Today we’re giving you a second helping of gorgeous real wedding inspiration in the form of Gemma and Richard’s big day at Upper House.
Taking inspiration from an expert in prettiness, Cath Kidston, Gemma got busy sourcing lots of sweet, vintage buys online to help set the scene before roping in groom Richard to assist with some handmade décor.
The result is a wedding day that’s beautiful, colourful & fun, just as the bride desired!
With images by Lissa Alexandra Photography.
gemma says: We got engaged on 22nd Dec 2013, whilst on a ski holiday in France. After a spectacular gondola ride across to the glacier in La Plagne, Rich suggested we ski away from the crowds to take some photos. We stopped and Rich took off his skis. After rummaging in his coat, he handed me a half bottle of champagne. He continued to rummage. Next appeared two small plastic pots, which transformed into champagne flutes. He got down on one knee and said “Gemma, will you marry me?” and I replied “I absolutely will!” Cue a random Frenchman that took our photo!
We set the date for 18th July 2015. We wanted a summer wedding and we needed to save up – so summer 2015 was an easy choice.
Our wedding took place at Upper House in Hayfield, Derbyshire. We knew from the start that we wanted a venue that was in the Peak District. Rich and I relocated from St. Albans a couple of years ago to live in the Peaks, so we really wanted to show our southern friends why we had moved north!
I went to view Upper House with my mum (Rich grew bored of seeing venues pretty quickly!) and as soon as we drove down the bumpy track through the woods, I knew I wanted to get married there! As we walked around the venue I fell in love with it and that was that!
I wanted a colourful, fun, vintage theme for the wedding. One of the first things I bought was the floral bunting! But it wasn’t until we found the bridesmaid dresses on Lindy Bop that the theme was really set as a ‘Cath Kidston’ vintage feel. The colour scheme was also driven by the bridesmaid dresses – light blue with pink flowers.
I originally really wanted an Audrey Hepburn style knee length dress, but having tried a few on it quickly became apparent that style did not suit me at all! So I started to try on every different style and it turned out a mermaid shape suited me best. In the end I went for Wild Flower by Ian Stuart. I wouldn’t have even tried it on if Gemma from Fairytale Brides hadn’t brought it to me in the changing rooms. As soon as I put it on I knew I wanted it. We did have it altered from a V-Neck to strapless though, as that seemed to work better on me.
I then got the matching veil in the sale and rounded the outfit off with the most amazing shoes in the world ever by Irregular Choice! They had Prince Frogs on the sole and a rose growing up the glass heel – what more could a girl want! I also found the cutest little clutch bag with a big pink flower on, on Not on the High Street (NOTHS).
On the wedding day my makeup was done by Flossy & Leigh. Phoebe and Jenni were incredible. It was so reassuring to be in their hands on the morning of the wedding. They took away any opportunity for pre-wedding stresses and made me feel beautiful!
Rich wore a gorgeous Hugo Boss suit. We went out to look for a suit in the January sales and ended up buying the only suit that was full price! His pink tie and matching pocket square came from a shop I found on Etsy called OTAA, which is in Australia.
All the bridesmaids wore dresses from Lindy Bop. The adult bridesmaids wore Ophelia Vintage 1950’s in Sky Blue Floral. My cousin Scarlett wore Sandy in Pink Polka Dot and looked gorgeous!
The groomsmen meanwhile all wore suits from Moss Bros in Manchester. There was the most incredible salesman (Michael) who hunted down all the sizes in the January sales for us, so we got lovely three piece suits and shirts for a really good price. I then bought some polka dot bow ties and matching pocket squares from OTAA. No one trusted me on the bow tie front, the boys were quietly sceptical, but I think they looked fab on the day! I also found cute cufflinks online at gentsshop.co.uk and got them all bright pink floral socks from eBay (which of course they loved!)
Our photographer was Lissa Alexandra. I couldn’t recommend her enough. I love photography and have been the photographer at a few weddings myself so it was a high priority topic for us. I met Lissa at a Wedding Fair in Leeds and instantly liked her. I decided to book her because her style is creative and distinctive. I actually came across a real wedding of hers on Brides Up North and that made my mind up.
I’d recommend her because she not only surpassed expectation with the quality of her work, but because she became a friend in the process, someone we genuinely enjoyed having with us at the wedding.
We also had a video done of our wedding. When I was looking for a videographer, I found it pretty dull looking at lots of stranger’s wedding videos, then I found Lovebug Films and every film I looked at had me in tears! So it was a pretty easy decision. I really think Rachael is so creative, she captured the day beautifully. I would recommend her in a heartbeat!
After ordering far too many invitation samples, we picked our favourite which was a design that matched the bridesmaid dresses by Lovely Jubbly on NOTHS. She amended her design to use our fonts and colours, so the invitations matched everything else. The table plan and order of service meanwhile were supplied by Sami at To and From, who I met at a vintage wedding fair in Manchester.
The most amazing florist in the world did our flowers! It was Sandra’s Flower Shop in Glossop. I just gave them a brief of colourful / wildflowers / informal and they made magic happen. Actual magic! Sandra’s did all the flowers, including the beautiful decoration over the archway that we got married under. It all looked so special. They also put flowers in jars that Rich and I had decorated.
