July 16th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
Today’s couple, Nikki and Mike, are showing us a thing or two when it comes to stylishly pulling off a rustic barn wedding. Traditional yet contemporary – we think they got the balance just right.
Hosting their big day at the quaint Sandhole Oak Barn in Cheshire, the couple kept things pared back and beautiful, with plenty of rustic feels to complement the enchanting setting, with hessian and wood textures, bunting, jam jars, candles and crisp white floral arrangements just a few of the delightful details to look out for.
The wedding breakfast was a particular highlight for the newlyweds – just take a look at the sublime menu they dished up – not to mention their elegant naked cake with a delectable four different flavours to choose from!
Plenty of inspiration awaits though, so it’s best we hand the reins over to Nikki so that she can talk us through all the magical moments of their big day. Enjoy!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, James Tracey Photography.
nikki says: We were staying at a vineyard just outside Bordeaux in May 2016 when Mike proposed. Mike decided to take me for a morning stroll just outside the chateau, which was on the vineyard. We walked though some woodland and then he got down on one knee and popped the question!
We got married on 11th May 2018. The weather has been great the last few years in May, so we decided to hedge our bets and go for that month.
We tied the knot at Sandhole Oak Barn, in Congleton, Cheshire. The setting was just perfect and exactly what we were looking for. We knew we wanted a barn style wedding and Sandhole ticked all the boxes.
We went for a rustic, countryside theme, although we didn’t have a particular colour scheme in mind, it was just more of the rustic feel with hessian and white tied in.
Mike wore a blue suit with a grey waistcoat from Suits Direct, in Cheshire Oaks. The groomsmen wore matching suits to the groom, but with different button holes from Mike.
The bridesmaids, meanwhile, wore blue/grey multi-way dresses from M&S with gypsophila worn in their hair.
July 13th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
Our fabulous Friday real wedding between Lauren and Nick begins with a rather novel proposal – a one carrot gold proposal, if you will (yes, we did say carrot!). It sets the tone for a cool and quirky wedding at the stylish Holmes Mill, Lancashire, where industrial meets luxury.
We love Lauren’s original 1950s below-the-knee dress in blush pink with its flirty skirt, lace detail and wide sash nipping in at the waist. It suits Lauren down to the ground as she conveys an air of vintage charm and her wonderful lively personality, shines through in all the images. She completes her individual attire with a pair of sparkly, striped shoes topped with pink and blue ruffles. And groom Nick too has a strong sense of style – we more than approve of his slim tan tie and the two-tone brogues.
This carefree couple look comfortable throughout resulting to a relaxed and fun day filled with entertaining interludes; from calling up some of the guests to take on carving duties (complete with chef’s hats) to competitive ice-cream-eating and one seriously happening ceilidh. So, join us as we two-step this way to hear more about their truly awesome celebrations.
With images by Sarah Glynn Photography.
lauren says: We got engaged on Christmas morning 2015. We grow a lot of our own food in our garden, and whilst preparing dinner we went outside to pick some carrots. Nick kept suggesting a specific one, but I didn’t think it looked any good. He eventually convinced me to pick it and there was a piece of string attached to the carrot. At the end of the string was a bag; in the bag was an engagement ring! It was his maternal grandmother’s ring and it still had the original receipt from 1910!
We got married on Saturday 9th June 2018 at Holmes Mill, Clitheroe. We were driving our daughter to a music gig in a library in Lancaster and talking about weddings; Nick mentioned he’d seen “somewhere pretty cool” on a website, so I checked it out and called three days later. The venue and everyone involved there were totally unbelievable! Everyone at Holmes Mill went above and beyond to ensure we had the most perfect day. They accommodated everything and took any stress away from us – even when I asked that someone bring Nick eight ice creams throughout the day. (We once attended a wedding where the groom managed to eat six ice creams. Nick later described him as an “absolute hero” and so I wanted Nick to be a hero at his own wedding!) Communication and organisation was second to none and we were thrilled with everything about the day.
We didn’t have a specific theme – just that we wanted the wedding to be very ‘us’. That meant having lots of wine, good music, lots of friends and the odd cycling reference here and there. I guess the wedding colour scheme was dictated by my dress really. With the dress being pale pink, it felt right that flowers, etc. should be muted and very ‘earthy’.
