Prepare to get pinning ladies as this morning’s real wedding is a true beauty!
Having dreamt about her wedding day since being a little girl, bride Michaela knew exactly what she wanted for her moment in the limelight – from her dress to the décor!
The result of her careful planning is a beautifully classic wedding celebration, centred round a romantic colour scheme of white, grey and silver (a Brides Up North favourite!) The attire of the wedding party is a definite highlight for us; from the men’s dapper suits and bridesmaids’ lacy dresses and, of course, Michaela’s fabulous Sassi Holford gown.
With images by our superstar Brides Up North Sponsor Laura Calderwood Photography.
michaela says: We got engaged on the 13th February 2013, in the middle of Central Park, New York. New York was in the middle of a snow storm with below freezing weather conditions so our trip was definitely a cold one. The sun was shining on the 13th and the temperatures had increased so we took a stroll through the park. We started off with a horse carriage ride around the park where Ben had initially planned to pop the questions but our rider had plenty to say and Ben could not get a word in edge ways so he had to change his plan. As we were walking through the park he got down on one knee near the John Lennon memorial “Strawberry Fields” in front of a lot of tourists. I could tell Ben was very nervous and embarrassed doing it in front of others and it took me a while to get my response out from nervous laughing but I eventually said “yes, of course”. He said he felt like he was down on one knee for ages with people starring and taking photos.
Our wedding took place on the 1st May 2015. I always wanted a spring wedding as it’s my favourite season and the 1st May is a special day for me as it’s my grandma’s birthday. It was lovely that my grandma got a double celebration on her birthday plus she got to spend it with all her family. It was a double advantage that it fell on a Bank Holiday weekend so we had an extra-long weekend of celebrations.
We got married at the Rudding Park Hotel, Harrogate. We knew as soon as went to visit that it was the perfect place for us to have our big day. It was a mixture of old and new, modern and traditional, which is exactly what we wanted – plus it had gorgeous grounds, which was another thing on my wish list.
I always wanted a classic wedding with a modern twist so this was the theme I ran with. I had grown up watching American chick flick movies and got a lot inspiration from them when I was a teenager so I knew from a young age things I wanted when the time came for me to have my own wedding.
As our planning got underway we chose a lot of grey, silver and white which came to form the colour scheme. We also added a mixture of mirrored objects into the decor to give it a stylish modern twist.
Choosing my dress was luckily a simple and stress-free experience. I had a day out with my mum and bridesmaids and went to two or three boutiques and tried on about seven dresses in total. I eventually chose ‘the one’ at a lovely little shop called The Swanky Bride in the Huddersfield village of Kirkburton. I think my mum and bridesmaid knew it was the dress for me before I actually did as their reactions said it all as soon as I walked out of the dressing room.
I went for a So Sassi dress which is the esprit label from Sassi Holford. It was an ivory white dress with a floaty skirt and a beaded and lace bodice. I chose a beautiful silk ribbon for around my waist and Sue from Swanky Bride embroiled lovely little grey crystals flowers to match the design on the lace. The detail was amazing. I also opted for a lace jack with capped sleeves which went down to a deep V at the back with lovely little white buttons. It almost looked attached to the dress and people were shocked when I took it off at night to create a strapless dress, which looked completely different – more night time party style.
I fell in love with my shoes when I saw them on a real wedding blog post. They were Carvella shoes from Kurt Geiger which were white pointed court shoes encrusted with white glitter. They had sold out when my time came to buy them but luckily Ben found them for me and bought them as a surprise. I was so happy that I got my perfect shoes. I still love them and wish I could wear them for nights out!
On the morning of the wedding my hair and makeup was done by stylist Laura Maria.
Ben wore a lovely tailored black tuxedo with a black waistcoat, white shirt and white bow tie. We got his suit from Next, who were extremely helpful and patient with sorting out Ben and his entourage of five best men and two ushers.
The groomsmen wore the same tuxedo as Ben from Next, however they didn’t have waistcoats and we choose black bow ties for them. They all looked really smart. The priest who took our ceremony commented on them looking like a gang of security guards, which made us giggle.
For the bridesmaids I chose a beautiful grey/oyster coloured floaty dresses from Dessy. I absolutely loved them and thought they were just perfect on the day. They suited all my bridesmaids. They too had a floaty skirt and a lace rounded neck bodice.
Our wedding car was a silver Chrysler, which we hired from Instyle CS, based in Halifax, take us to Rudding Park.
Laura Calderwood was our photographer, who came highly recommended from a friend who had used her for their wedding the previous year. Laura was so lovely, down to earth and relaxed which helped us feel at ease as both Ben and I are not keen on getting our photos taken but Laura’s approach was calming and easy going. We would highly recommended Laura to other couples.
