Real Weddings

Real Wedding Recap 2019: Stella York for an chic wedding at Stanley House – Emma & Tom

Katie Byrne

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 6th January 2020 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from the latter half of 2019. 

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.

An elegant monochrome colour palette – with pops of blush adding some extra pretty – was chosen for Emma and Tom’s stylish celebration at the breathtaking Stanley House in Mellor, Lancashire.

From the sugar flowers on the wedding cake through to the stationery on the tables, a luxurious palette of black, white and pink was woven through this sleek reception. Tip-top entertainment – including a magician and a saxophonist who performs in Ibiza – combined with a carefully-chosen menu and exquisitely decorated space to create a party like no other. And don’t get us started on that honeymoon.

Read on for Emma’s account of how she and Tom planned their dream wedding day – Pinterest boards at the ready, people.

With images by Bobtale Photography.


Emma says

: We got engaged in August 2017 in Santander, Spain. Tom surprised me whilst on holiday with friends as we’d gone to a National Park area to watch the sunset. I turned around to find him down on one knee! I was shaking and so happy – it’s not easy to surprise me but I was completely taken aback. It was the best holiday ever.


We got married at my local church, St Vincent de Paul in Over Hulton, Bolton, on 16th August 2018, and had our reception at Stanley House.

When viewing venues, we fell in love with Stanley House. We’d been before but only on a spa day – our hearts were set on it and we didn’t want to wait for a weekend date in 2019. Tom’s a teacher so we wanted to get married during the summer holidays, and it all added up to mean a Thursday was the only available date. It turned out to be amazing – it meant we could make a long weekend of it with all our family and friends.

We knew we wanted somewhere modern and stylish, and when we viewed Stanley House at an open day event, we fell in love. I was in tears and had to ring my mum to get her to come and see the room dressed. We booked the venue that week.

We loved everything about the venue: the bar and outside area, the room, and, of course the grounds and bedrooms, as well as the idea of having exclusive use. We even took over the spa the morning after the wedding – it was heaven.

The venue is perfect for a modern, classy and intimate wedding. From the planning team to the management team on the day, everyone at Stanley House was brilliant. They looked after us and made sure we felt comfortable with everything. The venue is stunning and the beautiful bedrooms make it extra-special. It was perfect!


We knew we wanted a look that was modern, classy and stylish. I know rustic weddings are popular – but that’s just not our style! We opted for a colour scheme of white, black and blush, and also wanted to incorporate our love of travel into the day, which we did through our stationery.


I wasn’t looking forward to dress shopping at all; I was overwhelmed at the thought of trying on something so different from my usual style. I got emotional over all the choice – I didn’t know what I liked or didn’t like. Emma Louise Bridal were great though and I went back to them at a later date and found ‘the one’.

It was a Stella York dress: blush-coloured with a subtle sequin underskirt. It was fitted around the waist but not too fitted around the thighs. I didn’t know I’d pick blush but the colour really suited my skin tone and I liked that it was a little bit different. I loved my dress; it felt very classy.


Tom knew from the start he wanted to wear a tux; he got a tailor-made design from Whitfield & Ward in Wilmslow. He wanted to feel extra special in his suit and have it fit perfectly, so tailor-made was the only option for him. He looked like a prince – and felt like David Beckham!

The ushers rented black tuxes from Whitfield & Ward.


I had two of my closest friends as bridesmaids, as well as a younger bridesmaid (aged seven). We picked True Bride dresses from One Special Day in Astley, Manchester. I loved the fact all the dresses were from the same collection. I wanted them to be elegant and they were exactly that – we loved the shoulder and waistline detail on the older ‘maids outfits, whilst Sienna looked gorgeous in her puffy flower girl dress. They were the perfect combination for all three girls.


Emma Hair Freelance styled my hair, and also dressed me – she was a really calming and professional influence on the day. My makeup was done by Make Up By Lucie.


Tom travelled to the venue in a white Phantom Rolls Royce, whilst the bridesmaids travelled in a white Bentley Spur Car hired from People To Places in Altrincham.


We would 100% recommend Robyn from Bobtale Photography. We met her at another wedding last year and we knew she’d do a great job. She was so lovely on the day and incredibly professional as well. Despite being six months pregnant, she never stopped on the day. She took some gorgeous pictures on the morning of the wedding, captured our whole day brilliantly and stayed much later than originally planned in order to get some great evening shots.

Robyn was able to rally our friends and family around for group shots, and knew exactly how to capture the more private shots of Tom and I. The results were brilliant and we love all our wedding pictures.


