It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely. Usual service will recommence on Monday 10th June 2019 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from the first half of the year so far.
Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your real wedding was one of our top picks.
It was love at first sight for today’s featured couple, Charlotte and Marc when it came to their beautiful wedding venue – the magnificent Swinton Park, a Yorkshire castle, which the bride quite aptly describes as a fairytale setting.
Going for a classic black and white colour scheme, this worked flawlessly with their ever so grand setting. The pretty flower arrangements and bouquets have ‘pin me’ written all over them too – and we just love Charlotte’s very specific brief to her florist – no cauliflowers in sight!
And for the dog lovers out there – your heart is going to melt when you see Poppy in her big white bow!
Let’s hand over to Charlotte for all the details…
With images by First Sight Weddings
Charlotte says: Marc had always said he wouldn’t propose in the UK so when we booked our summer holiday to Dubai and the Maldives, I was secretly hoping he would pop the question. This was until I packed all of his luggage and there was no little jewellery box in sight! We spent four nights in Dubai and no proposal came so I stopped thinking about it, we had bought our first home six months before maybe this wasn’t the year. On previous holidays we’ve always taken advantage of the private dining options in resorts so as soon as we checked into our villa in the Maldives (Coco Palm) we started planning a date in that we could do it. On 13th June 2017 as we were walking to our private meal on the beach we were taking photos of the sunset. We arrived to the end to the island and Marc suggested taking a photo by the sea so I turned to pose for the picture and realised Marc was on one knee! Written in the sand were the words every girl dreams of “will you marry me” – the waiter managed to grab a snap of the special moment and rushed to us with seaweed in hand for me to write a very shaky “yes” in the sand! It was absolutely magical. Marc had been designing the ring with a local jeweller for months and he could not have gotten it more perfect. He’d been to ask my parents’ permission, which meant the world to me, we decided to keep it our little secret for a whole 24 hours!
We got married on 16th June 2018. Marc and I have always known we would spend the rest of our lives together, so for us there was no reason to wait! I think Marc secretly didn’t want to give me too long to plan otherwise I could get carried away and spend a fortune! For work commitments, Marc only has time off in June so we knew the month, I wanted a Saturday as I wanted a whole weekend of celebrations. With the short notice all registrars were unavailable on the first Saturday of the month so the 16th June 2018 was our date!
Our venue was Swinton Park, Masham, North Yorkshire. We are from South Yorkshire and whilst there are many gorgeous venues locally, I wanted somewhere that no-one I knew had been married at before. As soon as we cast our eyes on Swinton Park we fell in love, it is a stunning castle set in 200 acres of grounds. Everything about it was just perfect; I knew I wanted our wedding to be an escape to a fairytale for us and our guests. The castle has 32 bedrooms and we hired the whole venue exclusively for the weekend so people could really enjoy some time away. On the morning of our wedding I watched guests go on walks, children playing football and people visiting the onsite spa!
For the evening reception we had a huge sperry tent from Papakata on the Swinton estate. We were adamant that we wanted people to all be in one space on the evening time so that we didn’t lose any atmosphere. Papakata designed us a gorgeous area with different mood lighting, log fire pits with benches etc. Hire and Style helped us decorate the sperry with black velour chesterfield furniture, poseur table and chair sets, mirrored coffee tables and a huge mirrored circular bar. We had a separate gin bar serving a “Roberts” cocktail to celebrate our love of gin. Swinton supplied some gorgeous floral displays in here too.
We just wanted a classic and stylish wedding that would give us timeless memories and photographs.
To fit in with our stylish look we went for a black and white theme – the ultimate black tie! We had white blossom trees, rose petals and candlelight.
I really had no clue about what sort of dress I would like, I visited a few boutiques and trawled rails trying some dresses on and saying “yes it’s lovely but I don’t feel a connection”…until I went to The White Room in Sheffield.
This was a completely different experience as the ladies (Sarah and Karen) could not have been more helpful. They had researched my venue and as soon as I walked in, they were reeling off names of dresses they wanted to see me in! These ranged from smaller figure-hugging dresses, to big fairytale princess dresses. I loved them all but the second dress I tried on just felt perfect! It was the one! Mayfair by Suzanne Neville – I loved this gown; it hugged every inch of my body in the perfect way, completely plain but luxurious material and a crisp white.
Then Sarah brought the Sienna jacket by Sassi Holford and my dream dress was realised. Sienna is a back-to-front lace jacket that looks attached to the dress but gives a little bit of cover up which is exactly what I wanted for my ceremony. It also meant I could remove this for the evening reception and feel like I had a completely separate look!
I also wore the most amazing Jimmy Choo shoes – Violla 110 white suede and crystal sandals with an ostrich feather tassel.
Marc had a bespoke tailored suit from Clements and Church. A lovely tailor (Adam Tuckey) visited our home and we chose every single inch of it together. It was a classic black tux with a velvet black bow tie. Some amazing details included his initials on his shirt cuff, his name under the collar and our wedding date in the inside of the jacket. Marc also wore some Christian Louboutins.
I had one maid of honour and three bridesmaids who wore long black evening dresses from ASOS. They were gorgeous with a lace top and open back with a huge bow on the bottom of the back.
I had two flower girls who wore gorgeous ivory full-length dresses from Debenhams – they both had a gypsophila full crown and star wand made by our talented florist.
My good friend Charlotte Hawley did my hair and makeup, and that of the bridal party. Charlotte has always been my go-to makeup artist and knows every centimeter of my face!
