December 5th, 2016 | Alexis Forsyth
After tying the knot across the pond in Las Vegas, Toni and James decided that it was time to celebrate with family and friends back in the UK. And, boy, did they do it in style.
Their big day was all about the party vibes, combining their wedding not only with New Year’s Eve celebrations, but James’ birthday too.
Their plush black, white and gold theme was an inspired choice, complete with a nod, or three, to their new life in America. And as Toni reveals, the couple really did turn a few bridal traditions right on their head.
With images by Joe Stenson
toni says: After two years together James moved to San Diego in California. When he was offered a permanent job, we had to decide whether to leave our family and friends and start a new life together in the US, and that meant taking the plunge and getting married quicker than anticipated. So we did! It all happened within the space of three months; engagement, and a wedding in Vegas with just three friends.
James proposed when I was visiting him in Huntington Beach, Orange County, on 18th February 2013. We hired a little boat to cruise around Balboa Island in Newport Beach and then returned to Huntington Beach to watch the sunset. He encouraged me to go for a walk on the beach and we ended up sitting on the Number 1 Lifeguard Tower Stand. My 30th birthday was only a couple of weeks away and so he started telling me that he wanted to get me something I would love, keep and wear all the time. And then he held out my ring!
Our original wedding was on 5th April 2013 in Las Vegas, but that’s not how I imagined my wedding would be. So two years on we started planning a wedding celebration that we could share with our family and friends in the UK.
We wanted the emphasis to be on throwing an amazing party, and that’s why we chose New Year’s Eve, 2015. Not only did we think that NYE would add an extra element of excitement for our guests, but it’s also James’ birthday! I also liked the thought of having a winter wedding, which meant we weren’t relying on the weather.
It was tricky finding a venue in Leeds that would be available on NYE, serve past midnight and hold 150 guests. After researching several venues, I had a dream that featured The Faversham, Leeds – I woke up and knew it would be the perfect venue. The great thing about The Faversham is that it’s not only a beautiful building set in the grounds of Leeds University, but you have exclusive use of the venue too.
We wanted our wedding to be unique, with quirky touches that were personal to us. We wanted a glam yet simple style with a party vibe. The theme was centered on NYE/time, with an element of USA v UK.
November 30th, 2016 | Julia Braime
We are totally head over heels for this morning’s gorgeous real wedding which features a super-stylish wedding party, pretty pastel colour scheme and lots of outdoor fun and frolics.
Highlights? There are many! Though for us the delicate décor, on-trend attire and super cute four-legged guest are among our very favourite bits!
With images by Darren Mack Photography
alexandra says: We got engaged whilst we were staying at some vineyards in Yorkshire with friends for my 30th birthday in June 2014. Unbeknown to me, the day before we went Andrew had “Alex will you marry me?” Tattooed on his chest. We went out for dinner and drinks in Holmfirth then to a Billy Bragg gig. After an amazing evening, we got back to our apartment and much to my utter shock and disbelief Andrew revealed his new chest art to me! I said yes and we celebrated with a bottle of champagne with the rest of the bunch that we were away with!
Our wedding day was exactly two years after the weekend that we got engaged, so 18th June 2016, the day before my 32nd birthday.
We got married at Knipe Hall in Cumbria, where we are from. We wanted a rustic blank canvas venue and this fit the bill! It’s an old farm that has been converted into luxury holiday cottages and has a barn and old dairy and huge outdoor space to host your wedding. This meant that whole wedding party could stay over making it a full weekend celebration and we could do as we wanted with the venue.
We didn’t really have a specific wedding theme as such, we just wanted it to be relaxed and fun! I guess it had a bit of a rustic country wedding feel to it. Our colour scheme was pastels and metallic. I was just drawn to those colours from day one and I love a bit of gold/sequins/glitter – just a touch though.