We also had our wedding day filmed by a company called Butterfly Films.
I carried a bouquet of white peonies with rosemary and mint – it looked and smelled amazing. My bridesmaids had tulip bouquets and the groomsmen had little peony buds for their button holes. We used Caine of Harrogate. They were used for my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding seven years previously and knew I would always go back to them when it came the time to plan my wedding – both Caine and Lance did not disappoint us.
Lance from the florists is very creative and during our first meeting, with me explaining the theme and ideas for decorating the venue, all his creative thoughts came flooding out. We opted for classic white chair covers and a black satin bows, provided by Creative Cover Hire. We then hired large candelabras for our wedding breakfast tables with a mixture of silver wine coolers filled with tulip flower arrangements. Our top table had a row of greenery to the front with tea light candles in and amongst and Lance placed empty square vases at the top table for the bridesmaids to place their bouquets in after the ceremony so they doubled up as top table decorations.
For the chapel I hired a lovely love-heart candle stand from Creative Cover Hire, which held 40 candles, and stood it at the alter along with 50 assorted sized candles wrapped in greenery, which were placed down the stairs of the alter. We also bought a few large lanterns to place around the chapel, which were then transported to the reception where we had lots of silver voltage candle jars.
My bridesmaid Steph, who is very creative, made us a set of silver glittery ‘Mr & Mrs’ letters, which looked lovely against the tea lights at night. Steph also created our confetti cones, dipped in silver glitter with a thin silver ribbon attached to match the theme of the wedding. We filled them with silver foil pieces rather than the traditional confetti.
I wanted a mirrored table plan for the reception after seeing one in a real wedding blog post and loved it. I thought it was so stylish and unusual. We bought a large silver mirror and a friend of mine, who is a graphic designer, created us a laminate stencil to place over for the mirror. It was so effective.
For favours we decided to give out personalised boxes of Jelly Beans (as they are our favourite sweets). We also placed thank you cards and little silver crackers on the tables which helped as a little ice breaker as they had ‘getting to know your questions’ and jokes in them. For the page boys and flower girls we had personalised boxes made up which had a variety of games, toys and sweets in them to keep them occupied throughout the speeches – they definitely did the trick!
Our wedding cake turned into a bit of a story! We decided to go for a lemon flavoured white cake from Marks & Spencer and my friend Steph was going to decorate it for me with white icing flowers and layer of silver leaf. I ordered my cake months in advanced but when I went down to collect it just a few days before my wedding M&S told me the cake had not been ordered. We were so shocked and confused but thankfully my friend is a keen baker and created us a stunning four tier cake in the matter of 48 hours. She got us out of a very tricky situation.
For our wedding breakfast we chose a delicious meal of tomato soup for starter, followed by a pallet cleanser of pink champagne and blueberry sorbet on a thick love heart block of ice, which was so cute. For mains we had a chicken with potato and beetroot and for puddings we opted for sticky toffee pudding for the boys and kiwi cheesecake for the girls (however a lot of girls said they swapped with their partners as they liked the look of the sticky toffee pudding).
Entertainment during the canapes was a string quartet, which played a mixture of classic and modern songs. For the night time entertainment we had a DJ who played all our favourite songs and we also had a photo booth from Photo Blast, which most guests visited throughout the night. Seeing all the drunken photos the day after was a real giggle.
Rudding Park was an amazing venue for our wedding and so we would certainly recommend it to other brides and grooms. The food was to die for and the staff were so helpful. Our honeymoon suite was out of this world – it’s such a shame we didn’t have longer to enjoy it. In hindsight I wish we would have booked an extra night’s stay.
I can’t pick a favourite part of the wedding as the whole day was amazing, but a highlight had to be watching all our family and friends enjoying themselves. We wanted to do the wedding for them as much as for us and, from what I have heard, everyone had a lovely day.
For our honeymoon we went to the new Sensatori hotel in Jamaica. It was so amazing, we would go back in a heartbeat! It was super relaxed and the weather was lovely – bar the daily 20 minute tropical rain shower, which came as a bit of relief after the hot weather.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – budget, plan and keep calm. We had 27 months to plan our wedding and we set out a budget and saving plan from very early on which made things a lot easier for us when it came to funding our big day. Work out what are the most important parts of the wedding for you and spend the most on the bits that are and least on the bits that don’t matter to you much.
Try to keep calm as it’s really not worth getting stressed over. Planning your big day should be one of the best experiences of your life and you should be able to look back with happy memories rather than stressed unhappy memories. I was so chilled out and relaxed when it came to planning my wedding, my friends and family were very surprised by my laid back approach but looking back on things now I have happy memories of the whole planning aspect.