We did the rest of the decorations ourselves, by that I mean, I bought the bits online and then Rich and I decorated together in the week leading up to the wedding, with help from Nicola who runs Upper House. The decorations included items such as floral bunting and cushions, lanterns and vintage photo frames, mainly sourced on eBay. I also bought a little personalised crate that my mum filled with flowers from Plant a Box. This is a lovely memento, and means Rich won’t forget our anniversary!
We also went down the DIY route for our favours. As I’m into photography, I wanted to do something with photos for the name places. We found Polaroid magnet photo frames on offer at Boots which we thought was in keeping and might make a good favour so we printed photos of each guest and attached the frame to the photo using mini wooden pegs. We then bought some removable labels and printed everyone’s name out and stuck those to the bottom of the Polaroid. We presented them on mismatched Cath Kidston style napkins that I found on eBay. They went down really well with the guests and some people even ended up wearing them as name badges!
We almost didn’t have a cake as we saw costs mounting up! But my parents thought it would be a shame not to and bought us a three tier cake from Candy’s Cupcakes. Candy did a fab job of keeping with the theme and it was absolutely delicious!
Vanilla in all Seasons were our catering company. We went for a Spanish theme as I’m half Spanish. The canapes included mini paella on a spoon and cheese and serrano croquettes. The wedding breakfast starter was a tapas sharing platter. The mains were all served up for each table to help themselves, there was steak, stuffed peppers and chicken thighs stuffed with chorizo, with a smoked paprika sauce. Dessert was a mini trio.
To provide some entertainment during the ceremony, drinks reception and wedding breakfast, we had Vittorio String Quartet. They were actually recommended by a different photographer. They played soundtracks mostly as we love movie themes. I actually walked down the aisle to Your Song from Moulin Rouge and the signing of the registrar was to Tale as Old as time from Beauty and the Beast.
At the evening reception we had the most incredible rock n roll band, the Jetsetters, who we hired through Warble Entertainment. They were absolutely fantastic and kept the dance floor full all night! They were such lovely guys too, we hope to book them for anniversaries!
As a little extra entertainment, we also had a DIY photo booth area. I found an eBay shop that hired out props locally which the bridesmaids set up in the room next to the reception area. We then just set up a digital camera on a tripod, left a remote control nearby and let everyone go for it! We also had a photo frame made by Jenna at InstaFrame. She kindly took the design/fonts I have chosen for the stationary/website and used that to make a matching Polaroid frame. Judging by the photos taken in the photo booth, our guests seemed to like it!
To make the day all the more memorable we incorporated numerous special touches. This included a poem I ordered from Bespoke Verse on NOTHS for my brother Simon and Rich’s sister Anne to read during the ceremony. It was such a personal reading and so cleverly written, it was really lovely.
I ordered wooden initials from the Cross Eyed Fox on Etsy as our guest book. We didn’t want a book that ended up in a drawer, so the plan is to frame the initials and put them up on the wall somewhere. I love it, it’s such a lovely memento of the day.
I bought all the parents handkerchiefs with little messages on from Mr Teacup on Etsy. For happy tears (which turned out to be self-fulfilling!)
To help our guests that were staying over at the venue to recover the following day, I bought little personalised hangover bags from eBay. Rich and I filled them with Alka-Seltzer, Mentos, Anadin, plasters & pro plus. I also bought floral dressing gown from Etsy for all the girls at Upper House as a little gift, so we were all matching while we had our hair and makeup done. They almost didn’t arrive in time as the first lot got lost in the post, I am so glad they did!
Following our wedding we would absolutely recommend our venue to others. Upper House is a magical place to get married!
Without a doubt the ceremony was my favourite part of the wedding day. I’m not sure I can explain why, it was just perfect. It was what it was all about, what all the hard work led up to. We got married outside in the Peak District with all the people we love. It doesn’t get better than that!
We love travel, so we thought it made sense to have our wedding gift list as contributions to our honeymoon. We found an amazing service online called Our Dream Honeymoon where you can list all the activities that you want to do on honeymoon and people can buy you specific things as a gift, like Hike up a Volcano in Guatemala or Swimming with Sharks in Belize! We took a waterproof (ish) ‘Thank You’ sign with us on honeymoon and included it in photos of us doing all the various activities we’d been bought. We then used an app called Touchnote to put the photos on postcards that we sent as our thank you cards along the honeymoon route!
For our honeymoon we travelled through Guatemala, Belize and Mexico. In Guatemala, we started in Antigua with a hike up a live volcano, then went on the Lake Atitlan, climbed another volcano and misjudged how long it would take, so missed that last boat home and had to negotiate our way back! We then trekked through jungle at Tikal at sunrise to the sound of the howler monkeys (so eerie!). In Belize we started with river tubing through a mountain, then flew to the coast and swam with nurse sharks and turtles. We then got a bus up the coast to Mexico where we swam with whale sharks and finally, relaxed on the beach.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be that even if you don’t want a wedding planner in the run up to the wedding, look into having someone there on the day to coordinate all the various suppliers and make sure you know where you need to be an when. No matter how organised you are, you won’t want to be organising on your big day!