February 18th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
“Pick a seat, not a side; we’re all family when the knot is tied,” declared a sign at the marriage ceremony of today’s real wedding couple, Kathryn and Michael. It’s perhaps all the more poignant given the couple hail from opposite sides of the pond, with Michael coming from New York.
As a nod to their different heritages, the couple incorporated some special touches into their day, such as a sweetie table laden with British and American sweets for the guests, and traditional British lawn games set up outside, along with beer pong and corn hole. Not to mention the odd socks worn by the groom and groomsmen – one sporting a Union Jack and the other an American flag, of course!
With images by Melissa Beattie Photography.
kathryn says: We got engaged in October 2015. Michael is American and was living in New York at the time and I was over visiting on holiday. One evening after we had finished eating, Michael told me he had to show me something before we got back on the subway home. We then started walking up Fifth Avenue and Michael kept refusing to tell me what it was, even though I kept pestering him as I was tired and wanted to go home! We eventually got to Central Park, where Michael took me to the side of the lake with the New York skyline in the background and got down on one knee and popped the question! There was just the two of us in a serene Central Park and it was perfect.
We got married on 3rd September 2016. We wanted to get married fairly quickly so Michael could move to the UK, as we had been living apart in separate countries for so long. Michael’s sister and cousins were also getting married over the summer, so we wanted to space the weddings out so everyone had their moment to shine.
We had our ceremony at St John’s Methodist Church in Whitley Bay. This was my family and childhood church and also where my parents got married. We are good friends with Carla, the minister at the church, so it felt really special to be married by someone so close to our family.
We had our reception at Healey Barn – it’s such a beautiful and relaxed place. There’s nothing not to love! We would definitely recommend the venue – everything about the day was perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing about it, and that was down to the slick operation that they run at Healey Barn. The barn is beautiful, the countryside surrounding the barn is breath-taking, and our guests couldn’t stop talking about how amazing the food was!
The theme for the wedding was rustic. The barn itself was so beautiful that it didn’t need a lot of decorations, so I wanted everything to be homemade and to complement the rustic barn setting.
Our colour scheme was sage green and dusky pink. I always wanted quite a soft, romantic colour palette that complemented the natural colours of the countryside. We also used a lot of burlap and lace to complement the rustic barn theme.
February 16th, 2018 | Julia Braime
We do like to spoil you, don’t we?
Brides Up North is also on tour this spring with one aim only: to bring a whole lot of beautiful to our bride to be readers, and send you home excited and inspired.
For those of you who want to feel the love, we’re filling The Ballroom at the super luxurious Worsley Park Marriott in Manchester THIS SUNDAY Sunday 18th February 2018, 11am till 2pm, for a pretty perfect luxury bridal show, The Love Parade: A Valentine’s Wedding Show, where you can tick all your must have suppliers off your to do list – and it’s on us, the event is FREE ENTRY for you and your guests.
This sensational Manchester venue prides itself on excellent service and definitely knows how to throw a good party. We’re hosting one of our own, and we’ve invited along 30 of the area’s best bridal exhibitors to make your wedding plans perfect. We’ve got ALL the details covered, so don’t forget to RSVP!
We’re giving away up to 150 free Bride To Be media packs at the event, filled with glossy magazines and treats from Brides Up North. As demand is high, to pick up your VIP bag – and for FREE ENTRY – all you need to do is pre-register using the form for your venue of choice (you can register for more than one) found by clicking below. Only the bride need register for larger groups. While stocks last.
February 16th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
The topic we’re focusing on in today’s post is something that can cause many a person’s blood to run cold – the wedding speeches. As while seen as a highlight of the day for guests, for the members of the bridal party who actually have to deliver them it’s an honour that often comes with a side-helping of fear!
Watching my fiancée painfully deliberate over how to approach a best man speech recently made the thankful that, as a female, such a duty wouldn’t be bestowed on me. Or so I thought! In May my brother Dan is getting married *lets off party popper* and I’m his best woman, oh wait, that involves a speech! Furthermore, having now had a ring put on my finger, I’m rather drawn to the growing trend for brides to have their say from the top table too. And so, it appears I could well be in the bright speech spotlight not once, but twice, in the next 18 months.
As such I will be paying particularly close attention to our uber-skilful, new Sponsor that we’re introducing on the blog today, public speaking coach Emma Taylor of Emma Taylor Presents.