When it came to my dress, Nick actually bought it for me. I’m a real lover of everything vintage and second hand and it’s a genuine 50s dress. I had seen the dress on Susan Hayward’s Facebook page and loved it. On Christmas day it arrived wrapped up. I mentioned on the day that I had seen the dress and imagined it as my wedding dress, he agreed and it sat in the wardrobe until this year. Thank goodness it still fitted! Nick has always been great at choosing clothes for me; I‘m very lucky.
My hair was done by Rachel Wigle at Watermelon Studio in Liverpool. She’s an amazing hairdresser and a fantastic friend; she was invited to the wedding and insisted I wasn’t to do my own hair for my own wedding! It was perfect.
My makeup was done by my wonderful sister Emma Parker. She’d just completed her Level 2 in beauty and so I was really keen for her to do my makeup. We had a few trials and she knew exactly what I wanted. Again, it was perfect.
July 12th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
I think I speak for the majority of brides-to-be when I say that one of my main dreads for the big day would be an empty dancefloor. While I adore the sentimental parts of a wedding, a measure of how much I’ve enjoyed the celebrations is often determined by the amount of time spent on the dancefloor – and so a tumbleweed moment come our evening reception just won’t do.
As such I’m eager to do the required research to ensure we bag the right live acts to set the tone during the day – and keep the party rocking at night. But where to start? Thankfully we’re hearing from our fabulous Sponsor Warble Entertainment today on how to select the best live acts for you, your guests, the theme and the venue. See, already some elements that you might not have thought of!
As a trusted agency with an impressive portfolio of UK-wide acts on their roster, Warble can not only help to narrow down the entertainment search to suit your individual day, but they can also advise on how to get the very best out of the live band or performer that you book.
So, without further delay, we’ll hand over to Warble Entertainment team member Joey Burdon, to lift the lid (or raise the roof!) on securing a jumpin’ dancefloor!
Images provided by Warble Entertainment.
Why would you encourage couples to hire a singer/band for their wedding?
joey says: Live music is an experience. It’s an amazing thing that has the power to move you and create lifelong memories. With a live wedding musician you are getting a truly unique performance for your special day. Not only that but the pure energy that a party band can bring to your night is unmatched. One comment we hear all the time is how couples enjoyed having their own private gig or concert on their wedding night and how interactive the whole experience was.
Consider the times where you would usually have pre-recorded music on your wedding day and think, can this be performed by a live musician instead? Key moments might be walking down the aisle or your first dance. Having a bespoke and live performance of a song that encapsulates you as a couple is the perfect touch to add to proceedings and is sure to be remembered.
How should couples go about choosing the right genre of live act for their wedding day – what elements should they take into consideration?
A lot of couples make the mistake of being too self-indulgent here (why wouldn’t you?!) but you really do need to consider your guests. It’s great to find a band you like but are they going to get on with your friends and family? Can they play songs to please everyone as well as some numbers that fit with your theme? Are they equipped to fill the dance floor on your wedding night and get your guests dancing? You will want to be asking these questions as you do research into potential live acts for your wedding.
You will also want to consider both your venue and your theme, if you have one. Certain acts lend themselves better to certain themes and settings, and you will want your wedding entertainment to feel at home on your wedding day. For example a barn venue or festival theme is just screaming for a Mumford & Son’s style folk band with a towering double bass and banjos. If your chosen venue is a picture perfect castle with rich history, find an act that lean towards more classical vibes or even create that fairy tale atmosphere with elegant entertainment.
How can couples source potential acts and what elements should they check when comparing those in their short-list?
The majority of couples look online now for their wedding inspiration and have done for a long time! This is no different for wedding entertainment as there is so much information available on potential acts at your fingertips. Do some heavy searching and start to get an idea what you like or dislike about certain acts to help you narrow it down.
A lot of acts that are set up specifically for weddings rarely get to play public events. This makes it difficult to see your band before you book so how can you be sure you have the right band? Reviews and testimonials are key. A band might look and sound amazing online but how do you know how much experience they have or what other people think of them? Look around and build up a picture using reviews to tell you exactly what the act are like at a typical wedding.
