Six Months

26 Mar

It has been almost six months since my last post on Bonfire Night Bride and my, how things have changed. When I decided to put my blog to bed I did so with a view to concentrate on the last minute preparations for our wedding and simply being able to enjoy the month before our big day without having to worry about the blog. I have to be honest, no longer blogging was a huge weight off my shoulders and being able to spend more time with Tom was lovely, just what we needed. After all, you only experience the run up to your wedding day once!

As many of you will already know, our wedding went with huge success and it was featured on the fabulous Brides Up North and So You’re Getting Married blogs. I had lots of support from Julia (Brides Up North) and Phoebe (So You’re Getting Married) throughout my wedding planning which was lovely and so it was an honour to grace their pages of prettiness.

My favourite wedding photo

I won’t write much about the wedding as you can read all about it on Brides Up North but I will say that I surprised myself at how laid back I was about it all. The majority of things went to plan which is amazing and the things that didn’t, didn’t matter in the end. Our favours were eaten by mice in the castle the night before the wedding (fortunately the little buggers left just enough for each lady to have one, the men had to go without!), we forgot the sparklers and our florist was late THEN we couldn’t use most of our flowers, including my bouquet, as our florist omitted to tell us that the eucalyptus leaves would leak bright red dye(!!) but in the grand scheme of things I didn’t care. We were married and that’s all that mattered.

Getting on for five months after our wedding I have to say that being a Mrs is still weird. Hearing Tom refer to me as his wife – weird. Signing a completely different signature – weird and something I still haven’t mastered. I have only managed to change my name with my main bank and my GP purely because changing things is hassle and I’m all about an easy life. I even travelled to Spain earlier this month in my maiden name. Let’s face it, in this day and age who has a spare £77 to change a passport?! Daylight robbery.

The Honeymoon

Now the honeymoon, something I’ve been meaning to blog about since we arrived home, was out of this world. We crossed the Atlantic from Southampton to New York on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, the epitome of luxury. The crossing took a week and it was the perfect excuse to do pretty much nothing for seven days – just what you need after the stress of a wedding. We ate (and must have gained around a stone in weight), drank, slept and treat ourselves to time in the spa – having a massage on a moving ship is a very strange experience! The one thing that I was hoping for throughout the week was to see dolphins, it’s something I mentioned every day and I think Tom got a bit sick of hearing about it. On our last full day however, Tom and I were playing scrabble on the 2nd deck, as you do on your honeymoon, when I saw two little grey fins approach the window that I was sitting next to. DOLPHINS!! I was alone in my joy as Tom had left me, probably to go and bring us some more food, but I was like a five year old at Christmas. It was as if their display of jumps and spins was just for me as they scurried away just before Tom arrived back at our table. I’ll assure you I wasn’t hallucinating! This was magical and made my week. 

Enjoying champagne as we wait to set sail

Sailing into Brooklyn past the Statue of Liberty, a once in lifetime experience for us, was breathtaking. New York City is a favourite place of ours and after spending a year at university it New York State it holds an extra special place in my heart. A home from home. We stayed downtown at the trendy Soho Grand where it’s much quieter and you can escape all of the hustle and bustle of the busier uptown areas of Manhattan. We have done the tourist things previously so we didn’t want to spend too much time on those although we did visit the Top of the Rock as Tom hadn’t done this before. The views were spectacular, like looking over a Lego city below. As we were uptown, after the Rockerfella Building we went for an eyeful of the Tiffany’s holiday windows, it would have been rude not to!  We ate premium steak at Keen’s Steakhouse (divine) and took advantage of breakfast at The Cupping Room, conveniently across the road from our hotel! We also paid a visit to the talented Sarah Schor at Kings Avenue Tattoo for some cheeky honeymoon ink, something that we had been planning for a while to the horror of my mum and we drank cocktails at Soho House, a private members club in an old warehouse in the Meatpacking District. 

Breakfast at The Cupping Room

Taken on an evening walk across The Brooklyn Bridge

Top of the Rock

Tiffany's Holiday Windows

Before returning home we hopped on a train from NYC for a two day stay in Boston, somewhere Tom had always wanted to go. As it was Thanksgiving over in the U.S, Boston was very quiet but that suited us! Staying at the lovely Nine Zero hotel on Boston Common we were in a pretty central location, although Boston isn’t actually that big. We ate (once again), watched The Muppets and went on a Duck Tour which we loved!