Our videographer was Emma Shields from Moondance Media: she was professional and slotted into the background on the day. We weren’t sure about a videographer at first but we love our wedding video – it captures the day brilliantly. And we love the drone footage, too!


My wedding bouquet was designed to tie in with the colour scheme and was created by Verdure Floral. They are a large events florist and we fell in love with their modern, sleek approach; they also styled the tables, too.

We had tall floral centrepieces for the reception, combined with arrangements of smaller flowers and floating candles on each table. All the flowers and decorations were white, blush and black. Creative Cover Hire provided chair sashes, ‘love’ letters, blush tablecloths, pillar lights, uplighters and star cloth to bring the whole room together and create a classy, sophisticated look.


For our wedding favours, we made donations to Cancer Research UK and gave the men prostate cancer pin badges and the women heart pin badges for breast cancer awareness.


Just Gorjuss Cakes in Bolton made our wedding cake. It was three tiers, with chocolate and lemon tiers, as well as fruit cake. We designed each layer ourselves to feature black, white and blush; hand-painted sugar flowers were used to decorate the cake.


The menu-tasting at Stanley House was great and we tried a bit of everything. For the canapes and drinks reception, guests could choose from champagne and beer. For the wedding breakfast, we tucked into slow-cooked ham hock terrine with Lancashire cheese sauce, and then chargrilled chicken breast with dauphinoise potatoes, served with seasonal veg and red wine jus. For dessert, we had fresh fruit meringue nests, served with pressed raspberries. We love food and this menu represented a great mix of fresh, local ingredients turned into a delicious meal by the chefs. We got lots of comments about the food, it was fantastic.

We wanted the wine menu to offer something for everyone, as well as include wines that we enjoy at home. This included red French Merlot, Californian White Zinfandel and white Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, with champagne for the toast.

For the evening buffet, guests had a choice of hot roast beef and pork sandwiches.


Entertainment was really important to us; we wanted to keep guests entertained but give some wow-factor too. Andy Otley sang modern love songs and Rat Pack-style tunes during the drinks reception and wedding breakfast; he’s a great singer who was recommended to us, and he set the tone for the afternoon perfectly. He also sang our first dance song, too. Our parents surprised us by hiring Nick Marshall, a magician to perform during the quiet time after the meal – all the guests loved him!

In the evening we had music from Ellie Sax and her husband, DJ Lazerboy Wonder. Ellie played a mix of modern dance songs and classic hits and the dancefloor was busy all night.

We didn’t want typical cheesy wedding music, nor anything too lively. We chatted to Ellie beforehand to explain what we wanted. She set the atmosphere perfectly and everyone loved her – her sax is amazing as it lights up and she plays great music. The dancefloor was busy all night and again, all our guests commented on how amazing she was.

Special touches

We had a photobooth supplied by Boothtube: it was a selfie mirror and our guests were able to take home Polaroid-style pictures.

The Paper Doll provided all the stationery, while Brides Little Helper delivered the crate display and postbox for cards.

Best bit

I’d say the ceremony, because saying our vows meant so much. Our priest made us feel relaxed and we really enjoyed the ‘official’ bit of the day. We also loved the speeches and the evening reception – Ellie Sax made the night one to remember.


Straight after the wedding we went on a ‘familymoon’ to Portugal. We stayed in a four-bedroom villa with our close family and it was a great week – we were all on a high after the wedding and it was so nice to continue celebrating together. Then, in October, we went on our official honeymoon. We flew business class to Dubai, stayed for two nights on The Palm and then flew to the Maldives for six nights.

Dubai is our favourite holiday destination and is very special to us: guaranteed sunshine, great food and luxury hotels – what’s not to love? We then chose the Maldives because we wanted to enjoy the holiday of a lifetime. We hadn’t been anywhere like that before and it was simply idyllic. We flew to Male and took a private seaplane to our island. It was 2.5 km long with beaches on both sides. We enjoyed six days of heaven!

Our beach villa was beautiful and the staff on the island treated us like royalty. Favourite moments included the live cooking demonstration at the Teppenyaki restaurant, hiring bikes and cycling around the island, seeing sting rays on the beach, hiring a jet ski, relaxing by the adult-only pool with a cocktail… I could go on!


My top tip to other Brides Up North is – be organised and make the day as personal to you as possible. We knew we had planned it to a tee so didn’t worry at all on the day – we also knew everyone would enjoy themselves. We wanted to savour every moment too. It’s the best way to take it all in!

During the planning, we found Brides Up North’s online directory was great for researching suppliers.

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