Do couples need to check with their venue if they can have a live act at their wedding before booking and, if so, are there any other key questions they should ask?
Yes, definitely ask the question, ‘can I have live music?’. If this is important to you on your wedding day it should be one of your first questions. Sound limiters are also becoming more commonplace at wedding venues around the country so it’s important to check this. However, don’t be disheartened if the venue has one in place! You can still have live music, just find out what the limit is so you can make better decisions on what acts you look at. Warble Entertainment have a wide variety of limiter friendly bands that can work with these types of venues.
I would also ask to see the space where the band would set up, and also if there is a designated dancing space for you to throw some shapes! This will allow you to visualise the band on your night and know that there is adequate space for guests to enjoy your live act.
July 12th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
Meet Hannah and Cameron, today’s loved up couple who’re sharing their wonderful engagement shoot with us.
As proposals go, we think Cameron’s should get a gold star for originality! Presenting his wife-to-be with flowers and A3 signs asking ‘will you marry me’ while she looked out from her workplace window has got us brim-full of those romantic feels.
This unique approach shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows Hannah and Cameron though, considering they spent their very first date at Ikea!
Always looking for adventure, with their adorable dog Lenny in tow, it was only fitting that they hosted their engagement shoot at one of their favourite dog walking locations, Bishops Wood in Yorkshire. Cue some magical leafy backdrops, a few atmospheric coloured smoke bombs and an appearance, of course, by their four-legged friend.
Want to see the cuteness for yourself? Let’s hand the blog over to Hannah to tell us more about their journey together so far and how they plan to use photos from the shoot on their big day.
With images by Alfie Wright’s Clique Visuals.
hannah says: We got engaged on 27th of December 2017.
I was at work waiting for Cam to meet me for lunch. I work on the second floor of a petrol station and sit next to a floor to ceiling window that overlooks the forecourt. Cam was running late as usual and I was hungover from all the Christmas festivities. I saw him pull up and ring me, so I answered in the way any man wants his future wife to, with a “what are you doing? Will you just hurry up – I’m starving!”.
He told me to look out the window and I saw him walking onto the forecourt next to pump eight (which is right outside my office) with a big bunch of flowers and some big A3 cards. Written on the cards were: Iya. You alright? You are my person. I will love you forever. Will you marry me?
I then ran through the petrol station outside where he was on one knee in front of all the customers who were clapping and filming us! I was so shocked and emotional and, of course, I said yes! We are getting married on 29th June 2019 at The Barns, East Yorkshire.
We first met back in 2011 on a night out in our local town where mutual friends introduced us.
Cam says I looked like the most beautiful thing he had ever seen and he knew he had to get to know me. Instantly, he recognised that behind the weird laugh, the intolerable need to stroke every single living dog and the hunger tantrums, I was the best person he’d ever met!
July 11th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
Sweden meets Scotland in today’s charming real wedding between Ellinor and Michael, which brings together traditions from both cultures; from communal singing and lots of speeches on the Swedish side to kilts and ceilidh from the Scots! Marrying outside under the spectacular cherry blossom trees in the venue’s beautiful garden and led by a traditional piper, Ellinor floated down the aisle in a gorgeous tea-length dress made by a talented friend, with a lace illusion bodice and sleeves, and finished off with a delicate veiled headdress.
There are some beautiful details, such as the intricately designed songbook used for the communal singing and the cake of cheese decorated with flowers and grapes. With a rustic vibe and a clever colour scheme to represent the flags of both countries, Ellinor and Michael’s big day manages to feel both glamorously international and charmingly local, with seasonal flowers and lots of handmade elements.
We love the spicy idea for the table centrepieces, using bowls of cardamom, ginger, chilli and so on to indicate the table names rather than written signs, and jam jars collected over the months make the perfect vessels for candles and flowers, even if it does mean eating your weight in jam and chutney before the big day! Tell us more, Ellinor…
With images by A Little Picture.
ellinor says: We got engaged in India, near Darjeeling, where my mother was born. We were travelling through India and I had always wanted to see the place my mother grew up before she came to Sweden. Michael proposed on a Himalayan hilltop overlooking two rivers. It was absolutely beautiful.
