February 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime
via etsy.com, by RachelCarl
In this brand new Friday morning feature on the wedding blog, we’ll be debating all the most difficult wedding planning topics. Today we tackle a sensitive subject and ask: Should you allow your single guests to bring a plus one to your wedding?
julia says YES:
Smug marrieds. Annoying, aren’t they?
Think back to your own single days. Chances are, you weren’t sitting at home every Saturday night drinking vodka and singing to Chaka Khan on your lonesome, but equally, it’s very likely that as fabulous as singledom can be (all the duvet, no wet towels on the bathroom floor, no awkward lunches with the in laws) you didn’t much like being reminded of your solitary status during notable romantic occasions such as Valentine’s Day, Christmas and weddings.
Your single friends? They don’t like that either.
Ok, so your best mate might have just met the “love of her life” in a club last Saturday night, but if she’s hoping he’ll hold her hand during your wedding ceremony, do you really want to deny her that happiness?
To me, the success of a wedding isn’t down to the colour of the centrepieces or the cost of your frock. It’s the people who make the party. Ok, if the budget, or space, really is very tight, then I’d always advise just asking your very favourite people and perhaps having a quiet word about why you can’t allow for any more. But if there’s some flexibility there, why not make someone’s day and allow them to bring a plus one to your wedding?
Have you ever been a guest at a drinks reception where you only know the bride and groom? Have you ever been seated at the “children’s table”? Have you ever danced awkwardly with the bride’s teenage brother? You can save your friend from all of that. What a hero.
Happier guests make for a better wedding day, even if you never see a few of them ever again. And who knows? It might be that you’re buying your hat for that plus one’s wedding in the not so distant future…
rachel says NO:
A best friend of mine who is in the wedding planning process is currently in meltdown over her ever-growing guest list – and she’s not alone, it’s a task dreaded by most to-be-wed couples.
The pressure goes far beyond simply drawing up a list of the friends and relatives you want present to share your special day as issues such as inviting children, pushy parents and plus ones come into play. As I see it ruling out plus ones from the off is the easiest way to lighten the load and means one less thing to worry about.
Weddings are expensive affairs and every extra body can add more than £100 to the bill, so couples can be forgiven for not wanting extras dining out on their big day. In most cases these would be people you don’t know anyway, essentially strangers at your wedding and allowing some friends and relatives plus ones could mean not inviting somebody else you would actually want at your wedding – someone that you would actually recognise in the congregation.
I get it, you might have a single friend who wouldn’t really know anybody at the wedding – but aren’t weddings meant to be a place where single people meet? I say mix them all in together and hope for a Cilla Black/Paddy McGuinness result.
Chances are some of your friends and relatives will meet on the hen and stag dos which breaks the ice and gives them a friendly face to look for on the big day. Also be clever with your seating plan and try to plant the singletons with others who are in the same boat and also with chatty/friendly people who are likely to make them feel at ease.
I know I’m making it sound easier than perhaps it is but if you’re planning an intimate wedding or your budget is stretched, saying no to plus ones is the way to go. Of course you have to be sensible and fair with it though – make it a one rule for all and don’t just pick who can and can’t have a plus one. I’m not suggesting you don’t invite people’s partners who they have been with for a considerable amount of time but if your mate has now been to the cinema with that guy she met on a night out he still doesn’t constitute a partner and therefore shouldn’t be given the honour of an invite. When all said and done that’s what it is, an honour.
what you said on Facebook:
Nic: “I gave everyone a plus one, including my single friends. Some of them just brought a friend. I just wanted every one to enjoy themselves as much as possible and worried they wouldn’t as much if they felt a bit left out especially as the meal is so formal.”
Beth: “If we’ve both met them and it’s a long term relationship, they’re invited. But if it’s a new relationship and nobody has met them… I’m not paying for their dinner!”
Rachel: “If they are married/living together and we know them then they’re invited if not, they’re not. Luckily a lot of our friends are mutual and we all go out as couples but we’re applying it to family as well as friends.”
We’d love to hear your side?
February 26th, 2015 | Julia Braime
As well as being a source of inspiration and guidance for our brides-to-be we also like to give our supplier followers a helping hand where we can by letting them know about blooming marvellous industry events such as Leafy Couture’s two-day styling class on the 5th and 6th of March 2015, part of their brand new offering - The Leafy Couture School For Florists.
I’ve been doing quite a bit of public speaking on blogging and social media within the wedding and lifestyle sector recently, and I’m honoured to have been invited along to share my top tips in a dedicated session during this special event.
I love hosting smaller group sessions like these, and if hearing about my recent adventures into the world of coaching have peaked your interest a little do watch out for some very exclusive workshops launching here soon.
But back to those flowers.
Our good friend and the wonderful talent behind Leafy Couture Sarah Richardson, has a an amazing portfolio that comes with some serious clout. This incredible lady has vast experience in the world of weddings having worked on hundreds over the past eight years, from marquees to grand stately homes, she is truly passionate about couples’ big days.