With a successful background in scriptwriting and acting, Emma set up her business to deliver training courses and coach individuals in public speaking and presentation skills, which she has now extended to include professional guidance and advice on the construction and delivery of wedding speeches. What a fabulous idea we hear you cry, and we couldn’t agree more!
With one-to-one coaching and group workshop options for everyone from the best man, groom and father-of-the-bride, to any females that want to take to the mic too – brides, matrons, mums – Emma can help turn a fearful task into a truly wonderful experience.
And she’s taking over the blog this morning to tell us just how she does it – pens and notebooks at the ready!
READER OFFER – Emma is offering Brides Up North readers a 10% discount on group workshop attendance in Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool during March, April and May 2018. Full details below.
You’ve been providing public speaking training for MPs, senior managers and even members of the clergy for over a decade, so how did you come to add wedding speech coaching to your portfolio of services?
emma says: It was after attending a wedding last year. At it, the best man spoke for too long and repeated some of the groom’s material, the father-of-the-bride was barely audible and never once looked at the guests, and when the bride was asked to say a few words, all she could manage was a clichéd, “thank you all for coming”. The speakers clearly needed help, but they’d not had anyone to turn to, and that’s when I thought, ‘I could be that person’.
Can you tell us a little about your background and how Emma Taylor Presents came to fruition?
While I was studying for my MA in Scriptwriting, I worked part-time as a PA. As part of the job, I attended lots of meetings and witnessed lots of poor presentations. One day, in the car on the way back to the office, I happened to casually remark that if these presenters understood a little about dramatic structure and were given a few acting skills, then their presentations would be greatly improved. The following morning, my boss strode into the office and announced, “I had dinner with the Chair of Salford Royal last night. He’s a dreadful public speaker. I’ve found you your first client!” My initial reaction was horror. But then I decided to put my money where my mouth was and deliver the coaching. Anyway, post coaching, everyone noticed the transformation and my business grew by word of mouth mainly.
Can you tell us a little about the various wedding speech training packages you offer?
I offer three different training options: One-to-one coaching, a bridal speech party and open group workshops.
The one-to-one option is ideal for wedding speakers who are time-poor, very inexperienced or very scared about giving their speech. The service generally comprises two meetings. The first meeting is to sketch out the speech and agree its content. The second meeting is to rehearse the speech. In between sessions, I will pen the speech which the client is encouraged to tweak so that he or she finds it natural to say.
The bridal speech party brings together the wedding’s key speakers: best man, groom, bride, father- or mother-of-the-bride and, sometimes, the maid of honour too. It’s always a lively, jolly and productive affair. Over a glass of fizz, participants get to suggest ideas, share anecdotes and structure and/or rehearse their speeches. The party also presents a wonderful bonding opportunity. It usually lasts four hours.
I offer two types of group workshops: Simply the Best and Welcomes, Wishes and Cheers! Simply the Best is designed for best men, best women and maids and matrons of honour while Welcomes, Wishes and Cheers! prepares fathers and mothers-of-the-bride, grooms and brides for the public speaking task that awaits them. The workshops are three hours long and will run in venues in Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds during the spring.
How would you say wedding speeches have changed over the years and what makes a good speech in today’s modern world?
I don’t think the remit of wedding speeches has changed but I think guests’ expectations have. So, if a couple is throwing a large, no-expenses-spared day, then guests expect the speeches to top the wonderful wedding breakfast, and if they don’t, there’s a sense of flatness and disappointment.
Of course, more women speak at weddings today. It’s quite common now for a mum to deliver the ‘father-of-the-bride’ speech and more and more brides are choosing to take to the mic – Meghan Markle reportedly being one of them at. Matrons and maids of honour are also leaping to their feet and all of this is to be encouraged. Guests love it when the girls get involved. However, because the bride’s and maid of honour’s speeches aren’t traditional ones sometimes they lack a sense of purpose and can meander. My coaching addresses this and gives brides and maids of honour a sound but simple steer.
Even if a bride hasn’t intended to give a speech, she’s regularly called upon to say a few words, so I’d always advise her to have a short speech prepared. Remember, the best seemingly ‘off the cuff’ speeches have usually been given an awful lot of thought!
What would you say is the most common mistake made when constructing and delivering a speech?
In constructing, worrying so much about it being funny that the speaker gets his or her jokes off the internet. Audiences can sniff this a mile of, and they don’t like it. What they want to hear are truthful stories and familiar, funny observations that really capture the personality of the bride or groom.
In terms of delivery, a lot can go wrong, but I think my biggest bugbear is when speakers just read out their speeches with their heads down. The audience wants to see the speaker; guests want to feel that the speaker is looking them in the eye. Interaction is everything!