A Duck!

Quincy Market

Freedom Trail (excuse the hair!)

Since Returning Home

We returned home from our honeymoon to the run up to Christmas, it was all go with preparations and present shopping and it gave us something to look forward to rather than feeling glum about the end of our wedding celebrations. Although I LOVE Christmas and tend to go ‘all out,’ this Christmas was naturally going to be a little bit overshadowed by the truely spectacular wedding and honeymoon that we had just experienced. What on earth could live up to that?! Well… I will tell you.

I had been feeling a little bit ‘funny’ since our honeymoon. It wasn’t something that I could put my finger on, just a feeling in my stomach that something wasn’t normal. I did have a feeling what it COULD be though and on 14th December my feeling was confirmed. After a Tesco ‘big shop’ (so very glamorous) I took a pregnancy test which was positive! EEEEEEEEEKKKK!

I sauntered through into the living room, as laid back as always, where Tom was watching TV. “Tom,” I said calmly, “I think we’re going to be a mummy and daddy.” This was music to Tom’s ears. We hugged, teary eyed and ecstatic. We were planning on starting a family straight after our wedding but we didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. Going by my dates it seems that I fell pregnant three days into our honeymoon! When the ship’s a rocking…

The next step was – what do I do about telling people? Due to the nature of my job in a mental health hospital I had no choice but to tell my manager which was very hard as I had suffered a miscarriage in 2008 so instinctively there were reservations about telling people before our first scan. Fortunately my manager was great. I was whisked off to an office away from patient contact and we came up with the excuse that “my back was buggered.” Then came the dilemma of telling my parents. At only 6 weeks pregnant we decided that we would tell our parents sooner rather than later. After all, we didn’t think it was fair that my colleagues knew but my parents didn’t and as my mum, Tom and I all work for the same NHS Trust with the same people we would have hated my parents to find out that I was having my first baby via hearsay at work.

So, the arrival of Christmas Eve gave us the green light to spill the beans. We had planned to tell my parents in the morning then travel over to Wakefield to tell Tom’s mum which is exactly what we did.

We wrapped up some bibs for my parents and as Tom’s mum is the driver of a 2 seater sports car we took her an Auto Trader. Obviously our parents twigged straight away when they opened their little gift, much to their delight. Mum cried, dad congratulated us followed by Tom announcing “he shoots, he scores.” Yeah, thanks for that Tom. Tom’s mum took a little bit longer to understand what we were trying to say, looking at her latest issue of Auto Trader with a puzzled face. When we gave her a little nudge by telling her she’s going to need a new car she got it with a gasp and hug! Our amazing news made Christmas a lot more special for everybody than we have ever imagined.

So today, at 19 weeks pregnant I still can’t believe it. I have been trying to get my head around the fact that I’m going to have to go through birth in five months time. I have been sick most days, some days violently (nice). I’ve had quite a lot of time off work and have been suffering from terrible head, back and leg aches. All in all I’ve been having a pretty miserable time but I do not hold anything against the little person growing in my belly. Saying that is as weird as hearing myself being referred to as a “wife.” We are so unbelievably excited however, only having two speeds – slow and stop, I have not yet looked into anything ‘baby’ other than prams.

We have settled on the Joolz Day Expedition which might not look as pretty as the traditional style prams but it does amazing things!

With a Labrador, a baby and a pram there isn’t going to be much room to move in our car so we wanted something small, light and easy to use which this is. Who’d’ve thought I’d be talking about prams six months ago when I posted my last post on Bonfire Night Bride?! I certainly didn’t. The only other baby related thing that we have is the moses basket. We are using the basket that my mum was bought for my eldest brother almost 37 years ago. It was then passed down through the family, used for both of my brothers and myself and then for my gorgeous nephew who is now two. It’s touching to be able to use something so sentimental that can now be called a family heirloom.

We have no idea about names or how we’re going to decorate the nursery, both of these things we haven’t made a start on yet. We don’t have a clue about sterilizers, bottles or what we need to do to prepare for having a baby but we have our next scan on 11th April where hopefully we will see that everything is ok and we will know whether it’s a little boy or girl in there. This will give us a kick up the backside to get cracking with all things baby!

So here we are. The past few months have been a huge turning point in our lives – evolving from newly weds to the prospect of being new parents in the space of a few weeks. But, it has to be said, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Laura x


Au Revoir!