Her work is regularly featured in national wedding magazines and local press as well as on numerous national and international wedding blogs, including Brides Up North. She’s also one of our go-to-girls for styling at our industry events and creative shoots, delivering impressive blooms every single time. To add to her credentials Sarah has taught floristry to BTEC Level 3 as a college tutor, demonstrated at RHS Harrogate Flower Show and has recently been nominated for a Wedding Magazine blogging award, phew!
She’s therefore incredibly well placed to support others in their passion for flowers through both her group styling events and one-to-one mentoring sessions. Whether amateur or experienced a lot can be learnt from this lady and we’re sure some of our florist friends will be keen to go back to school if it means gaining tricks of the trade from Ms Richardson.
But enough from me, I’ll hand over the pages to Sarah to explain in more detail what her upcoming styling event has to offer – catch you there!
sarah says: This class is especially for florists who are wanting to build their confidence in the world of weddings.
We will hold your hand and guide you through a series of arrangements to build your portfolios. We will introduce you to a wedding planner, wedding blogger and events team to get insider tips on how to get on in the industry.
And there’s more. We’ll help you work on building your own style and create images for your websites and social media. We will guide you through our processes with wedding appointments and show you how to create wedding bouquets, buttonholes, flower crowns and then style a ceremony and wedding breakfast with large scale designs such as urns and an archway.
All classes take place in The Chili Barn, Otley – a real wedding venue, where we will show you all the things you need to think about when working on site and fill your head with ideas. You will be working on your own and also as part of a team as you would in a real life wedding situation.
This is a two-day course with all refreshments, including tea and coffee and cake and a delicious lunch, provided. All material, aprons, workbooks and flower material will also be supplied.
Places are limited so each student will get maximum experience and attention. A basic knowledge of flowers and floristry is preferable but we are on hand to guide you every step of the way.
We shall have a photographer on site but you are advised to bring a camera too or a smart phone. All students will get a free skype or phone mentoring session a month after the course to continue the support. Students will also get free access to our new E-Book chapter on wedding flower appointments and session hand outs.
Hope to see you there!
Images by James Melia.
February 26th, 2015 | Julia Braime
If you’re a long term reader of the wedding blog, chances are you’ll have seen the name Rachel Parry pop up a few (hundred) times.
If you recognise this pretty face, that’s because I formally welcomed Rachel to the team back in May 2014 when she joined us as a regular freelance features writer, but this time around, we are playing for keeps.
After about three years of guest blogging and one as our regular contributor, former news reporter Rachel has finally joined the Brides Up North team and signed on the dotted line (in blood) to become a full time member of staff!
She’s left hard news behind for the world of weddings.
Things just got serious.
This is a huge moment for us. This little corner of the internet that I started in a flight of fancy on a summer’s evening back in 2010 has grown beyond all recognition to support a huge online resource for inspiration and practical, local planning; a directory packed full of and passionately supported by the very best individuals, businesses and brands in the wedding industry; twenty (yes, two-oh!) Brides Up North branded luxury wedding exhibitions per annum plus the odd industry knees up; social media management contracts for some of the industry’s leading businesses; a whole host of speaking and mentoring engagements; editorial responsibility for one of the leading glossy wedding magazines in the north and now is home to a proper little team of two full time and one part time members of staff. Check us out!
Little did I know when I pressed publish on that first blog post that I’d write twice a day, every day (religiously) since that moment, or did I have any concept whatsoever of the places I would go, the people I would meet, the knowledge that I would acquire and the huge opportunities that Brides Up North would bring with it.
Rachel joins us not a moment too soon. I’m not ok with average. I’m not ok with standing still. This blog, this brand, this northern revolution, it has wings. I want to see it fly.
It was time to call for back up.
With a demanding blog schedule, a heaving inbox and lots of all consuming offline projects on the go (not to mention a teeny toddler at home), it’s an understatement to say that my resources were feeling stretched. In order to curate the best content for Brides Up North and to keep our related workflow running smoothly I needed a support team. Like, yesterday.
I did consider bringing in more freelance writers on a casual basis, but to be honest, I want my readers to engage with the writer as much as what they are writing about, and for a blog built on personality and good old northern soul, I felt anxious about expanding the team too much. I still think that the best blogs are those written by real people, for real people. Yes, our voice might have grown, but our accent isn’t changing anytime soon.
And then of course there was Rachel herself: talented and stylish, super keen, and with the perfect background in PR and wedding media. Besides, she just wouldn’t go away.
That’s passion and hustle for you. Right there.
I decided to invest: in Rachel and in the future of Brides Up North. The job was always going to be hers. Or nobody’s, as I can’t think of anyone else that I’d want to share this journey with.
If you’re beady eyed, you might have noticed a shift around here already. Rachel joined us at the start of the month, but we’ve been so busy playing catch up and hatching plans that it’s taken me a while to sit down and type out a proper welcome. Finding the right words has been difficult. A bit like writing a wedding speech, the more I’ve thought about what I’d like to say, the more overwhelming actually doing it has become. I don’t envy those grooms, one bit.
Like I say, this is a huge moment.
