June 19th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
image source, photography by Carly Bevan Photography
So, you’ve chosen your venue, decided on the date, picked your colour palette and drawn up your guest list. Dress dilemmas are done and dusted, and you’ve selected which gal pals will accompany you down the aisle (still agonising? Check out our tips!). You’ve painstakingly worked your way down the wedding admin tick-list, from the cool stuff – food, music, entertainment – to the not-so-cool stuff – insurance and checking the venue’s PAT testing requirements.
If that’s the case, then bravo and a big shiny gold star for you! And we have good news: it’s time to take a break from all the adulting and spend some time indulging in the frivolous – but fun – details. We’re talking about the kind of finishing touches and frippery that won’t necessarily make or break your day (or your budget, for that matter) but are nevertheless important to you. These little features are often used as a way to make your celebration more personal, more poignant or simply to pump up the wedding wow factor.
So how to make your big day stand out from the rest?
image source, photography by Weddings by Smith
Maybe I’m just a weird stationery fiend – always a possibility – but I find that there are so many ways to incorporate little personal paper details into your big day. I’ve been to weddings where origami decorations (flowers, rainbow-coloured cranes) featured heavily, paper pompoms, lanterns and streamers provided a colourful (and cheap) decor hit, and place settings and table plans and numbers/names were creatively inspired. Plus, any excuse for a creative get together and cava – oops, I mean crafting – session with your pals, eh?
image source, photography by Pixsmiths Photography
Couples who put thought into their favours just make us squeal with their cuteness. They don’t need to be expensive – bottles of Bolly and Creme de la Mer products might be affordable for Kimmy K, but not for us mere mortals – so get your thinking caps on. My favourites from recent years have included a pork pie wrapped in floral fabric, gingerbread men from a local bakery, Jameson miniatures from a fellow whiskey-loving bride and Nutella tubs with guests’ names on the label. What’s personal to you that you haven’t seen before at a wedding? I feel a spider diagram coming on….
image source, photography by Bethany Whittaker
Another detail we love – guest books with a twist. Colouring in charts, polaroid or photobooth sessions, date and anniversary ideas, advice for a happy marriage, memory requests, song recommendations – they all get a thumbs up for individuality and creativity from us. Could your venue or interests lend you some inspiration? One couple I know who married in Newcastle’s Baltic modern art gallery asked all of their guests to draw a self-portrait of themselves and stick it to the glass walls, later putting all of the pictures together into a book. It was a great ice-breaker activity on the tables for people who didn’t already know each other and caused a not-insignificant amount of hilarity – bonus!
image source, photography by Bethany Whittaker
It used to be that brides and grooms thanked their mums with a big bouquet of last-minute lilies and that was that. Well, no more. Bridal party gifts are another area where the bride gets to go off the beaten track and have some fun. You can go personal – family pictures from the past turned into a beautiful photobook? – or poignant – an engraved locket with a snapshot of the two of you? Maybe she’d appreciate a massage to unwind from all of the stress of the preparations, or perhaps you could book an afternoon tea for the two of you to debrief and share photos a few weeks down the line. The same goes for your #bridesquad, #groomsquad and all of the others who’ve lent a hand, an ear or a wedding car for the big day – think personal and be creative.
image source, photography by Hayley Blackledge Photography
We look at a lot of pictures of cake (I know, it’s a tough gig) and, by default, lots of cake toppers. It’s clear that this is an area where brides and grooms express their individuality, straying far from traditional couple figurines. We’ve seen Lego people, knitted creations, superhero motifs and even beloved pets rendered in icing. What tickles your fancy?
Also, we’ve lost count of the number of brides who declare their dislike – or their husband’s lack of enthusiasm – for a traditional fruit cake with marzipan icing. The cake flavours described on these hallowed pages, from chocolate orange to pink lemonade, reflect the individuality of each couple and make us drool with worrying regularity. But who says you even have to have cake? We love it when brides demand something a bit different: a favourite family pudding, a humungous cheeseboard or a croquembouche – or an entire wall of doughnuts?! Now we’re talking!
