Hardwick Hall Grand Wedding Exhibition
Charlotte Balbier

wedding planning 101: saving for your wedding day

February 12th, 2016 | Julia Braime

Honeymoon Fund

image source

It’s mid month and we’re all feeling the pinch, right..? When payday feels like such a long time away, it’s often easy to worry about how you’re going to be able to afford that dream day that everyone keeps mentioning.

We’re huge advocates here of doing things your own way on your wedding day, and achieving the perfect day (your version of it!) within your own budget, whatever that might be. Yes, its a super important day in your life, but it really is just one day – don’t give yourself a lifetime of debt to furnish 100 guests with the perfect wedding favours! Unless you’re very comfortable financially or The Bank of Mum & Dad is paying out big time, we think it might be time to get saving.

Luckily, our sponsors at TSB have come up with some handy tips for saving for your wedding without breaking the bank. Take a look, and here are some of our favourite tips, combined with a few of our own…

set a budget

It’s important to be realistic and set a budget for the big day, but also all the smaller elements of it too.  Be strict, because if you go over budget on each part, you might find yourself in trouble when it comes to paying the registrar! TSB advise that setting a limit on the amount you can spend on your dress is a good place to start.

“Budget before you go and be realistic by only trying on dresses that are within your budget,” says Phil of Phil Collins Bridal. “You don’t want to be disappointed by falling in love with a dress you can’t afford.”

limit the numbers

Yes, obviously, less bums on chairs will bring the overall cost down, but you might like to consider the number of people in the actual wedding party very carefully too.  The cost of six adult bridesmaid dresses can really add up.  Consider keeping the number of attendants and groomsmen on the samller side, or ask if they would mind contributing to the cost of their outfits if you are prepared to give them some flexibility in the style stakes.

double up

TSB suggest cutting costs by using your flowers and decorations at both your ceremony and reception venue, if they are separate (ushers at the ready)! It’s wise to make sure you have factored in absolutely all costs – as well as the cost of hiring the venue, remember any decor you may wish to use; flowers, the photographer and transport.

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let’s get this party started @ hardwick hall hotel

February 11th, 2016 | Julia Braime

Hardwick Hall Hotel Spring 2016

If you follow the wedding blog over on InstagramTwitter and Facebook – you’ll probably have seen that our jam packed series of Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibitions are bigger and more beautiful than ever this season.

With our portfolio at it’s very best, every venue that we work with is handpicked and special, and I can’t wait for another weekend of the finest wedding inspiration and welcoming you to the beautiful country house hotel that is Hardwick Hall Hotel for our bridal ballroom on Sunday 28th February 2016. 


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Other wedding fairs?  Pah!  What’s the point?! We are very proud to run the largest and most exciting free entry bridal exhibitions in the North East.  Hardwick Hall is a special one too. It’s going to be packed to the rafters – and it’s twinkling crystal chandeliers – with wedding inspiration, fabulous ideas and the very, very best of the North East wedding industry.

Watch out for the “Brides Up North Edit” designer catwalk shows, champagne bar, wedding hair and beauty advice sessions & demos & glossy media packs for each visiting bride.

For this event, we are filling the whole of the Coleman Suite – and it’s going to be spectacular! We don’t just squash in any old exhibitors either! Whether you are shopping for the final details or have no idea where to start, we can promise you the very best choice of the best bridal experts in the region.  Everything you can think of for planning your big day will be represented.

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If the level of pre-registrations that Team Brides Up North has received is anything to go by, it’s going to be an amazing day!  We adore hearing your love stories and getting excited with you and we can’t wait to meet so many of you in person. I just love saying hello to my readers in real life, scoping out the new trends and generally hosting a fabulous party every single Sunday. Who wouldn’t love this job?

Well then, what are you waiting for? Grab your girls or your groom, and we’ll see you there!

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a bridal ballroom

Hardwick Hall Hotel, Sedgefield, Co. Durham, TS21 2EH

Sunday 28th February 2016

11am till 3pm


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bride to be? you’re in the right place!

We’re giving away up to 250 free Bride To Be goody bags, filled with glossy magazines, treats from Brides Up North, exclusive offers and some little pressies from our sponsors.  As demand is high, to pick up your goody bag all you need to do is pre-register using the form below. While stocks last.


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wedding industry professional?

We would love to welcome new exhibitors to the Brides Up North family in 2016. We are now accepting exhibitor bookings for all of our fabulous luxury wedding exhibitions across three regions this year.

