March 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime
March 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime
This morning, our big debate is one for the hens. We’re wondering whether your hen party will be a stretched out celebration or a one day affair? Grab a coffee (or hey, if you’re on Rachel’s side, why not make it a cocktail?), it’s time to open the floor…
rachel says: make it a weekend
I know, I know – it’s too much time away from home, it will be expensive, people will struggle to get time off work, but it will also be one heck of a good time! In my eyes if you can stretch a birthday across a few days why can’t the same be done with a hen do? After all, you only live once!
If the trip is planned in advance and well thought out so your gals have plenty of forewarning about what’s coming they will have time to save and make necessary arrangements work and family wise meaning weekend-long celebrations aren’t out of reach for all.
Indulging in a full hen weekend away not only gives you quality time with the leading ladies in your life, but it also gives you lots of time to really explore your chosen location and to let down your hair after all that stressful wedding planning – girl you earned it!
Agreed a weekend hen do is undoubtedly going to cost more than a one-night knees-up but hens can choose to make it a budget or blowout affair. For example, great value hen party packages are available with accommodation, activities, and in some cases, food and drink, all in. There are also some fab cheap breaks abroad which can work out cheaper than remaining in the UK and will give you and your girlies the opportunity to catch a tan before the big day. Meanwhile for those sticking to home turf there are some gorgeous rural retreats and city centre apartments available for groups to hire and take their own food and drink along to save money. If you take up the rural option you can also make your activities cheap too – think chilled out walks (to the pub), sunbathing (if the weather is kind), DIY pamper sessions and afternoon tea.
If push to comes shove and some girls are governed by work, family or budget restrictions it might be that they can just join you for part of the celebrations (if you aren’t travelling too far from home that is). Having different people arriving at different times can also help freshen up the group and mix people together more gradually.
When all said and done, just like your wedding should be what you want, so should your hen do and if that means a weekend away your gals need to get packing!
julia says: one night only
I have three little words for you: Three. Day. Hangover.
That’s what my last weekend long hen do did to me (and all the other ones before that). Girls, in the days of Deliciously Ella and Reformer Pilates, it’s just not the done thing to be sweating vodka on a Tuesday morning.
Ok, I get it. Your hen weekend is your last big hurrah with your girls (and if he’ll believe that, he’ll believe anything), an excuse for a bit of R&R (or G&T) in a fabulously glam city location or a chance to get away from wedding planning for three glorious lost days. But, I’m here to argue the side for less is more – a side I’m not usually sitting on – and like everything I do, I’ll sure as hell give it my best shot.
These days, I’m a bit of a convert to the mind-set that if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing really, really well. Why even try to keep the excitement going over a three day session? Why not concentrate all your spa bliss, glam-up enthusiasm, cocktail quaffing stamina and dance floor energy into one perfect 24 hours that you’ll remember forever as a brilliant burst of fabulousness.
No awkward, used all the conversation up yesterday, pauses. No splitting of the group. No hungover activity drop outs. No latecomers turning up on day two and wondering why the rest of you are all feeling a little flat.
Just a perfect day of all your best girls (or guys) together, doing something fun, and doing it with fully committed gusto.
It’ll be cooler, cheaper (something your hens will all be secretly pleased about) – and you’ll have saved yourself 24 hours of “down time” to recover before diving headlong back into
the wedding planning, er, work, on Monday morning.
Think about it. And spend the saved night’s accommodation on a knock out, one night only ensemble.
That’s chicomics for you.
what you said on facebook:
Kerri: “Blow out in Amsterdam with my closest friends and then going to have a meal in the UK so that everyone can come.”
Sophie: “I think the key is to keep it flexible so as many people as possible can join in as much or as little as their budget and family commitments will allow.”
Allison: “I’m having a meal & cocktails on the Saturday night then spa day on the Sunday. Staying at home though, just less expense for everyone & everyone has a choice if they want to come to meal or spa or both.”