My dress was by Pronovias bought from Olivia James Bridal in Egremont. When I first got engaged I saw a similar Rosa Clara dress in a wedding mag, which I loved – it reminded me of the wedding dress Audrey Hepburn wears in Roman Holiday. This dress was only in one shop in the UK so I travelled all the way down to London to try it on. It was lovely but wasn’t quite right so I walked away. I then decided I wanted a more boho 70s style gown so proceeded to try on around 30 more dresses; some vintage, some high street, designer, bridal couture, you name it but discovered I didn’t really suit a lot of the lace and nothing felt special enough. I was starting to lose faith and decided I just don’t like wedding dresses then I came across this dress online and found out it was in a shop not far from home and like I said, very similar to the first dress I liked. As soon as I tried it on it felt right. Still very much a wedding dress with the full skirt and long train but no added bling or lace; plain but beautiful details like the low scoop back and simple bows at the waist. It was such a relief to find the one!
My hairdresser for the wedding was Sarah Redding from Halo in Carlisle, and she was amazing, working relentlessly to get us all ready in time. A very talented lady. I own my own beauty salon in Carlisle called Rock and Fairy so I did everyone’s beauty treatments a couple of nights before the wedding and did my own makeup on the day using Mac products.
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September 16th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
We all know that while you can plan a wedding down to the finest detail there are some elements of the day that are entirely out of your control, most notably the weather.
Today’s real wedding couple are a shining example of how to not let the unpredictable British weather dampen your big day celebrations.
Despite the downpours outdoors, the bride, groom and their guests got on with enjoying themselves inside the beautiful Newton Hall, rather getting hung up on the fact that the sun hadn’t made an appearance.
The wedding was beautifully styled, as were the wedding party, and we’re super impressed with the stunning portrait images captured by their photographer considering that he was confined to just the indoors. Excellent work Ally!
With images by Ally M Photography.
holly says: We got engaged at Claridge’s in London in November 2014. Ben had planned to propose in Dubai a few months after this date, however we had cancelled the trip as I found out I was expecting our daughter Mia! Ben can luckily rely on me to order a dessert whenever we go out. He had the staff write ‘Holly, will you marry me?’ on the plate. At first I was annoyed that precious dessert space was taken up with writing, then I realised what it said. I forgave him and said yes!
We got married on the 17th June 2016. As all couples who decide to marry in Britain do, we played Russian Roulette with the weather and just hoped we would win with a June wedding (we lost…badly!).
We got married at Newton Hall, Northumberland. It had everything we could possibly have wanted. It’s surrounded in beautiful British countryside and it also sits near the stunning coastline they have there. We were searching for “different and quirky wedding venues” and Newton Hall popped up. The pictures were stunning so we booked a visit. I didn’t dare believe it would be the one given it was the first we’d viewed, but I immediately fell in love with it as we pulled up the driveway. I love how they’ve kept the traditional feel of the house whilst also adding so much fun to it. Every room is just gorgeous. We’re also one of the last of our friends to get married so it was nice to find somewhere we could have our wedding where we hadn’t been before. It just meant it felt more special to us.
Ben gave me full reign over the theming of the wedding (this made us both very happy) and I always go for girly/pretty! I wanted it to be vintage and beautiful so it could blend with our fabulous venue.
With two little girls, our whole life is already in pink so I just naturally went for subtle and dusky shades if pinks and purples for the colour scheme.
ally m photography, canny little cake toppers, cherrie early mua, dessy, elizabeth george, hollie heart creative, House Of Fraser, hugo boss, love lily cakes, marks and spencer, monsoon, mori lee, newton hall, next, northumberland wedding, not just a pretty face, paleschi, real wedding, sandra rose, strickland and holt, the cutting lounge, the fallen, uk wedding blog, zara
August 29th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
We’re getting Monday off to a very pretty start here on the blog by heading North West to relive the gorgeous wedding of Cecilia and Philip.
Deciding on a chilled-out garden party wedding theme to complement their chosen venue, Cecilia and Philip styled their day with lots of flourishing florals and paper pompoms in sugary pastel tones.
As well as the setting, we love Cecilia’s choice of voluminous ruffle wedding gown, topped off with a cute pink flower crown. B-e-a-u-tiful!