We got married on 19th May 2018. We wanted to get married in the spring/early summer because I think that is the most beautiful time of year and the weather is usually better at that time in Scotland! We didn’t know when we booked it that cherry blossom would bloom at that time in the garden of our venue – it turned out to be the perfect time!
We got married (both ceremony and reception) at Kirknewton House Stables, outside of Edinburgh. We chose it because it is a really beautiful place, with a really big garden, and there’s a bit of a rustic feel to it. As you do everything yourself, there are no restrictions in terms of caterers or bar. This meant we had to plan and make everything ourselves, but it allowed us to do exactly what we wanted, including a free bar all night. I would absolutely recommend our venue to other brides and grooms: it is a gorgeous building with a massive garden and you can do what you want with it.
I am originally from Sweden and Michael is Scottish, so our theme was ‘Sweden meets Scotland’. We mixed traditions from the two countries: lots of singing and a lot of speeches (Swedish traditions), and ceilidh and a piper (Scottish traditions). Our colour theme was based on the Swedish flag (yellow and blue) and Scottish flag (white and blue).
For my dress, I always knew I would have a short dress (i.e. tea length) as I don’t think a full-length dress suits my body shape. I also love to dance and couldn’t imagine being on the dance floor in a ball gown or mermaid dress. It turned out to be surprisingly difficult to find one I liked. Most shops only had one or two short dresses. But then my beautiful and amazing friend and bridesmaid Laura said she would make my dress! Laura trained as a costume maker and seamstress and, while she now has a different career, she makes dresses now and again – she made all the bridesmaids’ dresses for our friend’s wedding a couple of years ago! We live in completely different parts of the country so it all involved a lot of planning, but it turned out to be a great excuse to see each other. A great memory is driving to London together to go fabric shopping. There is this street in northwest London lined with fabric shops and we probably went to ten different ones, comparing and haggling. But when we found a particular lace, we knew straight away – that was the one. The dress is absolutely gorgeous and I loved wearing it on the day. I am so lucky to have such an amazing friend.
Michael wore his family kilt that was made for his brother’s wedding a couple of years ago by a kilt maker in Aberdeen. The groomsmen also wore their family kilts.
July 10th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
As the backdrop and setting to your big day, deciding on the venue can be one of the trickiest hurdles to overcome during the planning process. Couples are often keen to find somewhere that suits their taste, style and personalities – though the absolute cherry on the cake has to be if the venue is new to the wedding scene, meaning that none of their guests will have attended an event there before.
As such it’s a super exciting part of our jobs when we can reveal a freshly launched venue as one of our latest Sponsors – just as we’re doing in this post today. And it’s one for those of you looking to marry in the North West – introducing the fabulous Tilstone House, a stunning stately home located just outside of Tarporley, in the heart of the Cheshire countryside.
This exclusive wedding and event venue officially opened its doors to brides and grooms in the spring with a spectacular party giving guests a flavour of what the luxurious period property has to offer and showcasing its stunning range of ceremony and reception spaces.
For those that weren’t able to make the launch, we’re catching up with the lady who knows Tilstone House inside-out, its wedding and events planner, Charlotte Elise Dodd, who’s giving us the lowdown on this sensational venue whilst filling us on that fabulous party too!
With images by Natural Selection Design.
You launched Tilstone House in style with a party titled ‘The Art of the Spectacular’ – how did the evening go?
charlotte says: We’ve been eagerly anticipating the official launch event for a long time and so it was fantastic to see all the hard work and planning pay off.
The launch saw more than 100 guests attend Tilstone House for a theatrical spectacle, involving live actors and a firework display. Actors and performers from Yet Another Carnival, a Storyhouse Theatre associated company, were stationed in various rooms in the venue, each assuming a different role at a fictional 1920s wedding. From the bride and groom sharing a romantic first dance, to Old Etonian baronet and original owner, Sir Gilbert Greenall, returning from a shooting trip, guests were left enchanted by the characters’ anecdotes and mischievous activities.