Exhibitors will be strictly limited by category and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Since their inception in spring 2012, all exhibitions have been sell outs on exhibitor space with a record attendance for every venue. Consequently, we expect demand to be very high. Get in touch as soon as possible to guarantee your place.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your Telephone No

Your Website (begin web address with http://www.)

What sort of wedding business are you enquiring on behalf of? e.g. Bridal Boutique/ Photographer etc

Select the event that you are interested in (required)

If you wish to attend more than one event, please list all here - discounts are available for block bookings

Images by Cat Hepple Photography.

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celebrity spy: kimberley walsh

February 11th, 2016 | Julia Braime

Kimberley Walsh Wedding

For us at Brides Up North HQ there’s nothing quite like a celebrity wedding, so we were super excited when the preparations for popstar Kimberley Walsh’s overseas wedding popped up on The Daily Mail. We knew it wouldn’t be long before we got a glimpse of what the hot singer-turned-actress had chosen to wear for her big day (along with celeb pal bridesmaids, Cheryl FernandezVersini and Nicola Roberts, no less!)

Cue the cover of this week’s Hello magazine and all was revealed (quite literally) as the Girls Aloud singer posed in a sexy illusion lace and silk gown, complete with high leg split.

We thought it was a stunning fashion-forward choice from Kim, who has a fabulous figure that deserves to be flaunted, plus given the wedding was on the Caribbean island of Barbados, it’s no wonder she didn’t want to be layered top to toes in chiffon, lace and tulle. Instead her light and floaty gown fitted the paradise-like setting perfectly and we loved its delicate detailing; especially the elegant see-through sleeves and decorative inserts at the bottom of the dress.

Whether marrying overseas or not, we can all take something from Kimberley’s gorgeous big day look and so today we’re giving tips and inspiration on how to steal the love machine’s style for your own wedding.

the dress


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The Girls Aloud hit, Something Kinda Ooooh springs to mind when first setting eyes on Kimberley’s revealing dress – and were sure it made her now-husband’s heat go ‘boom boom’ as she walked up the aisle.

Daring to bare, Kimberley’s white Berta Bridal dress goes against the unwritten rule that only the top or bottom half of the female body should be on show at any one time. We get a glimpse of the singer’s toned legs thanks to a racy thigh-high split in the skirt of the dress, while delicate lace cut out detailing in the top half of the dress reveals Kimberley’s chest area too.

While this style of dress won’t be for all brides in its entirety, elements can certainly be adopted. So for those who consider their legs to be one of their best assets and would quite like to show them off, the leg split would work. Meanwhile for ladies who aren’t the biggest lovers of their arms, the delicate lace detailing of the illusion sleeves on Kimberley’s dress offers a stunning solution.

Also brides planning to marry in hot countries, take note – Kimberley’s dress is light and airy and therefore both pretty and practical for the humid destination.

Leaving the dress to do the talking (which it most certainly does) Kimberley finished off her attire with a simple pair of high strappy heels in gold to complement her metallic mismatched maids, with Cheryl in bronze and Nicola in silver.

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ain’t no river wide enough. a ‘plan b’ wedding at rydal hall, ambleside – alice & james

February 10th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

A Plan B Wedding at Rydal Hall (c) John Hesford (32)

Though we’ve manged to avoid the snow fairly well so far during the winter, the north has certainly been battered by a fair few storms, perhaps most notably Storm Desmond, which struck in December.

I remember seeing the heroic lengths wedding suppliers in the North West were going to in order to get to their brides and feeling for those couples that had been well and truly gate-crashed by Desmond.

Today’s bride and groom were one such couple who braved the storm, determined not to let strong winds or flooding stand between them and their big day – for which we applaud them.

With the help of their suppliers and guests, James and Alice still had, in their words, a “perfect day” as they pulled off a ‘Plan B’ wedding, which included a wedding banquet of fish and chips from the local chippy and an impromptu wedding band, proving there really ain’t no river wide enough!

With images by John Hesford.

A Plan B Wedding at Rydal Hall (c) John Hesford (4)

alice says: We got engaged in June 2015, at Kangaroo Point in Brisbane. We were over there with my sister and a friend, visiting some friends. About ten days in, James drove me to Mount Coot-tha for dinner, then to Kangaroo Point where, out on the rocks down by the river, he dropped down on one knee and pulled out a ring, which he’d brought over from England, and had kept in his coat pocket the whole time for safekeeping.