With images by Tim Simpson Photography.
cecilia says: We’ve been together for almost ten years so it was about time we got engaged. It happened whilst we were watching the sunset on a summer’s evening after dinner at Bon Ton overlooking over the lagoon on a holiday in Langkawi.
Once engaged we set the wedding date for 31st May 2015. We thought the end of spring/beginning of summer would be a lovely time of year to marry and it’s also a great time for lots of blossoming flowers.
When deciding where the wedding should take place Liverpool sprang to our minds as it was the city in which we first met. Grade II* listed Sefton Park Palm House was our venue of choice. We loved the crisp white architecture of the glass house and surrounding beauty of greenery. Also the aromas from the glass house flower as soon as you walk into the venue. We had both our ceremony and reception there.
For the wedding theme we agreed on a relaxed garden party vibe with lots of floral décor. The colour scheme meanwhile was light shades of pinks, with splashes of blue and lime green. I thought that these would be easy on the eye but also pop out well against the white linen tables whilst blending in well with the floral green house.
I had two wedding day outfits: my white wedding gown and then a little red dress for the tea ceremony. It is the Chinese tradition to wear red on the special day with the lucky meaning. My wedding gown was a princess bell shape with long train, which after trying various styles of gowns, is the shape that suited me most. The ‘dome’ was formed by multi layers of lightweight fabrics so even though the train was quite long, wasn’t that heavy to stop me from moving freely. I ordered by wedding dress from an online shop on Taobao (China’s equivalent of eBay), which was custom made to fit my size. The red dress I wore was from another shop on Taobao which turned out to be a bit of a headache – I later wished that I had ordered it from the same shop as where I got my wedding dress from. If brides do fancy getting a nice outfit from Taobao, my advice would be to make sure they find those with an excellent reputation, and ideally with high street store. Oh and allow plenty of time for ordering and delivery.
September 21st, 2015 | Rachel Parry
For this afternoon’s real wedding we are crossing the north/south border in order to share with you original Sheffield girl Laura’s big day.
She and beau Andy met in the capital and so for them it seemed only right to invite their guests from both the north & south to join them in the place they call home.
After saying their ‘I dos’ in the beautiful Islington Town Hall, the happy couple and their guests travelled on board a red double decker to a modern restaurant for the party to continue.
Highlights include Laura’s stunning Pronovias gown, pretty blush pink touches and a very cute ring bearer!
With images by Georgina Martin.
laura says: We got engaged the Christmas after our son Reuben had been born. It was on Boxing Day morning at my parents’ house, Reuben was just two-months-old. Andy asked me to marry him and it made everything perfect!
We had quite a long engagement as weren’t really financially in a position to get married when Andy asked so we waited until we were, and Reuben was a little older to be part of the experience – then we got planning. We decided on May 2nd for our wedding date, the start of spring/summer time so hoping for some sunshine and it was a bank holiday weekend.
Although I am from Sheffield I have lived in London 13 years, it’s where Andy and I met and where we dated. We had always said we wanted to get married at Islington Town Hall one day, I used to live in the area and we’d often walk past and say how lovely it was and that one day that would be us!
We had originally wanted to have the reception in a pub in East London where we had our second date but for various reasons this didn’t work out. Chiswell Street Dining Rooms was the only other place we looked at and instantly thought it fitted in perfectly with what we wanted, a relaxed day with our closest friends and family with good food, drink and a great party!
We didn’t really have a theme as such, Chiswell Street had a really lovely elegant feel to it that didn’t need a lot of dressing so I stuck to white flowers in simple pots from Ikea and lots of chalkboards for the seating plan, and signs around the venue that I bought as prints on eBay and mounted myself. I also bought chalkboards and easels for the table numbers and mini chalk heart pegs that went on everyone’s wine glass as their seating position.
I kept the colour scheme simple, opting for white flowers and blush pink for the bridesmaids so I added a few blush peonies to my bouquet too.
