As keen jet-setters today’s bride and groom decided on a subtle travel theme for their fabulous big day, which was held at a stunning hotel in The Lake District.
We love the romantic pink and white colour palette and simple, elegant blooms, but most of all we love Lauren’s dress! Not many brides choose a halter neck design but this bride shows how to pull off the look perfectly.
With images by Bethany Clarke Wedding Photography.
lauren says: We got engaged while in The Maldives. James had arranged for us to stay the entire holiday in a private house on the beach. One day, after another very relaxing afternoon of snorkelling and relaxing, we went back to the villa to shower and get ready for dinner. He shouted me from the balcony, “Loz! Come and see all the crabs on the sand! There are loads of them!” I quickly wrapped my hair in a towel and ran out to see. I looked at the sand and couldn’t see any crabs. I was confused for a few seconds. Then I read the huge letters, “marry us or wha’?” in the sand; a very funny Teesside proposal!
I immediately cried my eyes out and whipped around to see him on one knee, with the most beautiful engagement ring. It was so personal and so very ‘us’. We’ve not lived in Teesside for years (we now live in Leeds) but often mock each other in that unmistakable accent. The proposal felt so romantic and so very intimate, along with James’s amazing sense of humour. It was utterly perfect.
Our wedding was on 30th August 2015. We chose it for practical and sentimental reasons too. We wanted a date where decent weather was most likely, and the end of the summer tends to be when it’s at its best. The end of summer has always been significant for us though as it’s when we had our first date, when we moved to Leeds, into our first house together. The fact it fell on a Bank Holiday meant our friends wouldn’t have to take time off on the Monday sealed the deal for us!
We married at Linthwaite House Hotel, in Windermere. I’d taken James there for an anniversary, years ago. I’d never visited before then but had read incredible reviews of the food. We love our food and wine so it made sense to take him there – and we weren’t disappointed. When it came to selecting a wedding venue, we’d looked around the Lake District but nothing came close to the standard of Linthwaite, both in terms of food, service, setting and décor. We wanted an intimate wedding, where quality was more important than quantity, and that’s exactly what we got.
We had a subtle theme of travel. When we first started dating, James was in the merchant navy and I was working for Emirates, as cabin crew. We’ve both travelled lots, separately and together and we still go on holidays as often as we can.
We didn’t really have a colour scheme. We didn’t want to do the ‘faff’ element of a wedding or for the planning to become a chore. Our priorities were having guests who have played a part during our relationship and, after that, having good food, good wine and a good DJ!
When it came to my dress, I knew I wanted something simple and halter neck. I found my dream dress by total luck! One afternoon in Leeds, I saw a wedding shop and went in to browse. I just wanted to see what was around and gauge the styles available; I saw my dress there. This beautiful, elegant and simple dress was there, among all the shiny, full gowns and sparkles. I loved it. It was the first I tried on and I tried on another 25 to 30 gowns across Leeds afterwards, but nothing came close. The dress was called Grace, by Ronald Joyce.
James and his best man wore navy and grey suits. James had his suit bespoke made at Michelsberg Tailor in Leeds. We spent a couple of lovely afternoons there, flicking through the sample books and looking at the details of his suit – the fabric, the lining, cut, buttons, and lapels. There were so many elements to consider! When it came to fittings, he went alone. We figured if I can surprise him with my dress, why shouldn’t he surprise me with his suit?
I asked my bridesmaids to choose their own dresses in blush pink, since that colour suits both of them. They have very different styles and I wanted them to be able to enjoy wearing the dresses and have the option to wear them again. My sister Emma chose a very slinky BCBG dress, which suited her perfectly, and my best friend Kerrie chose a more structured number from Coast, which was much more her style. They both looked incredible.
The best man, Jonny, had got married a month before us, so Jonny wore his wedding suit as it complemented James’s suit perfectly. Having the bridal party in complementing outfits, not matching, set the tone for a relaxed day and felt much more modern.