Rachel: “Blow out in Barcelona, day out in York and work friend drinks… so I’d say I’m blowing out!”
March 26th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
For most girls that get engaged there is often one person even more excited the news than they are – their mum. Enter the mother of the bride…
While you might think you have been dreaming about the big day forever, your mum has had the occasion firmly placed in her future diary since you were a little girl – and now it’s actually happening!
But after the whoops and cheers have died down some mothers of the bride, and sometimes of the groom, can be known to get a little carried away and overbearing when it comes to planning the ‘perfect day’.
On top of the stress organising a wedding can bring, the last thing you want is a family feud so it’s important to know how to handle over-enthusiastic mums that take off down this route. Brides Up North, I’m here to help.
image via queenslandbrides.blogspot.com.au
be clear from the start
Though I’m yet to have a ring on my finger I have to say me and my mum talk about my fictional wedding all the time, but then I constantly change my mind on what I think I’ll have (I blame the day job).
Whether your mum is in the know or not, once you and your partner have made some key decisions about the type of wedding you want, arrange to meet up or speak to your mum over the phone about your plans to gage her thoughts/approval. Be sure to give reasons on your decisions and emphasise that you came to these conclusions with your groom so that she can tell you’ve really thought about these elements and that it’s what you both want as a couple.
Whether she fully agrees or not she will appreciate you keeping her informed on the decisions and for seeking her opinion. Be sure to keep the updates coming throughout the planning process to ensure she doesn’t feel out of touch or surplus to your requirements.
If you and your mum have different ideas about what will make the perfect day your mum could come to meddle in your plans in an attempt to get her own way.
Try to figure out early on what elements of the wedding you think will be particularly important to your mum to avoid her trying to change your plans later down the line. This might be who should be included on the guest list, the location in which you should tie the knot or what type of food you should be serving up.
Take on board her thoughts and if you can compromise in these areas to avoid your mum looking like she’s sucking on a lemon at the top table come your big day.
play on her strengths
Having a mum that wants to get involved in the wedding can work to your advantage, especially if they have a great skill set.
Think of your mum’s talents and try to give her jobs that will let her shine. So if she gives Mary Berry a run for her money in the kitchen ask her to make your wedding cake, if she knows of more flowers than Alan Titchmarsh take her along to the florists or if she’s more of a Kirstie Allsopp give her some crafty tasks to take ownership of, like making decorations or stationery.
Not only will she enjoy the challenge but she will also feel touched that you’ve given her a special role in the proceedings.
set mum-sized boundaries
While you have taken the time to listen to the areas that are important to your mum and to include her, don’t be afraid to let her know the areas that are important to you and the groom, elements that you are not prepared to change your mind on.
Of course approach the conversation with care but gently let her know where you draw the line in negotiating.
mums that overstep the mark
Having set the boundaries if your mum chooses to hop, skip and triple jump over them, pull her up on it to avoid heartbreak and fallouts.
Speak to her and try to figure out why she’s feeling the need to try to overrule your wishes. It could be that your parents are paying for the majority of the wedding and therefore she feels she has the right to call the shots. In such circumstances try to explain that while you are grateful for their kind contribution and want them to have a say and feel included, the wedding is a huge milestone in your relationship and should therefore be a reflection of you as a couple and what you want.
Alternatively it could be that your mother didn’t get much say in her own wedding and therefore she is either mimicking her mum by taking on the chief planning role or trying to create the wedding she really wanted through your big day. Again take the time to talk to your mum about this – listen to her feelings and share your own. Remind her how it felt to have someone else calling the shots and try to make her see that organising parts together is a much more enjoyable and fair way to go about things.
dealing with the mother-in-law
Some mothers can find it difficult to let go of their sons and such feelings can manifest themselves in reactions to your wedding plans.
Just like with your own mum be sure to let your mother-in-law know your plans early on so she feels included and continue with regular updates. Also as a wedding is ultimately the joining of two families, invite your mother-in-law to join you and your mum when arranging some parts of the wedding, such as choosing the flowers or shopping for decorations. This will also help you to bond as a family.