June 19th, 2018 | Julia Braime
It took a capsized kayak in Mexico and a tequila shot before today’s groom, Ross, could put a ring on it and pop the question to his bride-to-be Claire! But thankfully, their wedding day here in the UK back in February was a smoother and much more relaxed affair.
Opting for a small, intimate wedding with 40 guests, Claire and Ross chose an exquisite Georgian venue in East Yorkshire for their special day – the stunning Dunedin Country House, which dates back to the 1840s. The beautiful grounds provided the enviable backdrop to their wedding photos and just wait until you see that dreamy sunset!
Their big day was peppered with so many lovely, personal touches too which we simply must draw to your attention to! There’s the toast from Ross’s adorable six-year-old daughter, pork scratchings as a little nod to the groom’s parents and a fabulous cheese and pork pie wedding cake!
So, cosy up and get ready to scroll through all the pretty highlights, as we hand the blog over to newlywed, Claire.
With images by Richard Perry Photography.
claire says: We got engaged in Mexico on 10th November 2016. Ross had attempted to once before but failed! We went out on a kayak which capsized in the middle of the sea and we ended up being rescued by the lifeguards, with the whole beach witnessing this. He then left it a few days before taking me for a romantic meal, ending with a tequila shot and when I put the shot glass down he had the ring ready to pop the question!
We tied the knot on 24th February 2018. It was classed as a ‘diamond date’ at the venue, Dunedin Country House, which meant we got all the same amenities at a much-discounted rate. Plus, I always wanted to get married in the winter months. The venue has beautiful grounds and we just instantly loved the relaxed feel of the house, plus we had been to a wedding reception there previously and loved it.
There was no set theme we just wanted to keep it simple and relaxed, with a hint of a boho style feel. We chose a dusky pink colour scheme. There was no reason behind this choice; once we found the bridesmaid dresses, we took it from there.
I chose a fitted boho style, full-length Maggie Sottero gown named Bexley, from Deborah Moore Bridal in Hessle, Hull. I loved the dress as it was alternative, stylish and understated – and it made me feel like a bride. I also purchased a swan feather jacket from the same place, which was a good choice for the outdoor pictures.
I stayed over the night before and Ross was brought to the venue by my dad in his Jaguar. We didn’t want to spend money on transport as we felt this wasn’t an important part of our day and would rather prioritise other things instead.
June 18th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
Richard and Francesca’s dreamy engagement atop an Italian castle inspired the rustic Italian theme for their glorious ‘back garden’ wedding in the height of the English summer. And, when you have a back garden like that of Francesca’s parents, there could be no finer place to pitch your yurt, scatter your hay bales and soak up the atmosphere to the chilled-out sound of a five-piece band in the sunshine!
A wedding sign proclaimed “Let us make our own fairy tale today” – and Richard and Francesca duly did. They even enjoyed a sprinkle of fairy godmother magic: Richard’s late grandmother spoke to them across the decades in a letter 30 years old and gifted Francesca a gorgeous diamond ring despite never having known her.
Wearing a stunning Jenny Packham gown, Francesca looked every inch the modern princess. We love the capped sleeve detail and beading that echoes a sunbeam pattern across the bodice – the perfect complement to a sunny June day. Apparently, Richard planned most of the big day by himself and we have to agree with his bride that he did a marvellous job #majorgroompoints
With images by Eyesome Photography.
francesca says: We got engaged in a small town called Calitri in southern Italy in August 2015. We were on holiday with my family and Richard arranged to have a tour of a castle in the town in the evening. What I didn’t know was that he planned the whole evening weeks in advance. He arranged for the castle to stay open after hours and for us to have a private tour. When we reached the top of the castle with views of the vineyards and open countryside, whilst the sun was setting I turned around from looking at the view and there he was, on one knee. As you can imagine I was shocked and taken back. Perfect proposal.