What would be your top tip to help people overcome their public speaking nerves?
Remind yourself of all the preparation you’ve done. An exam isn’t worrying if you’ve revised, and a speech will go well if you’ve prepared. Remember those hours you put in.
What is the feedback like from those that you have helped with a wedding speech?
It’s been excellent. And of course, what’s important to my clients is the feedback from guests at the weddings they’ve spoken at – which has also been really good. I think clients like my firm but fun approach. Once we start working on their speech, they go from dreading it to feeling excited about it; a sentiment they didn’t believe was possible!
Clients benefit because I’m not just a professional scriptwriter, but I also trained as an actor, so I’m able to help them in the prep and delivery of their speech. They trust my feedback and they respect my perfectionism. I want their speech to sparkle as much as they do.
Can you give us an idea of the price of the packages available?
The complete one to one package is £550. The bridal speech party is £475. Attending a group workshop is £75 per participant. I’m pleased to offer Brides Up North readers a 10% discount on group workshop attendance during March, April and May 2018. Subject to terms and conditions.
February 16th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
While we fiercely champion all of our amazing suppliers, we also love to see a wedding that calls on the talents of the couple’s nearest and dearest and delivers handmade touches, like the wedding flowers in today’s real wedding that were arranged by the bride’s aunt, and the cake created by a family friend.
Katherine and Grant were married at the The Great Hall at Mains in Poulton-le-Fylde, an exclusive Tudor style venue, which they decorated with flashes of Kingfisher blue to echo the sapphire in Katherine’s engagement ring. The venue is set against a backdrop of the River Wyre and the Hall, with its high timber-framed ceilings, gigantic stone fireplace, gorgeous tapestries and medieval ironwork chandeliers, has a wonderful historic ambience.
The smile on Katherine’s face as she walks down the aisle towards Grant says it all though – it all comes back to love!
With images by Struth Photography.
[jenaopen]katherine says: We got engaged while on holiday in York. We took our dog, Toby, to a lovely forest for a walk. I got up from a bench to throw the stick for Toby and, when I turned around to sit back down, Grant had the ring out and asked me to marry him.
We got married on 28th May 2017. We picked this date as it was the closest weekend date available to our anniversary, which is 4th June.
We chose our venue – The Great Hall at Mains in Poulton-le-Fylde – because of its beauty inside and out, choosing blue as our main colour scheme as a nod to my sapphire engagement ring.
For my dress, I chose an oyster fit and flare strapless design with a white lace overlay. It came from Areles Bridal in Darwen. I picked it because I found this shape best complemented my figure.
My bridesmaids had beautiful blue wrap dresses, which we also found at the bridal shop.
Grant picked a dark grey three-piece suit with a blue cravat from Aults in Bolton, and the groomsmen wore the same.
February 15th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
With ever expanding location options for couples to tie the knot, we love to see brides and grooms taking their celebrations outdoors to make the most of the North’s stunning areas of natural beauty; from sweet coastline settings, to historic woodlands and beautiful open areas of rolling countryside.
Though enjoying some fully open-air elements, most brides and grooms still require a structure to provide shelter (and warmth!) for certain parts of the celebrations, such as the feasting and dancing. For us there’s nothing more stunning than a tipi tent to fulfil this need, and we just so happen to be talking to an expert in the field on the blog today, our wonderful Yorkshire-based Sponsor Totem Tipi.
Super-striking from the outside and wonderfully atmospheric within, Totem’s gorgeous and adaptable tipis provide a blank canvas for couples to make their own and can cater for any size wedding, during any season of the year.
Furthermore, those that choose Totem for their big day will have the added feel good factor that all proceeds for hire of their structures feedback into a local youth arts project, which helps at risk and vulnerable children and young people build confidence and self-esteem, whilst instilling positive attitudes.
The Totem team are here now to tell us more…
DIARY DATE: Totem Tipis will be showcasing their fabulous structures at Brides Up North’s epic festival style wedding fairs; WEDSTOCK’18 at Stockeld Park, Harrogate, Yorkshire, on Sunday 6th May, and WEDSTIVAL’18 at Capesthorne Hall, Macclesfield, Cheshire, on Sunday 20th May 2018, both open 11am to 3pm, FREE ENTRY.
What type of structures do you offer?
[jennaopne]totem tipi say: Our event tipis are Stratus 72 tipis, also known as a Kata tipi or Giant Hat. The stratus 72 is based on a traditional Scandinavian design. Due to their unique interlocking features, the kata tipis make stunning intimate venues for a small wedding party, or can be joined together to create bigger structures to cater for the largest of wedding parties.