I had always said I wanted a silk/chiffon wedding dress, something floaty and maybe a little boho but my actual dress was much more fitted than I thought – a beautiful Pronovias dress, chiffon with lace and a low v front and back. I put it on and zipped it straight up, the perfect fit and so comfy! It was the first one I tried on. Though I tried lots, something kept taking me back to that one, everyone loved it and the shop were selling their sample so it was even under budget, it seemed like a sign. I bought it there and then.
As it had come in under budget I splashed out on a beautiful pearl and diamante head piece from Gillian Million who had been highly recommended to me, she made it to order and it went perfectly with my dress, she even custom made me a matching cuff. The only other jewellery I wore on the day was my mum’s silver and emerald ring, as my something old.
Andy wore a blue three piece suit from SuitSupply in London, with brown brogues from Ben Sherman and a Zara tie, which matched the best man and ushers. I bought him a Lanvin silver tie pin as his wedding present too which finished his look off perfectly!
The bridesmaids wore gorgeous Ted Baker blush pink maxi dresses, which had lace that complemented my dress perfectly. I managed to find flower girl dresses in almost the identical shade from Autograph at M&S, they also wore M&S cardigans and shoes and tights from Debenhams.
The best man and users all wore blue suits from Moss Bros, their own white shirts and the same blue Zara tie as Andy. Our son Reuben, wore a navy waistcoat and trouser set from Next with a white shirt, bow tie from Ted Baker and his favourite Converse!
As a special touch to the wedding day, Reuben carried the rings on a beautiful personalised ring cushion that I bought from MissSDesigns on Etsy. We really wanted him to feel part of the day and he even brought them up to the registrar, we were so proud of him and all walked down the aisle together at the end of the ceremony.
My wedding car was a black London cab, our friend Gary was a cab driver and kindly offered to be our chauffer for the day. The boys also borrowed a friend’s Bentley to arrive in London in style and we hired a Routemaster bus from London Retro Bus Hire to take the guests from the town hall to the reception.
Our photographer was Georgina Martin. She is Sheffield based and I came across her through my sister during her wedding planning, we instantly loved her work and booked her for our day. As she was in Sheffield and we were in Essex we didn’t meet that much before the day but she fitted in perfectly and made us all feel relaxed. Andy wanted someone to be around while the boys were preparing in the morning too so Georgina brought an assistant Charlie and both girls were great, they captured our day perfectly.
The wedding bouquets were gypsophila and my bouquet also had some pink peonies in to tie in the girls’ dresses. They were from a local florist in Hornchurch called Emma’s Ivy.
Pinterest was my best friend in wedding planning, I created a board of all my ideas and went about sourcing them! To decorate we used gypsophila again at the venue in simple Ikea pots tied with a Mr & Mrs ribbon. We also hired some amazing light up letters in our initials from Vowed and Amazed, which everyone loved!
Other details included white bunting bought from eBay, along with the chalkboard signs and I sourced some lovely banners for the sweet and cake table and a personalised one for the fireplace in the reception from Celebrating Together on Etsy. I also bought some giant balloons in our colours with beautiful tassel tails from Bubblegum Balloons, these were a last minute purchase that I’d been holding out to see if we could afford at the end but I’m so glad we did as they make amazing photo opportunities.
We didn’t have favours as such but the chalkboard heart pegs on everyone’s glasses were theirs to take away and quite a few guests took to wearing them as name badges throughout the day!
We wanted to keep the cake simple along with the rest of the theme. I came across an image on Pinterest and then went about finding someone who could make it for us. I found Millie-Ann at Ever After Wedding Cakes on a wedding blog, she’d done a beautiful modern cake for another London wedding so I got in touch. We met in a shopping centre and she brought me some delicious cupcakes to sample and I was sold! We went with three tiers, the top two lemon with lemon curd and the bottom chocolate, I also added in some red velvet cupcakes, which were amazing!