Photography & videography
Gary and Martin at First Sight did all of our photography and videography. Their management of the day was spot on, I had expressed that I did not want to spend hours of the day posing for photos and we definitely didn’t. We enjoyed every second of our day and the photography and videography captured those special moments naturally. People always gave us the advice “take time out together to just enjoy each other and the day” which is what we did on our outdoor pictures and the guys captured those conversations and kisses on the head in the most organic way.
Laura at Mint & Moose did all of our floristry and she is the loveliest lady ever! She is naturally talented and from my basic descriptions “white but not cauliflower looking” she created the most stunning bouquets and displays.
I had a medium sized shower bouquet, flower-heavy, with a small amount of foliage to create texture. It was a waterfall bouquet full of white avalanche roses, calla lilies, hydrangeas, peonies, stocks, freesia, lisianthus, dahlia, astrantia, nigella, ammi, parvi eucalyptus, rosemary, mint leaves and other foliage. The bridesmaids had hand-tied posy style bouquets with similar flower content as me. Neat, round, no trailing pieces.
For the venue, we had blossom trees supplied by Twisted Willow for the aisle and also half of the table centrepieces. The other centrepieces were black candelabras with a collection of three vases placed around the base. Each vase contained a grouping of flowers used throughout the rest of wedding, with one type of flower per vase, such as hydrangea, roses and stocks.
We also had floral arrangements using the same flower types for the top table, registrar table etc. We used a lot of candlelight with hurricane cases, lanterns and votives.
In place of favours, made a donation to Cancer Research on behalf of each guest and we provided a feather pin and a card explaining we wanted to support the fighters, admire the survivors, honour the taken and never ever give up hope.
A friend of a friend (Laura Hancock) made our cake. It was a beautiful four-tier white cake with one silver tier and cascading orchids. The flavours were vanilla, salted caramel and chocolate.
We had king prawns in filo, sweet chilli sauce and small cottage pies with Truffle as canapés for our drinks reception.
The wedding breakfast meal was a traditional four courses: plum tomato and chorizo broth, confit duck leg, butterbean and shallot salad, truffled fine beans, poached free range chicken in Parma Ham, French style pea, creamed potato and fine beans. And my favourite, sticky toffee pudding with custard, followed by tea, coffee and petit fours.
We had a string quartet, Concept Music, playing for guests as they arrived at the ceremony. As the bridal party made their way down the aisle the string quartet played a version of Christina Perry’s Thousand Years and the traditional ‘here comes the bride’ for the bridal entrance.
A highlight of the day was the acoustic duo, 24 Live, who performed throughout our drinks reception and wedding breakfast. They sang a huge mix of current and classic songs along with an acoustic guitar – everyone loved them!
Finally, we had a DJ and sax from Club Class, they were amazing and really got the party started. We danced to Ronan Keating’s This I Promise You, we’d had this song in our minds for years as the lyrics are just perfect for a wedding first dance. Then the sax came out to play and everybody hit the black and white checkerboard dancefloor and never left all night! Our final song was supposed to be Lighthouse Family High which is one of our all-time favourites but the party was still going strong by the 1am finish time meaning the DJ didn’t end up leaving until 2am! Final guests were still going strong at 6:30am – it really was a party!
I created lots of special touches myself, including drawing out all of the welcome boards and signs. I loved the gin bar styling – even creating my own gin garden! We really wanted our guests to feel special, so I secretly collected wedding photos from the couples who attended on their own special days, I then created an inspiration tree showcasing all of the couples in our lives.
The dancefloor and photo selfie mirror were from Wedding Venue Lighting who were super helpful and really easy to work with. The girls who worked with the mirror were so friendly and bubbly and made sure to keep a guestbook including copies of all the hilarious photos taken!
Lastly, we’re known for being crazy about our dog Poppy, she was Marc’s birthday present from me a couple of years ago and is a gorgeous yellow lab. Of course, we could not have imagined our day without her there. Whilst she didn’t have a “bridesmaid” or “ring bearer” role as she is timid and would have panicked, she was sat on the front row with a big white bow with her name on. The venue were amazing and let her roam around all weekend, she even sat under our feet at our wedding breakfast! She makes a special appearance in our wedding video and it captures her brilliantly. We have since completed our doggy tribe with Olive the black lab and our only wish is that she’d been with us when we were married but she would have only been three weeks old! Anyone who can have their dog with them on their wedding day – do! I was nervous that she would be too scared and would damage the venue in some way, but she was a dream and you want ALL of your family there on your special day!
Swinton Park was just like a fairytale castle and we felt like the king and queen. From the moment we arrived on the Friday, staff made sure we enjoyed the time there and never felt stressed – they even unpacked our cars for us! It wasn’t just a wedding, it was a weekend away for us and our guests. We have been back to stay there since the wedding, which I think is a huge bonus that we can re-visit.
The ceremony was my favourite part. Marc was really emotional and couldn’t even turn around whilst I walked down the aisle. Our photographer caught a series of photos which show him really emotional, then I am walking behind him and arrive at the front and huge smiles came across our faces. I also wrote a poem to Marc and read this myself during the ceremony, I was proud of myself for being able to read it and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house! My mum also did a reading for us and it just highlighted the joining of two families.
We went back to the Maldives, we loved it so much – we couldn’t think of anywhere better! We did visit a different island and it was utter bliss. We went to Ozen by Atmosphere and we were so spoilt, we spent our whole time being with each other, indulging in gorgeous food and drink, dolphin watching and relaxing in the spa. We took a special trip on a jet ski to a natural sandbank where we were the only two people around for miles and on the way back we swam with a huge manta ray – what a time to forget the GoPro!
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to have your day filmed, it goes by in the blink of an eye so to be able to watch the video means you will see different things every time you watch it. We watch our video more than we look at our photos!