5 Oct


If you saw yesterday’s stunning nautical wedding you will already know that Lori & Hassan’s post was my last on Bonfire Night Bride and I feel like I owe my readers an explanation as to why.

After much deliberation over the past week or two, I have made the decision to retire from my 9 months of blogging in order to fully concentrate on enjoying my own 5th November wedding. ‘But you have been blogging throughout your wedding planning,’ some may say. You’re right, I have and I have loved every minute of it. I have had the pleasure and honour of featuring some of the most amazing wedding suppliers,  some very excited brides to be and last but not least, the work of many super talented photographers and I send my huge thank you to each and every one of you. Without your support this blog would not have been!

As I said in Lori & Hassan’s post, I am as yet undecided as to whether or not I will be blogging after our big day. I adore being a part of the wedding world and I can safely say that,  although I will soon be a Mrs and no longer a bride to be, I will remain fascinated by all things pretty, sparkly and wedding. It is also highly likely that I will suffer from some sort of wedding planning withdrawal but only time will tell! On the other hand, working full time (and strange higgledy piggledy shifts at that) makes it very difficult to dedicate my time to blogging as well as trying to maintain some sort of normal family life with Tom and our dog. I find myself being shouted at a lot for spending too much time at my computer when not at work.

We do need to be able to enjoy our wedding and honeymoon without having to worry about the blog in the final run up and whilst we are away. All of this being said, I am going to take it one day at a time and see where the wind takes me in the blogging world upon our return!  The site will remain live and so you can pop back as you wish and I will definitely be sharing our wedding day with you. In the mean time – if I see something that just needs to be shared with you I will share it. So… you definitely have not seen the complete last of Bonfire Night Bride!

Laura x

A stunning nautical wedding… and a dinosaur – Lori & Hassan

4 Oct

I have to admit that I have a real soft spot for Carolyn Scott’s work. Her weddings and engagement shoots are everything that Bonfire Night Bride is about – colourful, fun and full of love and it is for this reason that I did a little dance inside when Lori & Hassan’s stunning September 4th, 2011 wedding in Outer Banks (North Carolina) landed in my inbox! It is just exquisite.

It is with regret that Lori & Hassan’s wedding will be my last post on Bonfire Night Bride – I am undecided as to whether I am going to carry on my blog after my own wedding but I may pop up every now and again if I see something that would be rude not to share! 🙂 I am honoured and extremely grateful to go out with such an amazing real wedding from a photographer that is not only amazing at what she does but also a beautiful person. I cannot thank you enough Carolyn!

We weren’t really supposed to shoot this wedding initially, but we were sure glad it happened that way!

I did Lori and Hassan’s engagement pictures in January, which, at this point, seems like eternities ago. Her engagement session inquiry email to me stated, “We’re planning a destination wedding and will most likely pick a local photographer there for the big day.” That’s totally cool and happens a lot. So I went about taking engagement pictures for them in downtown Raleigh on the coldest winter morning ever! I remember shaking, I remember Wrigley, their adorable dog, shaking, but them being very good sports. Well, low and behold, they received their engagement pictures back and decided to book Geoff and me for their Outer Banks wedding. We were super excited, thankful, and honored.

Since their engagement, I’ve photographed their dog Wrigley and Lori’s bridal portraits and feel like I know them quite well. I wasn’t nervous, they weren’t nervous, and the whole wedding was smooth sailing at the Outer Banks. Well, we were slightly nervous the week before when Hurricane Irene hit the coast and flooded their reception venue under 4 feet of water. But the town of Manteo did a fantastic job of cleaning up, and 108 Budleigh looked brand new. It was heart wrenching to see the damage done to some of the areas on the drive in (both structure damage and crop damage).  But all in all, Roanoke Island fared quite well… much better than expected… and the houses had little to no outside damage. Thankfully, it was all very beautiful on their wedding weekend and everyone was thankful. Lori and Hassan enjoyed their beautiful Outer Banks wedding and we were so happy to be there with them to celebrate.

Ceremony Venue: St. Andrews by the Sea Episcopal Church // Nags Head, NC

Reception Venue: 108 Budleigh // Manteo, NC

Officiant: Rev. Phillip Glick

Day-of Coordinator: Karen Kelly, Coastal Event Coordinators

Cake: Linda Bradley

DJ: Don Vaquera, Soundwavz Entertainment

Catering: Lisa Ortega, Ortega’z Grill

Florist: Monica Witt

The lighting in these photographs is amazing! Lori & Hassan you make such a sweet couple and I wish you all the happiness in the world for your future together. Lori you were a beautiful bride! I adore your sparkler send off, something we’re planning to end our night with at at our own wedding.