If however your mother-in-law gets a little out of hand, ask your partner to have a gentle word with her and to explain that you have made your decisions as a couple to avoid her taking up issue with you alone.
Most importantly – have fun with it. This is a great time of your life for mother/daughter bonding and while the planning path might not run entirely smooth, it’s a perfect opportunity to spend quality time together and to create some fabulous memories.
A mum’s input can be particularly helpful in areas that the groom just can’t get enthused about, such as chair covers and sashes, so there are plenty of different areas in which to get those most important to you involved.
Planning with your mum is also a great excuse for numerous shopping trips and glasses of fizz, just don’t mention it to the men that will be left at home!
March 26th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Avid Brides Up North reader Sarah’s wedding to her new husband Ross was a truly gorgeous affair. From her lace Victoria Jane dress (oh, how we love a gown with beautiful back detailing) to the stately setting and vintage transport, everything about the big day is stunning.
We also absolutely adore the theme for this fabulous North West wedding – love is the key.
So join us as we unlock and relive Sarah and Ross’ big day.
sarah says: We got engaged on 14th August 2013. This was the day before my birthday and Ross had surprised me with a night at Peckforton Castle in Tarporley. Whilst he was checking in, they told him there would be a tour of the hotel before dinner. I was more concerned about traipsing around in my heels but Ross managed to persuade me (as he had planned this it was a good job!) The guy showing us round took us all around the hotel, telling us the history which was great. In the grounds of the castle there is a chapel, as we walked in the whole place was filled with candles and looked beautiful. As I was looking around, Ross had gone down on one knee with a beautiful ring. I was so shocked and lost for words he had to ask me three times if it was a yes! We came out to a champagne reception and had the most amazing meal – it was perfect.
We chose to get married on 15th February 2015. It gave us 18 months to plan which we thought would be about right. We looked at having it on Valentine’s Day but we though guests might want to be on their own that day. Also it means that Ross has to buy me a present for Valentine’s and our anniversary now instead of having a combined one!
We got married at Adlington Hall & Gardens. We looked at a few venues, as we were having a civil ceremony, we knew we didn’t just want to get married in any old hotel room and none we saw were quite right. We made an appointment to view Adlington Hall and as soon as we walked into The Great Hall we were absolutely blown away by how stunning it was, it was the one! We loved the fact the whole place was ours for the day and we were truly treated like royalty. We also loved the fact we had two different venues in one. The ceremony in The Great Hall and wedding breakfast at the Hunting Lodge. From the very first meeting we had, the whole team were amazing professionals. This gave us confidence that the day would go smoothly. It was perfect!
We have two children Scarlett, aged eight, and Oscar, aged three, who were our flower girl and page boy at the wedding. Scarlett did a beautiful reading (A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton) at the ceremony which was very special and there were definitely a few tears shed by all. It was lovely to have them involved.
I came across the quote by Oliver Wendel Holmes – ‘love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness’ – and the whole ‘Love is the Key’ theme was born! I wanted something elegant and vintage that would reflect the history of the venue. Also very romantic with lots of candles, beautiful flowers and pearls.
We chose lilac and ivory as our colour scheme. Purple is my favourite colour and this fitted in nicely for the vintage elegance we were trying to achieve.
I knew I wanted a fitted, mermaid style lace dress but I wanted something at the back of the dress that made it different. As soon as I saw the Victoria Jane Ivy dress I knew that ticked all the boxes! I loved the pearl draping at the back and I thought it looked very elegant and vintage, which is exactly what I was looking for. I teamed this with a beautiful pearl headpiece which reflected the draping on the dress. I got this from a shop on Etsy called Gilded Shadows, it came over from the United States and was perfect. I also wore a crystal edged veil which was my ‘something borrowed’ as it was my wonderful sister Rebecca’s wedding veil she let me use. My diamante encrusted shoes came from Next and matched perfectly.