We had prosecco and summer berry cocktails as arrival drinks on the day. For the food we went for a pear and stilton salad and a choice of Chiswell Streets’ signature fish pie or an Irish stew and dumpling for the main and miniature Amalfi lemon tarts and vanilla cheesecake with cherry jam for those that had room for dessert. The food really was amazing. In the evening the waiters brought round bacon sandwiches and fish and chip cones, and cut up the cake to soak up the alcohol!
In terms of entertainment, we wanted to create a party to resemble your best night out with your friends with all the songs we knew would keep the dancefloor going all night so we were recommended Love 2 Groove DJ’s by a friend and we cannot fault them. They started with some Motown classics, we had Al Green Lets Stay Together as our first dance, which was a very special moment, and everyone was singing the words and joined us on the dancefloor halfway through. By the end of the night the dancefloor was packed with guests dancing to old school house music until midnight. We had lots of compliments on what a great party it was.
For our guest book I bought a Fuji Film Instax Mini Polaroid camera and made a frame to hang the photos in with pegs and twine, I bought a few props by Ginger Ray and everyone had fun taking silly pictures and leaving us notes. The pictures are a great memory of the day, especially the ones as the night went on!
We would definitely recommend Chiswell Street Dining Rooms to other wedding couples. Nicole our event planner was amazing and couldn’t do enough for us, she made the whole day come together exactly as we had planned. It was everything we’d wished for.
We’d also recommend Feel Good Invites who supplied our invitations. This was actually the same company my sister used and she recommended him to us. The quality was very good as was the service, we were really pleased with the finished product.
My favourite part of the day was the actual ceremony, you put so much time into planning the reception it sometimes slips your mind about the actual ‘getting married’ part. The whole thing was so special, walking down the aisle with my dad, seeing my husband-to-be waiting for me and our amazing son being such a big boy and handing over the rings. I felt so happy and proud at the end of it when we all walked down the aisle together, a truly unforgettable moment!
For our honeymoon we went to the Amalfi Coast in Italy; four nights in a beautiful boutique hotel in Sorrento and three nights in a spa hotel on an idyllic island called Ischia. It was the perfect finish. We went without our son and it gave us time to relax as husband and wife and look back and reflect on what an amazing day we had. My parents and sister kindly took our son away too so he didn’t miss out!
It sounds like a complete cliché, but a wedding day really is the fastest day of your life so my top tip for other Brides Up North would be to take time to take it all in and enjoy every minute!
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July 28th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Yes you read right, for today’s wedding we’re heading to Chester Zoo to relive Sam and Dan’s gorgeous big day.
Despite how it might sound there were no ‘I dos’ in the lion den or drinks reception in the elephant enclosure, for Chester Zoo has a stunning manor house in its grounds, which is available for ceremonies and receptions.
Not only is this wedding incredibly beautiful, thanks to Sam’s love of all things shabby chic, but it also looks incredibly fun, with guests smiling, laughing and generally having a fab time in the somewhat unusual setting.
But enough from us, we’ll let you see the wild and wonderful day for yourselves.
With images by Yana Photography.
sam says: We got engaged in January 2012, while we were in Madrid. Dan had the proposal planned for a while and I didn’t have a clue. I knew we were going to Madrid but thought it was just for a bit of sightseeing. Dan was trying to pop the question down a cute little street but I was too busy looking around so instead he asked me once we got back to the apartment, after a lovely meal out.
We decided to set the wedding date for 16th May 2015 as we thought it would be a good time of year weather wise.
We got married at Chester Zoo, in the Oakfield Manor House. Dan come across the zoo as a wedding venue on the internet and as we didn’t want a traditional wedding, we thought it would be perfect for us. Which it was. We live quite close to Chester so it was an ok distance to travel for us and our guests.
The theme and colour scheme for the wedding was ‘pastel shabby chic’. I love everything and anything vintage so the styling was always going to be along these lines and pastel colours work really well for a shabby chic wedding.
My dress was from First Lady Bridal in Wrexham. It was the second dress I tried on and fell in love with it straight away, it made me feel amazing. I always knew what kind of dress I wanted and it was just perfect. The dress was full length ivory, fitted, fishtail style, with a huge train. It was full lace with pretty beading detail. My veil, with full lace trim, was the best bargain of wedding – an eBay bargain! My shoes were a light pink/salmon colour from Kurt Geiger.