Laura x

Guest Post – A Thoroughly Vintage Wedding

28 Sep

Today’s guest blog is by Betty Bee whose blog covers all aspects of vintage living. Betty contact me via twitter and I instantly knew I had to share this wedding with you. I absolutely adore Bobby-Lou’s dress… and her hair!! A perfect way to inject colour and fun into such a special day.

When Bobby-Lou Hulmes started planning her wedding to fiancé Adrian she knew she wanted everything from the hen party to her wedding dress to have a 1950’s flavour. Having only become engaged on New Years Eve 2011 and with the big day set for April of the same year time wasn’t on her side but with a little ingenuity, a strong vision and creative flair she created the wedding of her dreams.

Bobby-Lou has always had a fascination for the looks of bygone eras as she explains “when I was a little girl my dad had a picture book of 1940s screen sirens and I loved them-they were covered in cellophane and I would carefully unwrap them. I was particularly drawn to the film noir pictures and have been attracted to that element of old school glamour ever since.”

For her wedding dress Bobby-Lou knew she wanted something inspired by film stars of a bygone era and was initially thinking of a wiggle dress or fishtail design but finally opted for a swing dress  “ I wanted to be able to move on my wedding day and having booked the historic Bolton Town hall for my service knew I would be negotiating many large staircases and steps and wanted to avoid any trip factor.”

Determined that she wasn’t going to fall into the trap of spending thousands on her wedding Bobby-Lou set herself a modest budget for the entire event, convinced that with a little research and imagination she could have a stylish unique wedding, which wouldn’t break the bank.

Searching online she found a perfect wedding dress at Whirling Turban. Exquisite in its simplicity and made of unbleached cotton with a pearl sheen when it arrived it fitted like a glove, nipping in her already tiny waist and emphasising her delicate collar bones and great legs. Ten denier Nude stockings with black seams and a pair of dainty ballet flats completed the look.

For her accessories her fiancé Adrian brought her pearl earrings, which her mum complimented with a gift of a pearl necklace. A Birdcage veil sourced from eBay was the perfect finishing touch adding that all-important film noir element.

Having booked Lilly Von Pink from The Vintage Pamper Box to perform hair and make up duties on the day. Bobby-Lou wore a classic Hollywood make up with three shades of brown eye shadow accentuating the almond shape of her eyes, creamy white skin and of course those all-important pillar box red lips.

For the all important wedding day hair she decided on a soft Veronica Lake inspired hairstyle. Lilly set Bobby-Lou’s hair using heated rollers with old fashioned setting lotion to create gentle cascades around her face.

Bobby-Lou’s stylish and beautiful approach continued with her choice of flowers. Classic Grand Prix roses for the bride, and a posy of pink and cream for the bridesmaid. The Groom wore a dark blue pinstripe suit and navy shirt and tie reflecting traditional union jack colours. The sun shone, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

And what did groom Adrian think of Bobby-Lou as she walked down the aisle to the stains of a ukulele playing somewhere over the rainbow “stunning” was his verdict and we couldn’t agree more.

Betty Bee x

The finer details:

Bride & Groom – Bobby-Lou and Adrian Hulme

Photographer – Nick Beedles Betty Bee Photography

Location – Bolton Town Hall

Wedding Dress – Whirling Turban

Make Up Artist – Lilly Von Pink from the Vintage Pamper Box

For more vintage inspiration check out Betty Bee Bee’s daily blog postings at the Tales From Betty Bee Towers blog. Thank you Betty! I would also like to send a huge congratulations to the new Mr & Mrs Hulme, your wedding is beautiful and you make such a sweet couple!

Laura x

Love in an Ancient City… With Ghosts?

27 Sep

I’d like to thank everybody so so much for your kind words about our engagement shoot yesterday, we’re overwhelmed with your lovely comments and messages. I’ve spent the past seven months blogging other couples (which I love!) but it was a very scary prospect sharing photos of myself and Tom!

It wasn’t until yesterday, however, that we could possibly have a third star in our engagement shoot – not our Labrador Daisy but… a ghost!

Thank you to Rachael for pointing this out, I’m now forever going to be spooked by our shoot! York is one of the most haunted cities in the UK after all though. What do you think?

