing for us to completely take over and decorate everything in sight and change things around as we saw fit. The wedding coordinator, John Lacey, was fantastic and couldn’t do enough for us – from helping me to change my shoes, to standing up ladders hanging bunting, carving up enormous pork pies and helping our daughter up and down the patio steps.

I don’t think we could pick a favourite part of the day as it was all absolutely amazing. That said, our highlights would include; seeing each other for the first time, spending an entire day with all the people we love and dancing the night away to a plethora of retro tunes!

An Eclectic Wedding at The Crab & Lobster (c) Michael Cartwright Photography (72)

For our honeymoon we had four nights at Peacock Pavilions just outside of Marrakech in Morocco. It was a wonderfully relaxing break full of delicious food and exploration. We were fully spoilt at Peacock Pavilions with private dining in a hand painted Berber tent, a private screening of Casablanca in an outdoor cinema with cocktails and a bridal henna party for me. No stone was unturned at this wonderful quirky little oasis. Pure bliss!

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to start early! If you are anything like us and want to do a lot of work yourself or are interested in the finer details you need as much time as possible. We spent two years planning and it was only just enough time. We had an amazing day and all of the extra effort, hard work and sometimes stress was worth it all for the perfect amazing day.continue reading

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pretty in the park. summer garden colours for a vintage wedding in yorkshire – emma & jonny

July 15th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Summer Garden Vintage Wedding in Yorkshire (c) Olivia Brabbs Photography (36)

With the help of her groom, today’s bride Emma pieced together a very pretty vintage wedding by combining handmade decorations, dainty china, cute bunting and beautiful country blooms.

In keeping with the theme, Emma also chose to wear a 1950s three-quarter length Justin Alexander dress, showing brides that hitching up the hemline can work particularly well for certain styled weddings.

As well as taking inspiration from all the pretty, be sure to look out for a special guest at the wedding too – Emma and Jonny’s cute dog Sadie, so cute!

With images by Olivia Brabbs Photography.

A Summer Garden Vintage Wedding in Yorkshire (c) Olivia Brabbs Photography (8)

emma says: Following a first date on a rainy day at a Duck Race held in Manchester in 2012, plastic ducks have always been a bit of a ‘thing’ for us. I had bought a black plastic duck as a reminder of the first date, and this ended up in our bathroom. In October 2012 Jonny took me away to a lovely little cottage in Somerset that had a hot tub – I had been warned to bring a cozzie, so in I dived! Next thing I know, Jonny is coming towards me with an up-turned duck. He hands it to me in the hot tub and said those magical words…and the rest is history!

A Summer Garden Vintage Wedding in Yorkshire (c) Olivia Brabbs Photography (15)

Our wedding date was 21st June 2014 and our venue was Oakwell Hall Country Park in Birstall, West Yorkshire. We chose the venue for a number of reasons – firstly it is so pretty and picturesque. Secondly it is a blank canvas so we could pretty much do whatever we wanted in relation to decorations and the reception. Finally as it is in a country park it is dog friendly – we have a Jack Russell, called Sadie, who is very much a part of our family, so much so that she was involved in the pre-shoot and was present on the big day.

A Summer Garden Vintage Wedding in Yorkshire (c) Olivia Brabbs Photography (23)

Our wedding style evolved from a love of vintage! Like many couples, we spent the 18 months prior to the wedding sourcing vintage decorations/ china/ games – anything that we could use to make our wedding super special. Flower vases were hand decorated and bunting was handmade along with signs and confetti cones. Anything that we could make – we did!

We didn’t have a colour scheme as such and instead chose to stick loosely to summer garden flower colours. My maid of honour and bridesmaid wore different colours and then on the groom’s side the men wore different coloured shirts and ties. I wanted the colour ‘scheme’ to match our ‘theme’ so it was miss-matched coloured!

A Summer Garden Vintage Wedding in Yorkshire (c) Olivia Brabbs Photography (27)

In keeping with the vintage 1950s feel, I had a desire for a three-quarter length dress – however it took trying on all styles for me to realise that I truly did want a short dress. Once I got my Justin Alexander dress from Elegance of Scholes on there was no going back – I twirled and twirled like a loon! Dress – found!

I really couldn’t see Jonny in top hat and tails so his suit was handmade by a local suit maker using Yorkshire grey cloth. Chris, the best man, also had a suit made to complement Jonny’s attire.

My maid of honour Janet wore a shift dress from House of Fraser, and my bridesmaid Cat wore a long purple dress from BHS. Both dresses suited both ladies and their comfort was paramount!

A Summer Garden Vintage Wedding in Yorkshire (c) Olivia Brabbs Photography (32)

As we live locally to the venue, the day before the wedding was spent doing up the hall where the reception was to be held. This involved all hands on deck! We had people putting bunting up, making up cake stands and arranging tables. The juke box had arrived so music was playing and the hall was a hive of activity.

The night before the big day the wedding party went out for a curry to our local Indian. I said bye-bye to Jonny as he was spending his last night as a bachelor with his best man. My maid of honour and I went to mine and a bottle of fizz was opened (which I actually struggled to drink). The morning of wedding was actually really chilled. I remember sitting in the back yard with Jan in the sunshine! My hair was done by local hairdresser and my makeup was super natural and done by moi!