I could take pages to outline my hopes for the blog and our brand, our plans for growth, related projects and dreams, but instead, I think I’ll keep it simple. There’s a lot to be said for letting the proof be in the pudding.
As features writer and editorial assistant, Rachel will be penning lots of our daily content, helping to manage our very active social media output and dealing with her own client accounts as well as actively sourcing the very best weddings, shoots and suppliers in the northern wedding industry to share with you. She’s got a nose for a fabulous wedding and an eye for stunning detail, so expect these pages to be looking even more inspirational, very soon. We’re on a mission to deliver on a new level editorially and are looking to enrich our offering to provide more in depth, cutting edge content that’s also really, really lovely to look at.
She’s my right hand girl, so you can also expect her to be mixed up in whatever crazy-exciting project I have my eye on next, by my side as we steer the fabulous Unveiled Magazine to even greater creative success and hanging around offering her help at all of our Luxury Wedding Exhibitions. It’s an evolving process, so who knows where we’ll be and what we will have achieved by this time next year?! And in the meantime, I have a feeling that you are going to get to know her very well indeed.
It’s been a slow burner, but this is the start of a beautiful friendship… so I’ll just say: Welcome, Rachel.
I can’t wait to work with you.
Lets do this,
Images by Cat Hepple Photography
February 25th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
All too easily engaged couples can let wedding plans consume them as they become hung up on the small details and forget about the big reason the day is taking place – love.
Of course you want to put on a day for everyone to remember with the perfect styling, décor and attire all in place. But beyond the pretty and the party the day is ultimately a celebration of you as a couple, your love for one another and the joining of two families (gushy, we know). So we’re encouraging our readers not to lose sight of the love during their planning journey and if anything to embrace it.
Fall outs are bound to arise along the way but work out what you both want from your big day and then join forces to achieve it. We all hear stories of brides neglecting their men and ploughing ahead with the plans, and equally the men that don’t want to get involved and would rather take a back seat. Either scenario is going to result in someone feeling alone and possibly undervalued – in our book planning an occasion that joins two people together requires two people’s input.
So take on board one another’s ideas, wishes and requirements and where you can’t agree be prepared to compromise – there will be a lot more of that to come in married life! Also try to look at the planning less like a chore or one great big ‘to do’ list and instead remember that this is something special that you are creating together. Have fun with it and don’t take things too seriously – everyone will still have a great day whether or not the napkins are an exact match to the bridesmaid dresses.
On the flip side be sure to take a break from the planning here and there for those all-important ‘date nights’. Engaged or not we all fall victim of getting into a rut, but spending quality time together doing the things that you enjoy can often remind you of all the reasons you fell in love in the first place. It doesn’t matter if it’s a trip to the cinema, visiting the place you had your first date or escaping on a pre-wedding getaway, you’ll just be grateful that it’s a no-planning zone.
A wonderful way to express how you feel about your other half and to reflect on your journey together so far is to write your own vows in the run up to the wedding. This gives you an opportunity to rip up the script and to tell your own love story. You could include details of how you met, how you’ve grown as a couple, what your partner means to you and your promises for your future together.
If however you’re planning a religious ceremony, or you would simply like to stick to tradition, you could always request to speak at the reception. More brides are now taking up the opportunity to write their own speech for the big day – not only to say how they feel about their other half and their future together, but also to thank the other people in their life that they love and who’ve championed their relationship, such as friends, parents and siblings.
Meanwhile for those that get stage fright there’s always the option of sending your fiancée a special a card or letter on the morning of your wedding to remind them just how much they mean to you and how excited you are for what’s to come. You might also want to include a gift that they can wear on the wedding day and beyond as a keepsake of your special day.
So as girls that have made weddings our full time job we fully support you in creating a beautiful big day but by keeping sight of the love along the way we believe you will have an equally beautiful marriage ahead of you to match.
February 24th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Hilltop Country House is special. A stunning, exclusive use, family home wedding venue with seriously gorgeous gardens, a pristine permanent marquee, rooms on site and a civil license, book nothing till you’ve seen it!
And you can see it, at our open doors, Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibition at Hilltop Country House, Cheshire this Sunday 1st March 2015, 12pm till 4pm, FREE entry.
Add 30 of the region’s very best wedding supplier stars and with every detail beautifully covered, we’ve a recipe for another crazy beautiful day. Are you in?
bride to be?
As well as all that inspiration – completely FREE – we are also giving away up to 150 FREE Bride To Be welcome bags, filled with glossy magazines, on the day discounts, treats from Brides Up North and some little pressies from our amazing sponsors John Lewis Cheadle. Just because we love you. As demand is high, to pick up your bag and all you need to do is pre-register using the form below. While stocks last only.
The first 150 brides through the doors on Sunday will also take away two tickets to The North West Wedding Fair on Sunday 8th March 2015, worth £30, completely free of charge. It’s on us!
To register for for speedy entry and a free Brides Up North VIP Bride-To-Be goody bag fill in your details below. Only the bride need register for larger groups.
You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org if you do not wish to use the contact form. Welcome bags are limited and subject to availability. We operate a first come, first served policy.
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