We got married on 3rd June 2017, in a very small local church in Copt Hewick, Ripon. The reception was in my parents’ garden, a short walk from the church. This was the home I grew up in, so I had always dreamt of this for my wedding day.
Our theme was Italian rustic. We chose this style because of where we got engaged and also because we have lots of family holidays across Italy every year and we love the food. We didn’t really have a colour scheme – just very rustic colours.
For my dress, I went to The Bridal Collection in Harrogate and chose a Jenny Packham gown. I tried it on and instantly knew it was the one. My shoes were Aquazzura and my veil was borrowed from a good friend.
Richard, the groomsmen and dads wore navy blue suits with light pink ties, which they hired from a local suit shop in Harrogate.
June 15th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
If you like your inspo rugged and natural then today’s Nordic wedding styled shoot will be ticking all the boxes – and then some! Getting back to basics, the shoot brings together nothing more than a field, a teepee and a fire pit for an all-out bohemian affair inspired by rustic charm.
Conceived by photographer and Brides Up North Sponsor Jenny Maden, the photo shoot is brimming with all kinds of pretty, including copper cutlery, sheepskin rugs and cow hides. We think it’s safe to say that Jenny nailed it when it came it rounding up the best wedding suppliers for her shoot.
The ‘bride’ looks simply gorgeous with her pared back gown and dainty flower crown, a real ethereal beauty if ever we saw one. You’d never guess that the weather delayed the shoot though, because if anything, the pale grey skies only add to the drama. Proof that a little rain isn’t always a bad thing on your big day!
Enough talking though – it’s time to scroll through the dreamy photos and soak up all those cool Nordic vibes!
With images by Jenny Maden Photography. Model, Charlotte Brown.
jenny says: Following a recent trip to Iceland, I had been poring over Instagram and Pinterest for Nordic-inspired interiors, landscapes and artwork. I love the simplicity and earthiness of their styling and wanted this bridal shoot to reflect a wild Nordic theme.
We chose a field in a farming area of Denton, North Yorkshire, for the shoot. Getting out into the sticks helped to achieve that feeling of remoteness and wilderness! We also featured a teepee, provided by Bar Events UK. We used one of their small teepees but they also provide much larger structures, should events require a larger capacity. Bar Events UK also provided our wooden tables and benches, as well as the fire pit.
The interior of the tepee was styled by Ange at Floral Dance, using some of her own collection of props, alongside some amazing pieces sourced from Alpine Lifestyle Boutique in Ilkley. This shop is an absolute joy to visit; full of unique and quirky pieces. Lots of natural materials were used to achieve the rustic, Nordic look, including wood, sheepskin rug and cow hides, copper cutlery, vintage brown pot vases, a silver rug, and pampas grass in copper pots. The lovely Raspberry Toast also provided us with beautiful stationery.
We also had a flower archway, made from copper piping, intertwined with hazel, birch twigs, dried phalaris grass, eucalyptus and yellow broom to create a very wild and dramatic backdrop.
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June 14th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
Through our trusted Sponsors we’re able to hook you up with the top pros in the industry who can guide you safely along the wedding planning path, helping to avoid any trips and falls along the way. From how to pick a standout venue and dream dress, to tips on styling and completing your day, our guys have got it covered.
Today on the blog, we’re inviting along an expert who can assist in the ‘live music’ category, with a host of incredible acts on their books that can bring the added wow factor to your celebrations – step forward the team from Entertainment Nation.
Covering oodles of weddings every year, the team have mastered the best way for couples to go about picking the right band and ensuring the logistics of the performance go to plan too, with an easy to use website and friendly staff available to answer any questions or queries.
And so keen to help make the entertainment task that bit easier for brides-and-grooms-to-be they’re sharing some of their pearls of wisdom with us this afternoon as they list their top tips on booking a live band. Take it away team…
entertainment nation say: What better way of rounding off your special day in style than by hiring a live wedding band?