Dan wore a navy fitted suit from Matalan, waistcoat from Next, shoes from Zara and a navy and white floral printed tie that really worked with the theme, which was from Primark. All the groomsmen were in matching suits, again from Matalan.
I only had one bridesmaid, my 13-year-old sister. She wore a light blue maxi dress, with multi-coloured floral print all over, from ASOS. She had pastel pink shoes and belt to match.
My mum arranged the transport for me as a gift. I had a Jaguar to travel in, which was hired from RB Wedding Cars, Wrexham.
Our photographer was Yana Photography, who we would definitely recommend. Yana was really friendly and helpful with family and friends, and the pictures look amazing!
Flowers were provided by Vivid Floral Design in Wrexham. My bouquet was made up of beautiful pinks, blues, pastel coloured peonies, roses, gypsophila, gerbera among other flowers. I went for a meadow look. My bridesmaid’s bouquet was a mini version of mine, we both had lace and hessian wrapped around to carry on the theme.
All venue decorations were either made by myself, friends or family. I had a very DIY approach to the wedding which fitted the shabby chic theme really well. Decoration wise I had hessian table runners, and chair bows, ditsy print napkins, engraved wooden table numbers made by a friend, bunting made by myself and a friend, jam jars dotted with hessian and lace trim filled with flowers, tea cups and jugs filled with flowers and our name places were little flags with different floral/ ditsy print, which were made by a friend.
Our favours were Tunnocks Tea cakes. They worked well with theme and looked really cute.
We didn’t have a traditional wedding cake to cut, but instead a dessert table for guests to help themselves. My friend (Button Bakes) is amazing at baking so I asked if she would make a lovely selection of cakes: classic Victoria sponge, chocolate cake with raspberries and lemon cupcakes.
To provide the evening entertainment, we hired a DJ called Steve Lewis Entertainments, from Chester. My friends, family and I absolutely love dancing so I wanted someone who was going to play amazing music all night for us to not stop dancing. And that’s exactly what happened – lots of dance offs!
For extra entertainment we had a sweet stall for guests and a dress up corner, which was lots of fun.
As a special touch on the day my brother played the guitar for when I walked down the aisle and after the ceremony. Also, our wedding rings were specially made using my mum and dad’s wedding rings. My dad passed away before I was born, so this was something my mum suggested. A really lovely idea and they mean so much to us.
We would absolutely recommend our wedding venue to other couples. The staff were amazing on day, everything went perfect. The venue is absolutely stunning inside and the guests have the zoo to keep themselves busy. No bored guests at all.
It’s so hard to pick a favourite part of the day but I would have to say the ceremony itself was amazing, a lot more emotional than I thought. I also loved the first dance, it was perfect – I felt so happy and in love. We keep playing the song in the car all the time, as I want to relive that moment over and over again.
Following the wedding we had a short minimoon – a five day break in a log cabin in Keldy Forest, Yorkshire, which included a hot tub, prosecco and lots of food. We just wanted to completely chill out. We took our dog with us too, our little family getaway. Perfection.
My top tips to other Brides Up North would be to look around for bargains and do as much DIY as possible, it adds an extra touch and nobody else will have anything like it. But the main thing is, do what you both want. It’s your day so make it perfect for the both of you! It will be the best day ever so take it all in, as it will be over before you know it. I was crying at the end of our night because I didn’t want the night to end and our guests to leave.
Our day was made perfect thanks to the amazing help we had from family and friends. All my girls chipped in and paid for us to stay in the Double Tree Hilton Chester for the wedding night and they had the room decorated for when we arrived. My two best friends made a video of how Dan and I got together, which we loved – it was so funny. My mum, sister, nan and family members did a surprise routine to Beyoncé for me. They’d been meeting up for months in secret and doing rehearsals – this was the best wedding gift ever! Finally, I had my grandad and step dad give me away.
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