The wedding party stayed at Linthwaite the night before the wedding. To the shock of some of our friends James and I stayed in the same suite the evening before. It made sense to us though – being with each other meant we slept well and I waved him off in the morning, saying “see you later!” with a real sense of excitement.
Bethany Clarke was our chosen wedding photographer. We’ve known Beth for years, through a mutual friend and admired her work for a while. We didn’t want an overbearing photographer who would dictate how they wanted things – we knew Beth would work around the day and get the natural shots we wanted. She didn’t disappoint and captured some really gorgeous moments from the day. I couldn’t recommend her highly enough.
Brackens also put together some lovely rose and gypsophila, which was arranged in jars we’d collected and I’d bought some rose scented candles for each table. The table names were places we’ve visited together and each table had a picture of us that had been taken in that place. The top table was named Rodley, as that’s where we live and that’s where our next big adventure will take place – improving our home, looking after our dogs and (hopefully) starting a family.
For the favours we didn’t want to give out cakes and sweets that would just get left on the table. Instead James and I made luggage tags that invited guests to ‘celebrate and have a drink on us’, which were handed to guests as they left the ceremony.
We adore our food and drink and so considered it an important part of our day. The wedding meal consisted of dressed crab with butternut squash and mango to start, roast chump of lamb with dauphinoise potatoes and green beans for main course, and baked lemon tart with raspberries and raspberry sorbet to finish. Linthwaite’s food is incredible and our guests were suitably impressed.
For the entertainment we surprised our guests with a string quartet, called The Wedding String Quartet. James and I spent some time listening to their amazing playlist and decided on a selection of modern songs. We asked that they play The Final Countdown before I walked down the aisle. It was a brilliant moment, standing at the top of the aisle with my bridesmaids and dad, hearing all the guests laugh at our little joke. It really helped to create a relaxed and fun atmosphere, before the tears (mostly from me!) took over as I struggled with my vows. Two of our guests were so impressed with the music that they’ve booked the quartet for their own weddings, later on this year.
Our evening DJ was Stephen from Edensound. I’d contacted him with a very eclectic list of the music we like – and he was fantastic. We’d asked that he played ‘pig bag’ (the song that Middlesbrough football team walk out to on match days) after the first song. We’d hoped that would break the ice and get all of our family and friends on the dancefloor – it worked a treat! It was an amazing moment, and got everybody laughing and ready to dance the night away.
We wanted both the food and entertainment to be really special, and they were. I’m really pleased we were able to think of ways to personalise and bring our sense of humour to the day – with the travel theme, pictures on the tables and the very special musical surprises that made every guest laugh and smile with us.
We absolutely love Linthwaite and cannot wait to go back again. The staff couldn’t have been more helpful or accommodating and the setting, service, food and wine were all incredible!
Looking back I have so many highlights from the day. Sharing laughter with our guests for The Final Countdown and ‘pig bag’ was really special, as was spending the morning, getting ready with my girls. I don’t think anything can top the ceremony though – saying our vows, surrounded by our closest family and friends was incredible and a moment I’ll never forget.
A few days after the wedding we had a minimoon, staying in a cottage in East Sussex. We took the dogs and had a wonderful week. Then, in January, we went on honeymoon to Cape Town, South Africa. James booked the most fantastic boutique hotels and we ate in some awesome restaurants. We stayed in Bantry Bay, then travelled to Franschhoek (the wine region) then on to Garonga Safari camp, where we spent five days in complete awe! South Africa was stunning and we’d definitely go back.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to do what you want to do. We weren’t influenced by what others might want or expect and I honestly believe that’s why neither of us were stressed during any point of the planning! We didn’t see the need for a cake, so we didn’t have one. After hearing of people not getting any sleep the night before the big day, we decided to stay together. Some traditions just don’t fit with us, so we didn’t do them. Even after the wedding, I’ve kept my own name. Do your own thing so you can enjoy your day, your own way!
We set out to have a simple day, with good food, wine and funny moments with our favourite people – and that’s exactly what we got!