And what other treats did guests enjoy to during the event?
Canapes were provided by Northern Fields, one of the venue’s official catering partners. Trailblazers in ground-breaking gastronomy, Northern Fields is renowned for its innovative and experimental food offering, and guests were treated to a host of options, including cured salmon and celeriac and tuna tartare with wild garlic and peas.
Live music was performed by international events party band, Under the Covers. With a set-list covering everything from classics to modern hits, guests enjoyed an evening of top quality entertainment from one of the most sought-after function bands in the North West.
The evening culminated with a firework display by Big Wedding Fireworks, who specialise in spellbinding, musically choreographed displays for weddings and events.
All in all, the launch party gave guests an idea of what’s to come at Tilstone House – and now we can’t wait to get started.
For those that weren’t able to make the launch party, please could you describe the look and feel of Tilstone House?
Tilstone House is a luxury wedding venue. It has a Victorian style exterior and many traditional features within, such as fireplaces, staircases, flooring and the tall ceilings, have all been maintained but we have undergone a recent refurbishment to make it more current and contemporary without it being too modern, so it lends itself to all styles of weddings.
And what do you know about its history?
The House was built in 1888 by Lord and Lady Daresbury – it was originally used as a hunting and shooting lodge and was sold and lived in by many different families over the years until the current owner decided it would be a fantastic and beautiful wedding venue.’
Can you tell us about the ceremony and reception areas?
Tilstone House has many different ceremony options – our beautiful lawns and pergola are licensed for civil ceremonies for more than 100 guests; we have a small indoor ceremony room for up to 40 guests, and also a larger conservatory ceremony room for up to 100 guests. We have a large function room has been recently renovated and can seat around 100 guests comfortably for the wedding breakfast and then extra guests in the evening.
We offer exclusive use of the House, so all rooms can be used by guests, no-one lives in the property so no areas are out of bounds. Couples could have an intimate gin bar in one of our drawing rooms and a whisky bar in another if they wish. We have a lovely library room for guests to enjoy as well if they would prefer to be away from the action of the wedding and would like some time to themselves.
What makes Tilstone House a special wedding venue and sets it apart from others?
The exclusive use aspect is really important for us at Tilstone House and myself and my team deliver a personal and bespoke service to our couples leading up to, and on the day of, the wedding.
Brides and grooms will be able to utilise the house and the grounds in any way they fancy – there are no rules as to where you can and can’t go for pictures, there are no rooms that are blocked off. The second the exclusive use starts, couples can rest assured that the only people in that house will be their suppliers, guests, the caterers and my team.
There is nothing that we can’t do for our clients – we will be working the morning of the wedding to dress the venue, put everything out and meet with the suppliers as they arrive to set up – so couples and their guests will not need to lift a finger.
I truly believe Tilstone House is going to become the best venue in the North West – the services, care and wedding couples will receive at Tilstone House will be second to none and nothing will be too much trouble for us. There are no limits as to when we can have meetings; we can meet daytime, evening, weekends – as many times as the bride and groom would like leading up to their wedding, again, a bespoke service that not all venues offer.
What sort of bride would be a Tilstone House bride?
A bride who wants their wedding to be the absolute perfect day where they don’t need to do everything themselves – we can take care of everything. Also, a bride who likes the option to utilise so many different spaces and styles for their wedding day, including outdoor and indoor options.
How can your staff help to make the planning process easier and the big day amazing?
Charlotte Elise Weddings and Events will be managing all weddings exclusively at Tilstone House – we won ‘North-West Wedding Planner of the Year’ in the 2017 Wedding Industry Awards. We know how to run a wedding, how to plan a wedding and have worked at so many different venues so couples really are getting very experienced planners.
We will supply couples who book their wedding at Tilstone House with a personalised ‘supplier recommendation’ list, which will be tailored based on the conversations we’ve had regarding the style of the wedding.
Charlotte Elise Weddings and Events are also offering their Full Planning Wedding Package at a discounted rate for Tilstone House clients, so brides and grooms can relax knowing a professional is taking care of everything and that their day will run extremely smoothly.
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