Ross wore a dark blue suit with grey waistcoat by Paul Costelloe. He teamed this with a grey and lilac tie which brought the whole outfit together. He looked very handsome!
My two sisters wore long lilac chiffon dresses with embellished necklines, which they teamed with a pale lilac feather cape from Coast. They also wore a pearl hair comb from Highland Angel which finished the whole outfit beautifully, they looked stunning!
The three (yes three!) best men and our fathers all wore two-piece navy blue suits from Austin Reed. They teamed this with a lilac tie. My son and three nephews as pageboys wore navy suits from BHS with lilac bow ties and lilac trainers – super cute! My daughter’s dress was by Pearce Fionda, I also got a vintage style diamante brooch to put on the waistband which mirrored my dress.
My father, my son and I arrived at the venue in a stunning 1930s Beauford. The rest of the bridal party arrived in a Daimler State Limousine.
Our photographer was James Tracey. I had looked at loads of photographers on the internet and James’ images really stood out. We knew we didn’t want the cheesy poses and wanted natural, documentary style images that really told the story of our day. James did not disappoint at all. We met for a pre-wedding shoot which was fantastic as it really helped us to relax in front of the camera when wedding day nerves set in and gave us confidence that the images would be great on the day. The images we have are stunning and have really captured the best moments of the day. James really talked us through every stage but was so unobtrusive on the day, it was perfect. We were both blown away and would highly recommend him. So many of our guests have commented on how amazing the images are too!
I wanted an informal bouquet in lilac and ivory with foliage. I had seen the amnesia rose and knew I wanted them included as they are a beautiful lilac colour and look so vintage. I also included lavender in all the flowers as I love the smell and the colours and style matched perfectly with the day. I also got some vintage style pearl brooches which were put onto mine and my bridesmaids’ bouquets and really finished them off. The flowers were provided by The Wild Bunch in Macclesfield. They were absolutely fantastic and exceeded my expectations in how they translated my vision for the styling of the day.
The Wild Bunch also provided flowers for the decor. I wanted lots of candles and cluster vases with various flowers that tied in with my bouquet. We had this set up for the ceremony table and also the top table. We used some vases which my sister-in-law had used at her wedding last year which was a special touch. It was stunning and took my breath away when I first walked in. The smell of lavender was amazing. The tables had fish bowl centre pieces with matching flowers. I had sourced lots of mercury glass tea light holders as well as some gorgeous antique lilac coloured ones which had pearl details on. There were lots of holders in various shapes and sizes on every table and around the cake. It created such a romantic feel to the day. There were also scatters of table pearls which completed the look.
We gave our guests bottle openers shaped like a vintage key as favours. They seemed to like the practical gift! For the evening we made some hangover kits. I found some small muslin bags on Etsy and had them personalised and sent over from The States. I filled them with mints, plasters and Alka Seltzer and put them over a bottle of water. A lifesaver for those who were celebrating a bit too hard!
My amazing friend Nova made my cake despite being nearly eight months pregnant! It was a three-tier sponge cake of chocolate, lemon and vanilla – delicious! It was lilac and ivory and had lace effect icing on the top two tiers. There were ivory and amnesia roses, foliage and pearl droplets in between the bottom two tiers. I also had an amazing cake topper custom made from Better off Wed on Etsy which said Love is the Key.
Ross and I are massive foodies so this was a really important part of the day. We had a delicious selection of canapés after the ceremony with champagne and mulled wine, which was perfect for a winter wedding. For our wedding breakfast we wanted food that we love and decided on smoked salmon to start, fillet mignon, which was absolutely amazing and perfectly cooked, for main followed by profiteroles with chocolate rum sauce for the gents and raspberry creme brûlée with shortbread biscuit for the ladies with coffee and petit fours to finish. We had a choice of wine and champagne too. For the evening we had bacon, sausage and fish finger sandwiches. Just what was needed! The crepes just about finished us off but I managed to squeeze in a chocolate and Baileys one!
