This morning we’re heading to the North East to relive the stunning wedding day of Lerina and Joelif.
Having fallen head over heels for The Grand Hotel in Tynemouth, Brides Up North reader Lerina set about organising a fun and fancy wedding in just six months! Certainly no mean feat but she pulled it off perfectly with a big day full of smiles, tears and laughter, as well as lots of pretty hearts and flowers. Who run the world? Girls!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Paul Liddement Photography.
lerina says: We got engaged the day after my birthday last year. Joelif decided that we should have a wonder into Tynemouth, where we live, for some food. We went down to Riley’s Fish Shack which is on King Edwards’s beach. It was a lovely bright, crisp afternoon. We had a hot chocolate and fresh grilled lobster salad whilst we sat overlooking the beach. When we finished, we walked back up the stairs from the beach when Joelif suddenly stopped and got down on one knee and produced a red ring box. He opened it and there was the biggest diamond ring inside. My jaw almost hit the round. He asked if I would marry him and I instantly said yes. He put the ring on my finger then was quick to tell me it wasn’t a real diamond, he’d decided that we could go ring shopping together as he knows I’m fussy with jewellery. After that we went to one of our favourite bars and sat outside in the sun drinking champagne to celebrate. I then called my family to tell them the exciting news! Just over a month later we had our engagement party at a local bar/bistro called The Sandpiper. It was a fantastic night.
Our wedding date was 7th May 2016, exactly 15-and-a-half years to the exact date that we first got together.
We got married at The Grand Hotel in Tynemouth, which is just a five-minute drive from our house. The Grand was the last venue we looked at as we had been guests at a number of our friends’ wedding there and didn’t think it would feel special if we held our own wedding there. However on the day that we attended an open event there we instantly felt excited about it. The venue had been refurbished since we had last been. It was so much brighter and fresher and had new furniture in the bar area. The ceremony room looked stunning, so classy and exactly what we wanted. When we went up the grand stairs to the main room where the wedding breakfast takes place, it over looks Tynemouth Longsands beach and it just took our breath away. Instantly we knew that we had found our venue. We thought we would enquire about availability or late summer 2016, however the latest summer date was 7th May so we immediately went for it and paid the deposit. This gave us just six months to plan everything.
We wanted the style of the wedding to reflect the venue, which is grand, classy and romantic, but at the same time, we wanted the wedding to be fun and relaxed to match our personalities as a couple.
We had hearts as a theme in the form of heart cookies as wedding favours, a DIY personalised drop box as an alternative to a guestbook for people to write their name and message on wooden hearts to put into a frame, and we had gold hearts hanging on the aisle chairs in the ceremony room.
Another theme was flowers. My best friend is a florist, she did all of the flowers, so the main decoration was lots of flowers on tables in vases and in tea light holders. It felt perfect for a spring wedding to fill the rooms with lots of fresh white, cream and pink flowers.
Our chosen colour scheme was blush pink and gold. The bridesmaids’ dresses, men’s ties and pocket squares, chair sashes, wedding favours and middle tier of the cake were all pink, and I had a pink themed wedding table. The place names were in gold, we had some mercury vases and picture frames also in gold. When planning the wedding I was instantly drawn to those colours. Blush pink is a flattering colour on all skin tones and looks so dreamy, and romantic. It feels like a symbol of love and hearts too, which tied in with our other theme.
My dress was by Essense of Australia, bought from Accent Original Bridalwear in Newcastle. It was the second bridal shop I went to. The ladies in the shop were fantastic, they really listened to what I wanted, and they took an interest in my wedding and gave me great advice and ideas for my dress. I am extremely top heavy and only 5’3” so I had a vague idea of what style of dress would suit me but I was open minded to suggestions of other options.
As soon as I tried the dress I knew instantly it was ‘the one’ – I felt amazing and so comfortable in it.
The dress was a beautiful all-over ivory lace fit and flare style with sparkling diamante beading throughout, sweet heart neckline and romantic cap sleeves which could be worn off the shoulder or on the shoulder. I had the dress customised by an amazing seamstress, Gayle at Accent. The dress came with ribbon sash with a diamanté detail centre which I chose not to wear on the day as I felt the dress did not require any additional diamante detail and it kept the dress more simple, which I preferred.
In terms of accessories, I wore a simple full length veil which had no detail as I wanted all of the attention to be on my dress. I also took a day trip to The Trafford Centre in Manchester and bought Jimmy Choo court shoes in a classic silver and gold design. I felt so special in my dress and shoes.
Joelif, my dad and the four ushers wore three-piece navy blue slim fit suits from Next, white shirts with blush pink ties and pocket squares, which had a subtle floral pattern in the same pink colour. Buying the suits worked out not much more money than hiring the suits and doubled up as a gift for the ushers.
My bridesmaids wore blush pink full length tulle dresses. The design was by Kelsey Rose. The style had a high neckline with subtle beading detail on the neck and a ribbon waist band. My bridesmaids were all so different in shape and height, but the style suited all of them beautifully. I got them from Brides Dream in Walker, Newcastle upon Tyne.
On the morning of the wedding I gave each of my bridesmaids a box with a white and blue floral linen dressing gown and matching blue flip-flops so that we were all coordinated for the pictures, along with a pair of silver diamanté earrings and a Chanel lip gloss along with a thank you card. I’d also ordered personalised white coat hangers from Stag Design to hang my mam’s, the bridesmaids and my dress on. They had our names, wedding date and venue engraved on them.