Laura x

Love in an Ancient City – Laura & Tom

26 Sep

Before I joined Twitter I have to admit that I hadn’t even heard of engagement shoots but since starting up my blog I have seen some gorgeous shoots of some lovely couples who are crazy in love. I know that some people are a bit snobby towards engagement shoots, not seeing the point in them but as somebody who totally feels uncomfortable in front of a camera, refusing to have photographs taken whenever somebody points one in my face, I always knew I would benefit from a pre-wedding shoot.

It took a long long time to get my other half, Tom, to agree to having an engagement shoot done but with a lot of persuading a few weeks ago he finally agreed. Yippee! So the search for a photographer begun. We booked our wedding photgrapher, Nick White, before anything else (and waaaaay before I knew engagement shoots existed!) and so we hadn’t discussed this with Nick. The amazingly talented Mandy Charlton however, contacted me via Twitter offering her fabulous services, a date was set and the rest is now history.

So here we are, Laura & Tom’s 23rd September engagement shoot in York, North Yorkshire. I’d love to know what you all think…

We drove from where we live just outside of Hull to York for the shoot. We arranged to meet Mandy who travelled down from Newcastle for the day for us at 4pm in the Museum Gardens. We soon realised, however, that driving through the centre of York on a Friday evening might not have been the best idea – we were over half an hour late but Mandy being Mandy – fabulously upbeat – thankfully didn’t mind!

We chose the book “When Did the Statue of Liberty Turn Green?” as we met at university studying American Studies (I’m sure we probably covered the answer to that question at some point during our degree but I can’t remember much!). As some of you may already know, we are also honeymooning in New York as we just love the hustle and bustle of the city and so of course we just had to include a reference somewhere!

 I always thought I was going to feel uncomfortable in front of the camera however Mandy soon made up feel at ease, shooting away whilst laughing, joking with us and chatting about hers and ours menagerie of pets! It soon came to light that it was Tom who was more conscious of people looking at us than I was. Very surprising!

During our shoot a wedding was also taking place in the Hospitium which was extremely apt. A few ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaaahs’ from Mandy and I were shared with a tiny bit of rubber necking trying to get a glimpse of the bride – she looked stunning! And such a beautiful venue to have a wedding.

If I’m totally honest I always thought that a more fun, concept shoot was more us but the ‘lovey dovey’ stuff actually came naturally – we are getting married after all! 🙂 After some fab shots in the Museum Gardens we decided to go and grab Daisy, our golden Labrador who was waiting patiently in the car for us. We couldn’t leave her out, she’s part of the family!

Daisy is 14 months old and full of energy. Mix that with a floor covered in leaves and twigs and we have one very jumpy pup on our hands. This said, I just love how this photograph turned out. Tom and I would make perfect catalogue models here but believe it or not this wasn’t posed. We were trying to get Daisy to stop fighting with twigs and this is the outcome – I just adore it!

We had the most amazing day. We laughed, joked, loved and gossiped and we can’t thank Mandy enough for her willingness to spend a day with myself – a massive cameraphobe and a crazy dog! Big hugs Mandy, we love what you have done and your kind and down to earth attitude made us totally feel at ease. All in all a successful engagement shoot!

If you would like to see more from Mandy Charlton you can visit her blog here. Look out for the crying dinosaur, it’s possibly the cutest thing I have ever seen!

Laura & Tom x

A 1920s New York Union – LaShekia & Craig

21 Sep

Sometimes I see a real wedding or engagement shoot that makes me say “aaahhh.” This gorgeous 1920s styled engagement shoot is one of them! Sent to me by Jennifer at New York based Ayres Photography, I just love how romantic this couple come across on camera.

LaShekia and Craig came to us with an amazing creative vision for a 1920s themed engagement session and we did our best to bring their vision to life in these images! The couple live in NYC but LaShekia is a Buffalo, NY native and wanted to take advantage of the amazing architecture in her home town. All of the styling for this shoot was done by LaShekia herself and we think she did a fantastic job! The couple plan to use these images as the primary decor for their wedding. 

Just beautiful. I wish LaShekia and Craig all the happiness in the world for their wedding day! I’d also like to send a huge thank you to Jenn at Ayres Photography. You can visit their blog-site here.

For more inspirational engagement shoots visit the Engagement Shoot pages on Bonfire Night Bride.

Laura x