The food was unbelievable, all our guests couldn’t compliment it enough. We also used vintage champagne saucers for the toast. These had been tirelessly scoured for by Ross’ parents and sister Fran and had been used at her wedding last year. It was a lovely finishing touch and was extra special as they were hers.
We used the amazing pianist Guy Porteous, to play from the ceremony right through to the end of the wedding breakfast. He is fantastically talented and was a lovely extra special touch to have him there. In the evening we chose to have a DJ to get the party started. He is the resident DJ at Adlington Hall and did a great job getting everyone dancing with a variety of songs that catered for the varied age range.
In terms of special touches, I had seen the large light up letters people hire for weddings and thought they made such a great focal point. I hired our LOVE sign from Dressed to Impress at Blakemere and it added a real wow factor, perfect for photo poses! We also had a wish tree as an alternative guest book. I found some tags on eBay which guests wrote their ‘key to a happy marriage’ message on and hung them on the tree. This was decorated with fairy lights, crystals and some vintage keys borrowed from Ross’ parents. I spent ages making escort card tags for the guest seating plan. I attached small keys to each tag and hung them from a mirror on ribbons. The guests then took their own key tag to keep. It was something different and the guests loved it. We hired a crepe station as a surprise for our guests in the evening. Original Crepes were fantastic, they provided a huge choice of sweet and savoury crepes and they tasted delicious. It was something the guests weren’t expecting and everyone loved it!
I had a sign made for our son Oscar to carry down the aisle, it said: ‘Daddy here comes Mummy’. He’d been practicing holding it and walking so steadily and was so proud of himself when he got to the end! We also had framed photographs of both sets of parents on their wedding days, as they have both been married for over 40 years this was a good inspiration!
We hired a videographer as we wanted to capture the day and have a great memento of the action. We used Creative Videos, Barry was fantastic and as he had filmed my sister’s wedding previously, we knew the video would be fantastic.
We would absolutely recommend Adlington Hall! From the moment we walked in we were overwhelmed by how stunning it was. The food amazing, the staff so professional and accommodating. Everything was more than we hoped for, my dream wedding venue!
I think my favourite part of the day was when the doors opened to The Great Hall and I was ready to walk down the aisle. On my dad’s arm, looking at all the most important people in our lives all there just for us was totally overwhelming.
We are going on a family honeymoon with our children in the summer. My next planning project now I have no wedding to plan!
My top tip to other Brides Up North is to utilise the talents of your friends and family. My sisters Rebecca and Jessica did my makeup and hair and my talented friend Nova made our fabulous cake. It was extra special for them to play such an important role. Oh yes, and plenty of waterproof mascara!
From getting engaged Brides up North was my go to for inspiration. I have been an avid reader of the real life weddings and I’m so excited to now be one of them!
adlington hall and gardens, austin reed, better off wed, bhs, brides up north featured supplier, cheshire wedding, coast, creative videos, daniel lloyd, dressed to impress, gilded shadows, guy porteous, highland angel, james tracey photography, original crepes, paul costelloe, pearce fionda, peckforton castle, ronald joyce, the wild bunch, uk wedding blog, victoria jane
March 25th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Perhaps the most talked about hue in the world right now following the first film release of E L James’ saucy books. But today ladies we’re keeping things clean and classy (no cable ties here) as we take a look at how different tones of elegant grey can be incorporated into elements of your big day for some seriously swoon-worthy styling.
Grey has long been favoured by brides and grooms, particularly when paired with blush pink for a truly classic colour palette. And while this particular pairing continues to prove popular, we’re pushing the boundaries a little further by focusing on other ways to give the neutral shade a bold boost.
So sit back and let us show you some greys that are equally as irresistible as Jamie Dornan (well, almost!).
Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by Philip Ficks| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by images by Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography| image source| image source, photography by Bryce Covey Photography
Sprinkling a little sparkle over a grey colour scheme adds instant glamour for those wanting to throw an opulent affair. Glittering greys also work particularly well with crisp winter weddings by emitting a frosty ice like appearance.