Our photographer was Paul Liddement. He had been used by a couple of people I know and he was also recommended on Brides Up North. I had looked at his work online and loved the relaxed style of his images so I got in touch and he was available for our date. I liked the idea of Paul capturing natural pictures as it feels organic rather than lots of awkward formal pictures with forced smiles. Also the natural pictures feel more artistic and would actually love to hang them up on our walls at home to display them and feel really proud. Paul also happens to live nearby to us so it felt great having a local guy who knows the area and the venue do our pictures. We also had a pre wedding engagement shoot with Paul in February 2016 at King Edwards’s beach where Joelif proposed. It seemed very appropriate and Paul was able to capture some lovely pictures there as well as up at the Tynemouth village green area. This helped us to get to know Paul and his style of photography as well as getting comfortable with having our pictures taken.
We had a videographer for the day as well – 2 Little Ducks, who are based in Leeds. I found them via Brides Up North. The company is ran by Jamie and Becki who stayed all day to film. They didn’t intrude at all and were very reasonably priced. The trailer of the wedding day was sent to me whilst we were on honeymoon which we were delighted with and we can’t wait to see the full video. As part of the package they asked family/friends to film a best wishes message to us which will be added to the video. I thought this was a lovely personal touch to our video.
The bouquet I carried was the same as the bridesmaids but bigger. It included pink, cream and white roses and peonies. They were created by my best friend and florist Naomi – or Naomi the Flower Girl – who was also one of my bridesmaids.
The same types of flowers in our bouquets were also use to dress all of the tables for the wedding breakfast, registrar table, on the mantel piece in The Oak Room where the ceremony took place and in The Grand Chambers where we had our night time reception. We had gyp tied to the aisle chairs along with the gold hearts that we bought from B&M. All of the flowers were so fresh and beautifully presented!
Crosby Hire supplied the chivari chairs that we hired. I like the vintage yet modern look of the chivari chairs which were a reasonable hire plus delivery and collection was prompt.
To provide further décor we bought lots of vases and mercury tea lights from Dunelm Mill, B&M, The Range, Country Baskets and Fenwick. We also had a “get drunk and dance on the table” sign and I bought organza chair ties in pink. The photo booth props used in the evening were placed in mercury bottles on the guest tables – I got these from company called Ginger Ray who I found via Not On The High Street.
As a special touch we had a table of pictures of the family on display, including the ones that we have lost as it was important to us that they were remembered.
In keeping with the colour scheme, I had a pink sweet table where the wedding cake was displayed along with marshmallows, bonbons and doughnuts. I bought the sweet jars and cake stands from Home Bargains.
Finally, for the extra wow-factor, we had our initials in lights provided by Coco Luminaire. The letters were displayed in the wedding breakfast room then transferred to The Grand Chambers in the evening.
We gave our guests two favours: heart shaped cookies with a light icing with our names stamped on, which were presented in pink organza bags tied with pink ribbon. They were made a local company called Vanilla Teas. The cookies were delicious and everyone loved the personal touch. I also ordered wooden calligraphy place names for the wedding breakfast which were sprayed in gold. They were practical but also doubled up as favours. So many people said how unusual they were. They were made by an online company I found through Facebook called VMM Bespoke.
Our wedding cake was a three-tiered design in pink and white to coincide with the colour scheme. The bottom layer was chocolate sponge and the icing had a white ruffle effect. The middle was pale pink, with edible white lace and a silver diamanté broach in the centre. That was lemon sponge. The top was white with white and pink flowers on top and was a traditional fruit cake.
For the wedding breakfast we had a starter of cream of butternut squash soup with chive crème fresh, followed by mains of fillet steak, parsley and truffle mash potato, creamed leeks and Madeira jus. To finish we had dark chocolate tart with berry compote, hazel tuile and Chantilly cream.
As entertainment we had magician Chris Cross, who was there after the ceremony to entertain guests while Joelif and I had our pictures taken on the beach. Later, for the night time reception we had good friend and local radio DJ Wayne McDonald. He played all of our favourite songs and we danced all night. We had a photo booth provided by Snaparazzi for the evening too. Our guests had lots of fun with that and we also got a copy of the pictures in a guestbook.
After our wedding we would absolutely recommend The Grand as a venue to other couples. It overlooks the beach, is great for pictures and the venue itself is a listed building so it really does feel special and grand. The decor inside is beautiful. It had traditional feel but also feels current with its light decor and white voile draped at the windows. The staff were very helpful and ensured our day ran smoothly.
Looking back, my favourite party of the wedding day was our first dance. The song we picked was a simple choice, Wifey by an R&B group called Next. It has always been our song. It is upbeat and the lyrics were appropriate and got everyone in the mood to dance all night. At that point we could forget about all of the formalities of the day time and just dance the night away. It was so much fun to see all of our guests dancing, getting drunk and enjoy the food and photo booth.
Following the wedding we went on honeymoon to Playa Del Carmen in Mexico. We wanted to just go somewhere hot where we could just dump our stuff for two weeks and relax. The hotel was called The Royal. There were five restaurants to choose from, the day and night time entertainment was fantastic and cocktails aplenty! There were many options for day trips and sightseeing. We spent one day catching a ferry to the neighbouring island of Cozumel where we hired a scooter. The island was so small and the roads were quiet. We spent the day stopping at a couple of beautiful intimate beaches, we had fresh seafood on the beach and I had massage whilst overlooking the sea. It was breath taking. It was a perfect honeymoon, everything we could have hoped for.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – don’t stress. We only had six months to plan our wedding so I didn’t have much time to overthink things. I just went with my heart and booked things that I liked the look of, which meant I was able to keep calm and go with the flow. Also, I know it’s a clique but it’s so true that the day goes so quick so just enjoy every moment. Finally, we had a videographer for the full day which is definitely worth it because there are parts of the day that you forget or don’t get to see. It’s great to look back on the DVD – something to show the grandkids!