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get set, sparkle. ian stuart for a winter wedding at armathwaite hall – emma & mark

20th September 2016 | Julia Braime

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Today on the blog we have some beautiful inspiration for those of you planning winter weddings as we share the details of Emma and Mark’s big day.

Following an Ikea proposal (don’t worry, he made up for it), Emma and Mark set about planning an atmospheric November wedding, complete with lots of soft candlelight and sparkling décor.

Going all out on the opportunity to wear a big dress, bride Emma chose a stunning Ian Stuart gown with accents of shimmering silver to match both the colour scheme and season. Now that’s what we call a dress with the wow-factor!

With images by Jonny Draper Photography.

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emma says: We got engaged in Ikea over meatballs! Honestly! But then we had my engagement ring specially made and Mark surprised me with a trip to London to see the Lion King (I love Disney). He got us box seats and had champagne and chocolates put in the box. It was amazing!

As we loved the idea of a Christmas or winter wedding we set the date for 28th November.

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Our chosen venue was Armathwaite Hall in Keswick. We both love the Lake District and when we went to look at venues Armathwaite felt really personal. I like modern venues and Mark likes old fashioned and Armathwaite had the perfect blend of both.

To fit the time of year we went for a sparkly wedding theme (with a hint of Disney!) As we knew it would be dark outside we thought lots of sparkles and candles would look great.

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When it came to the colour scheme we knew that we didn’t want everyone in the same colour as we had an unconventional bridal party in that the maid of honour was male and we had female groomsmen. I also wanted each of the bridesmaids to have dresses that suited them, rather than sticking to a certain theme. In the end we went for pale pastel colours accented with a silver shimmer.

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I chose to wear an Ian Stuart dress from Ava Rose Hamilton. I instantly fell in love with it. I’d tried on about seven or eight dresses beforehand but none of them made me excited, or felt quite so special. I knew I wanted a big dress – the sort that you can only ever wear on your wedding day – but also wanted something that really suited me. I loved the silver woven into the lace of the dress and that it had a huge skirt but fitted silk body. I never thought I would get a strapless dress but the minute I tried it on I knew it was right.

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Initially Mark was getting tailored suits, but it became quite complicated trying to work out how to get all the groomsmen to the tailor to get them made. One member of the party was coming from Australia and the others were spread out. In the end we went to Moss Bros. Coordinating all the men (we needed ten suits) was quite a challenge.

The ‘groomswomen’ and bridesmaids had dresses from Coast and Jenny Packham at Debenhams. The flower girl’s dress was from Monsoon.

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As the whole wedding was in one venue we drove up the night before and stayed over at the hall. I stayed with my bridesmaids in the spa end of the building, whist Mark stayed in the old fashioned side.

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Jonny Draper was our photographer and we would highly recommend him! He was hilarious and got some great pictures. He fit seamlessly into the day. He certainly knows how to capture the mood of the day in photographs.

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For my wedding flowers I carried orchids and the bridesmaids had mixed bouquets. We got some beautiful button holes for the groomswomen too. All our flowers were from Vandella in Carlisle. They were amazing! We could not have been happier. We were let down by our original florist only a month before the wedding and they took on everything in a month. The flowers also lasted for ages afterwards!

Vandella provided the flowers for the venue too. I was very exacting about our table centres. I really wanted big centrepieces with suspended orbs with candles. They said they hadn’t done such a style before and ordered in new glassware especially. Fantastic service!

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As favours we gave our guests beautiful little petit fours that we found on the Cheshire Markets from Tinkiiana. We were thrilled with them. They made a variety to match our theme. We also had our stationer – The Paper Doll, based in Liverpool – make beautiful little boxes to put them in. Getting the stationery made was actually one of my favourite parts of the wedding planning. We had Disney quotes on a lot of the stationery, in particular on the table number cards. We also had special confetti boxes and lovely little timeline cards for the day, which had a list of the wedding party members on the back. I really enjoyed working with The Paper Doll and would recommend this supplier to other brides and grooms.

Our wedding cake was a chocolate and vanilla creation made by 2nice2slice in Penwortham near Preston. It had four tiers and matched in beautifully with the theme.

Given the time of year we decided to have our very own version of a Christmas dinner as the wedding breakfast, which went down well with our guests!

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For the evening reception entertainment we decided to go with the hotel’s resident DJ. We love cheesy pop and we’ll dance to anything! He was brilliant and there was a great atmosphere on the dance floor.

Our guest book was a ‘drop box’ style where guests could write their message on little wooden hearts and drop them into a frame. We also had sparklers at the evening reception, complete with little wooden tags with “let love sparkle” and the wedding date carved on.

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After holding our wedding at Armathwaite Hall, we would definitely recommend the venue to other couples. We loved it. It was such a personal and well organised venue with a lovely atmosphere. The staff were so helpful we couldn’t imagine having a wedding anywhere else.

On reflection I’d say the ceremony had to be our favourite part of the wedding day as it’s what the day is all about.

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After the wedding we went on a minimoon to New York, and are currently planning our main honeymoon to Bora Bora for next year.

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to enjoy every second! Listen to advice from everyone around you but ultimately remember that it’s your day and have fun with it.

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