Jan and I were transported to the venue in a VW Camper, hired from a local company called VW Wedding Hire. The hitch we had was that the ordinal Camper that I had hired was having mechanical issues so they managed to source me a gorgeous cream VW Camper that was fantastic.

A Summer Garden Vintage Wedding in Yorkshire (c) Olivia Brabbs Photography (37)

Photography is really important to Jonny and I. This was the one area that we did struggle with. We wanted someone that really ‘got’ us. We wanted this person to really capture the finer details of our day. We came into contact with Olivia Brabbs at a wedding fair we attended (as stall holders). She very kindly took some shots of my stall and through this we realised that we had our woman! Our whole wedding was the polar opposite of a package, as I knew that I didn’t want a package photographer. For example, Olivia didn’t attend the morning of the wedding but met me at the venue instead, which was my choice. We knew what to expect as we had hired Olivia for the pre-shoot and my word the photos of our day were sublime. I truly would recommend her!

A Summer Garden Vintage Wedding in Yorkshire (c) Olivia Brabbs Photography (39)

My bouquet was a gorgeous work of art – so colourful with seasonal blooms and my favourite yellow roses with quirky textured foliage. My bridesmaid and maid-of-honour both had smaller versions of my bouquet.

Floral decorations were up there on the ‘required’ list. In keeping with the relaxed feel of our wedding we went for ‘hand-picked country garden’ style flowers. The floral display was a mix of supermarket bought and flower shop arranged blooms and the mix worked really well! We chose a local florist David from The Flower Garden in Brighouse, to assist and he really did do us proud! The jam jars looked amazing – and people took these away at the end of the night as a little gift.

A Summer Garden Vintage Wedding in Yorkshire (c) Olivia Brabbs Photography (40)

To decorate the rest of the venue, Jonny and I collected all the china, deckchairs and decorations for months prior to our special day. Rather than sell our labour of love on, we decided to hire out items to other brides through our company called Vintage Wedding Daze. Our bunting has proved quite popular, so too have the deckchairs, handmade signs and suitcases. We love it when people love our style so much that they want to include it in their big day, and would welcome anyone to get in touch with us!

My mum is a freelance designer and so I allocated the task of designing me some seed packets. She filled them with wild flowers and they went on the tables for everyone as favours.

A Summer Garden Vintage Wedding in Yorkshire (c) Olivia Brabbs Photography (38)

Our wedding cake was a little different to the norm. I love body products, and there is a local company to us called Yorkshire Soap who do the most amazing bath products. Whilst mooching in their York store I came across their Soap Cakes and that was it, I was sold! We chose a four-tiered cake with scents that meant a lot to us. As bath ducks basically brought us together, I had to have some ducks on top, and came by a bride and groom duck, which worked perfectly! Everyone commented that the Soap Cake was an ingenious ideas and I still get comments to this day!

A Summer Garden Vintage Wedding in Yorkshire (c) Olivia Brabbs Photography (44)

We knew that the typical sit-down meal wasn’t something we wanted for the wedding breakfast and we wanted to use all the vintage china that we had collected to its maximum, so we went with a vintage-style afternoon tea produced by Dish and Spoon in Manchester. When it was all set out it looked truly stunning, and oh-my-word were the cakes scrummy! The cake stands that Jonny handmade were chock-a-block full of goodies. We hired a couple of waiting-on staff to serve tea and coffee out of china tea pots. It was all so civilised! In the evening we had hog roast provided by The Porkery. I don’t think there was any left – that’s how good it was!

As our venue was in the middle of nowhere we had a bar brought in by a local pub. This was invaluable as it meant that we didn’t have to consider drink for the evening reception, or the any part of the day, for that matter!

A Summer Garden Vintage Wedding in Yorkshire (c) Olivia Brabbs Photography (62)

To keep our guests entertained, we hired a jukebox from Betterdaze for the whole weekend and put on songs that meant a lot to us. We also asked close friends and family, who were involved with the wedding, for their favourite songs and included them with a dedication, which made it even more personal. For the evening entertainment we had a three part female harmony group called The Memphis Belles, whose style is 40s/ 50s which was in keeping with our whole wedding.

Outdoors we hired hay bales for seating and covered them with British woollen vintage blankets. We also had some vintage style garden games for extra entertainment.

I would have absolutely no doubts in recommending our venue to other couples. At one point me and Jonny even took Sadie on a little walk into the woods (in our wedding gear) the looks we got were priceless! Having the venue for the weekend was fantastic as it made the event more than just one day – it was a weekend event!

A Summer Garden Vintage Wedding in Yorkshire (c) Olivia Brabbs Photography (68)

A Summer Garden Vintage Wedding in Yorkshire (c) Olivia Brabbs Photography (70)

Following the wedding we had two honeymoons; a minimoon to Cumbria straight after the wedding and then a longer break in the summer when we toured Scotland, The Highlands and Outer Hebrides.

A Summer Garden Vintage Wedding in Yorkshire (c) Olivia Brabbs Photography (63)

I was so lucky that Jonny was as involved with the wedding prep as I was. I don’t think I could have done it on my own. So my top tip to other Brides Up North would be to divvy jobs out – don’t try to do it all yourself. Have people that you can rely on to help you out. For me it was the small things that got me stressed – but having such a reliable groom helped.

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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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