We may be supposed to be heading into high summer right now (although as I’m writing this there is hail beating on the window outside) but here at Brides Up North HQ just the very sight of a winter wedding makes us dream of mulled wine and mince pies, getting us excited about the chillier months to come.
If you’re in the middle of planning your Christmas wedding, Rachel and Gareth’s seasonal celebration has it all – stunning wreaths complete with red berries and mistletoe, warm comforting food and a classic red colour scheme.
So forget about the (lack of) sunshine – an easy ask for us northerners – wrap up warm and let’s head to the stunning Peak District to relive this gorgeous couple’s big day.
With images by Richmond Pictures.
rachel says: We got engaged in London. We had given a voucher for a meal for two in the Apex Hotel at Tower Bridge as a Christmas present. We booked the meal for 8th February 2014 and decided to make a night of it by booking a room there too. Gareth proposed in the hotel room as we were getting ready to go down to dinner. It was a bit of a shock but I couldn’t have been happier!
We got married on 13th December 2014. We both really wanted a winter wedding, there’s something romantic about that time of the year and the run up to Christmas. The crisp, frosty days and (hopefully) blue skies outside while we cosy up inside, perfect!
We got married at Fulwood Old Chapel in Sheffield. We picked this as we wanted to get married somewhere close to where I was brought up. The chapel is small and intimate so it was perfect for our numbers and we felt it would be nice to have our family and friends fill the whole place and really feel like a part of the ceremony.
Our reception was held at The Maynard in Grindleford, Derbyshire. We went to a wedding fair there and knew straight away it was the perfect venue for us. There are stunning views from the rooms looking out across the Peak District.
As it was coming up to Christmas we played a little on that and had a snowflake theme. We had snowflake Christmas tree decorations as wedding favours, the cake was decorated with snowflakes and our stationery and table confetti was snowflake themed too.
We picked red and silver for our colours. Again because of the time of the year. The bridesmaids had red dresses which looked stunning and vibrant in the winter light.
I chose a dress by Ronald Joyce from Brides by Losners in Stamford Hill, London. I picked this one because my mum and my bridesmaid cried when I put it on – so I was pretty sure this was the dress for me! It was the complete opposite of what I’d imagined for myself as it was quite fitted, but I loved it from the first time I tried it on.
On the wedding day my makeup was done by Lisa Kirby in Sheffield and my hair was styled by Kirstine Allott of Kutz in Dore, Sheffield, both of whom I would recommend.
I travelled from my parents’ house with my dad in a vintage Jaguar while my bridesmaids travelled to the chapel in another vintage jaguar. These were provided by a family friend.
Karina and Tom Lax of Richmond Pictures were our photographers. We would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a wedding photographer. They were so professional but also fun and friendly and made us feel totally at ease throughout the whole day. Karina and Tom really did their homework before our big day and found an amazing place for us to have some pictures taken after the ceremony; it was like something out of Wuthering Heights! We are absolutely over the moon with our photos, a perfect reminder of our special day for us to look back on.
Our flowers were provided by Vikki Baxter at Jo Price Flowers in Sheffield. I had a bouquet of red roses, mistletoe, red berries and Christmas tree twigs.
Vikki also provided the flowers for the chapel and reception. We had a heart shaped wreath above the door at the Chapel and arrangements around the inside with the same flowers and foliage as the bridal bouquet and also cinnamon sticks, orange slices and nuts to make it really Christmassy. We also had Christmas wreath style table centre pieces around hurricane lamps, lots of tea lights and a twinkle curtain as a back drop behind the top table, which were provided by Weddings by Dragonfly.
My mum, my bridesmaid and I made snowflake Christmas tree decorations as wedding favours using snowflake wire form beads and ribbon. These also doubled as place names as we threaded name tags on the ribbon with our guests’ names on one side and our names and the date on the reverse.
We chose a three tiered cake iced in white and decorated with snowflakes. Each layer was different flavour – vanilla sponge, chocolate sponge and a fruit cake. The fruit cake was made by my mum and the rest by a family friend.
For our wedding menu we picked winter warming food – chicken with bubble and squeak and a sticky toffee pudding dessert. We had champagne for our toasts so we could celebrate in style!
We really wanted our guests to have a great time and leave thinking ‘wow’ so we hired a magician for the drinks reception and a photo booth for the evening reception, provided by Rhythm of Your Choice. My parents also booked some singing waiters who performed during the meal. This was a complete to surprise to the both of us and also to all our guests. One of the waitresses dropped a whole tray of cutlery which got everyone’s attention, and then started singing ‘Let it go’ from Frozen as she got up from the floor! It was such a shock but soon everyone was joining in, dancing and waving napkins in the air! We had a band in the evening called Banzai and a DJ provided by Rhythm of Your Choice.
We would recommend both the chapel and The Maynard to other couples. Janet and Peter at the chapel were so friendly and helpful from the minute we booked our ceremony with them. It’s perfect for smaller weddings. I would recommend The Maynard for its setting. There are so many beautiful places for photos and stunning views from the venue. The food, drink and service on the day were all excellent.
The ceremony itself was our favourite part of the day. Having all our family and friends in one place at the same time who were all there to support us and celebrate with us was so touching.
We went to Kuramathi Island Resort in the Maldives for our two week honeymoon. We had a month between our wedding and honeymoon so we could enjoy Christmas at home with our families. The resort was fantastic and just what we wanted. White sandy beaches, beautiful blue seas, excellent food and drink, and stunning sea life on the house reef where we went snorkelling every day.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – try to relax and enjoy the day! Look around and see all your friends and family who are there for you.