Brides who choose to go down this route may well have a tough time deciding on their big day attire with numerous sparkling dresses and accessories available from boutiques and online. Many dress designs feature twinkling detailing in silver sequins and mirrored beads, varying from top-to-toe adornments to just hints of sparkle on sleeves, bodices and belts. But if a bride would rather steer clear from heavy detailing they can still achieve a glistening grey effect by opting for a satin or silk dress design that gleams in the light.
Alternatively brides can leave the full on sparkle to their maids and instead just pick out one or two dazzling accessories to complete their own look, such as a jewel-encrusted headpiece and a pair of head-turning heels (Jimmy Choo and Louboutin being particular experts in this area).
While the groom is unlikely to get in on the glitter it can most certainly be doused over the décor. To set the scene at the reception we advise couples to go for one of two looks; matt grey table dressings finished with twinkling accessories such as glitter edged stationery, antique style tea light holders and metallic spray-painted flowers and foliage, or alternatively switch it round and lay out lavish sequined table cloths or runners, keeping tableware simple in white and silver. Candles and glass touches are particularly good for capturing and reflecting glistening details so be sure to add in such décor for maximum effect.
Clockwise from top left: image source| image source, photography by Branco Prata| image source, photography by Chelsie Burkhart Photography| image source, photography by Ned Jackson Photography| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by Abbey Rose Photo| image source, photography by Edyta Szyszlo Photography
Like we said by no means are we against the classic slate grey and pretty pink combo but there are ways in which couples can mix up the look a little to separate themselves from the crowd. So instead of just going for the default duo why not add two, three or even four playful pastels to the palette?
Think baby blue, powder pink, lilac, lemon, peach and mint – so many delicious possibilities!
The mismatched bridesmaid dress trend works a dream in these sweet shades and means maids can pick a hue that suits their hair colour and complexion rather than struggling to come to an agreement on just one colour for all.
Both the bride and groom can incorporate the palette into their chosen outfits too. The Honour dress from Stephanie Allin is a gorgeous option for brides with a pastel scheme as it features a sage green sash and romantic pale pink corsage. Meanwhile to lift their classic grey suit, grooms can add pop of colour in a pastel tie or even a dicky bow.
A pastel scheme lends itself to spring and summer weddings beautifully and is a top choice for those having outdoorsy weddings with celebrations held in barns, marquees and tepees. When decorating such venues we love to see soft and playful additions such as paper pomp poms and lanterns hanging from ceilings, big blousy flowers such as roses and peonies in simple vases and jars and soft organza sashes draped across chair backs.
To put it simply, let the grey act as your base here and then build upon it in pastels to your heart’s content.
shades of grey
Clockwise from left: image source, photography by Mi Amore Foto| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by Clack & Walker Studios| image source| image source, photography by Brett Heidebrecht| image source, photography by BG Productions| image source| image source, photography by Matt Spour and Lucy Tanner
Struggling to decide on which shade of grey to go for? Then why not use tones from the light to dark end of the spectrum to add interest and depth to the scheme? The result is a clean, crisp and sophisticated look.
For brides wanting to move away from traditional white or ivory for their gown, grey is an ideal option as it doesn’t force ladies to step too far out of the comfort zone. As well as ethereal princess style designs with voluminous tulle skirts there are elegant slim-line designs with dainty detailing, providing options for all shapes, sizes and tastes.
Another option is to dress the bridesmaids in varying tones of grey and possibly also in different dress designs to suit their individual figures. Think of mixing up asymmetrical gowns with strapless and capped sleeve designs in dove, stone, slate shades for the desired effect.
Again this is a look the groom and his men can adopt too, either by mismatching their trousers, suit jackets and ties or selecting one shade for the groom and another for the groomsmen to make it easy to differentiate between the two.
Elsewhere different tones can be used in the cake design (we heart ombre culinary creations), in the tableware and centrepieces and also the stationery to give the scheme consistency from beginning to end.
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