Can they be hired for weddings all-year-round?
The structures are built to withstand harsh weathers. With strong sustainable timbers and waterproof fabrics, we can cater for all events in all seasons. So, whether you want to create a summer celebration with the sides up, or you fancy a winter wonderland with an open fire pit, indoor heaters and warm blankets, then the tents can accommodate all ideas, seasons and tastes!
What kind of numbers can the tipis hold and how are they laid out?
The tipis can be set out however you like! Whether you want a dance floor and bar area or want the whole space for seating. It’s really up to you. We can work together to design a plan that best suits you and your guests. As a basic guide we recommend the following maximum numbers per tent:
1 x Stratus tipi – can seat up to 64 guests
2 x Stratus tipis – can seat up to 120 guests
3 x Stratus tipis – can seat up to 160 guests
4 x Stratus tipis – can seat up to 200 guests
What would you say are the main plus points of an outdoor tipi wedding?
There are so many advantages to having an outdoor wedding, there are masses of choices of stunning locations, you can bring the outside in on a lovely summer’s day, and the events are always different. But I think the greatest is the freedom that you get to plan and design your wedding to be exactly how you want it to be. You literally get a blank canvas to stamp your personalities onto!
How can you help couples to enhance the tipis with furniture/decorations/expansions?
At Totem we allocate a member of staff to look after your wedding from start to finish. Your Totem contact will come out and view your location, talk you though the best options for your event and discuss all of our added extras, from chill-out furniture to extra lighting and additional tents!
February 14th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
We love a good love story here at Brides Up North and today’s couple, Amy and Mostafa, prove that a long-distance relationship can indeed lead to that happily ever after moment down the aisle.
After five years together doing the long-distance thing, Amy had finally joined Mostafa over in Dubai. But when it came to tying the knot, Amy yearned to return to her native North East for their special day. And we’re glad they did! The couple got married last autumn at As You Like It, a quirky urban venue in Newcastle.
Trying to plan the wedding while overseas was a tricky process for the couple (cue lots of conversations with their suppliers via Skype!) but like any good story, it all came together seamlessly in the end.
A literary theme snuck in, as well as a nod to Mostafa’s Egyptian heritage. There are lots of other beautiful and personal touches to look out for too (just wait until you see those flowers!) but we’ll let Amy talk us through all the finer details…
With images by JPR Shah Photography.
amy says: Mostafa proposed during the sunset one evening while we were in Abu Dhabi. I was hurrying to get a good view of the presidential palace to take some pictures, and when I turned around he was on one knee with the most beautiful ring in his hand. It was a total surprise!
We got married on 8th September 2017. Mostafa is from Egypt and we both live together in Dubai, so we have friends and family all over the world. September seemed like a perfect month for as many of our guests as possible to attend and we hoped the summer would hang on enough for us to get a nice day for them – which it did!
Living abroad, it was really important for me to come back to the North East to get married. We got married at As You Like It in Jesmond. I chose the venue without Mostafa as he was in Dubai and I was in UK at the time. I called, begging him to let me book it after going to a wedding fair with my mum and absolutely falling in love with it. Thankfully he trusted me and when he saw it a year later, he loved it just as much as I did.
We didn’t have a theme as such, but I’m a bit of a book nerd so we had a literary theme with the table names and centerpieces, which went down really well with the guests. Since Mostafa is Egyptian, we decided to play some Arabic music during the ceremony and chose one of our favourite romantic ballads by Amr Diab.
Our colour scheme was a gorgeous blue as it has always been my favourite colour and seemed to match so well with the venue. I also wanted to honour my granddad who had the most bright blue eyes, so the colour scheme was special in that way too. I kept a small picture of him tied around my flowers to feel like he was with me on such a big day.
My dress was by Art Couture bridal and I bought it at Bridal Factory Outlet in Northallerton. I had pointed it out to my mum as we entered the shop, but she said she didn’t like it, so I tried on other dresses without any success. Tired and hungry, we were about to leave but I decided to try on the first dress I’d seen, to satisfy my curiosity. As soon as I put it on – I knew it was the one, and my mum agreed!
Mostafa wore a grey suit and waistcoat from Debenhams, and the groomsmen wore the same. The ties were handmade using one of the bridesmaid dresses by Ohh Sew Beautiful and Make N Mend as I wanted the colour to match perfectly.
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