The atmosphere begins to build from the moment the band arrive and start setting up fancy instruments and equipment. Short bursts of song and isolated chords from the soundcheck build anticipation further, and then, before you know it, the band are on stage, delivering an adrenaline-pumping performance that encourages even the most reticent of dancers to unleash their inner Michael Jackson!
But, as much as we hate to be the boring folks getting in the way of the dream, we need to let you in on a few things you need to consider when hiring a live wedding band. We’ve been helping brides and grooms book their dream wedding band for years, and during that time we’ve encountered every potential issue possible – and figured out how to solve or avoid these hiccups altogether.
As such we’re sharing our golden band booking tips with you today ensuring that you can sort your evening entertainment without a hitch and be on that dance floor with your new husband or wife, surrounded by family and friends rocking it out before you know it!
If you don’t book your wedding band early, you risk missing out on your number one choice. Just like with wedding venues, the best wedding bands get booked up well in advance; peak dates getting filled two years ahead of time is common, and we’ve often received enquiries for even farther into the future.
So, if you want the biggest and best choice of wedding bands possible, make sure you book as far in advance as possible. Booking well ahead of your wedding date also means you can benefit from paying this year’s prices, rather than the inflation-adjusted prices of two years’ time.
Generally, you’ll secure your venue before you book a wedding band (although we’ve seen it done the other way around when a couple has their heart set on a particular band). If you’re keen on having live music at your evening wedding reception, it’s important to find out whether your venue is able and willing to host a live band.
There’s nothing more soul-destroying than spending hours finding the perfect musical entertainment and then discovering the venue won’t allow them to perform.
June 14th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
We love to see a bride and groom take a style that represents who they are and really run with it – like today’s real wedding couple Erin and Joel. In love with the 1950s, the post-war rock and roll era and a time of great social change, Erin and Joel went to town with their black and white polka dot and red theme. The bridesmaids in their polka dot dresses are accessorised with striking red pillbox hats and gloves, while Erin wears a bold red lip to add oomph to her classic vintage, detailed wedding gown and Joel sports a side parting hairstyle reminiscent of the era.
The bold colour scheme is carried throughout the whole day and bangs a buck at the wedding reception, where vibrant red rose centrepieces proudly sport black feathers to echo the popular feather-adorned hats of the time. With photographs on the tables of icons such as Audrey Hepburn, Erin and Joel made sure they used every opportunity to bring the 50s’ vibe to their big day. Guests were even treated to a CD compilation of 50s’ hits, so they could carry the rock and roll essence home with them at the end of the night.
With images by Ian MacMichael.
erin says: We got engaged on 29th May 2014. Joel got down on one knee at Haydock Races and proposed in front of my family. We were all dressed up and it was a lovely way to start the day.
We got married on 19th January 2018. It was the same date my parents got married in 1985, so they were 33 years married on our day.
We held our ceremony at St Margaret Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in my local and amazing parish. Our reception took place at the Isla Gladstone Conservatory, Liverpool – such a beautiful location. The venue was a blank space and we just fell in love with it as soon as we saw it. We loved the exclusivity and the coordinators were amazing throughout the whole process. The food was stunning; we got amazing feedback from guests. All the staff were friendly and helpful – nothing was too much trouble.
Our theme was 1950s for the whole day. We both adore this decade – we love the colours and the music, etc. For our colour scheme, we went for black and white polka dot with red, which fitted the 1950s theme perfectly. I love the bold colours.
My dress was a lace, fitted mermaid dress with sleeves. I also wore a two-tier, cathedral-length veil and a replica of Princess Diana’s tiara. I love the classic vintage bridal look. My hair was styled by Beauty Box Aesthetics – they are amazing girls. Two of my close friends – Jess Hardy and Ashlee Platt – did our make-up.
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