We got married on December 5th 2015. We thought that six months was about right to plan a wedding.

A Plan B Wedding at Rydal Hall (c) John Hesford (24)

We got married at Rydal Hall in the Lake District. James’ family are based in Rydal and he had lived there for a few years. We wanted to get married somewhere which was significant for us and where we could have all of our guests to stay for the weekend. Rydal Hall and the church on site are beautiful – so we thought that if it did rain or snow then the indoor venues were beautiful enough, even if we couldn’t enjoy the outside! On the day this did end up coming in particularly useful as we got married in the middle of Storm Desmond!

We chose a berry colour scheme because it’s my favourite, and tried to stay clear of a Christmas theme!

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our love story: lisa & joe

February 10th, 2016 | Julia Braime

Our Love Story Lisa & Joe (c) Jemma King Photography (16)

This morning on the blog we’re off to the fair to share the engagement shoot of university sweet hearts Joe and Lisa.

Having listened to their wishes for a relaxed and informal pre-wedding shoot with a little dose of fun, photographer Jemma King whisked Joe and Lisa off to Hull Fair in East Yorkshire, which provided an upbeat and vibrant backdrop for some fabulous natural shots.

So grab your candy floss and ice cream as we head for the dodgems!

With images by Jemma King Photography.

Our Love Story Lisa & Joe (c) Jemma King Photography (29)

lisa says: We got engaged a year ago in March. It was a very cold day and we went for a walk at Brimham Rocks. It was a total surprise, whilst stood admiring the view at the top of (what is now) a very special rock!

We are getting married this April, at our church in Leeds followed by a reception out in a little village hall near Wetherby.

Our Love Story Lisa & Joe (c) Jemma King Photography (30)

We first met at university in Liverpool – which feels like a long time ago now! Our first date was watching a film – but I already knew Joe was special when he offered to walk me home after an evening in the library, because it was too dark for me to walk through the park on my own.

I don’t know that Joe and I had a specific moment of realisation in knowing that we were ‘the one’ for each other, but Joe always remembers telling his dad that he’d met “a really cool girl” and thinking that it felt like the start of something exciting.

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a wedding alphabet. p is for pets.

February 9th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

Pic by Rachel Victoria Photography

Today’s post enables me to marry two of my very favourite topics together: weddings and pets.

I just can’t help going weak at the knees when a beautiful real wedding lands in the inbox here at Brides Up North HQ, but if it’s one that happens to feature a bride and groom’s cute pet dog too, my love for it grows all the more.

I make no secret of the fact that I’m animal-obsessed and have no doubt (when I finally get a Dachshund and Miniature Schnauzer – oh and engagement ring!) that I too will be joining the new surge in wedding couples that are including their pets in their big day proceedings.

If, by chance, you have been so buried in wedding planning that this cute trend has passed you by, I’ll quickly bring you up to speed. The ‘no pets allowed’ signs have been well and truly removed from weddings with dogs, cats, horses and even pet rabbits getting in on the big day act, posing for ‘ahhhh’ provoking images with the bride and groom.

Now clearly the trend isn’t for everyone, but if you have a preened pooch or fine feline that you’d love to make a part of your wedding day, we have a few key pointers to help you keep their paws in-line with proceedings, with some cute images from some of our very own Brides Up North real weddings.

Pic by Darren Athersmith Photography

involved from the start

It’s not just the wedding day that we’re seeing pets crop up in, but also engagement shoots too. If you do intend to include your pooch on your wedding day it’s a nice idea to get them involved from the start, particularly if your pre-wedding shoot is taking place in open countryside or at an idyllic coastal location. Having your pet with you can also act as welcome distraction if you’re a little nervous about having your photo taken, as they’ll help you relax in front of the lens, resulting in some fabulously natural shots.

make them key

While some brides and grooms are happy enough to simply pose with their pet for a quick picky, others want to fully involve them in the day by giving them their very own role. We’ve seen owls act as ring bearers before so why not a Labrador or Poodle? Perhaps only a job for obedient pets, the rings can be simply attached to your furry friend’s collar who will then safely deliver them to the other end of the aisle. Elsewhere we’ve seen handsome hounds and pretty pooches become honorary page boys and bridesmaids, complete with bow ties and flower garlands! Which brings me onto my next point…

Pic by Jemma King Photography

fitting attire

With pets now often having wardrobes all of their own, surely a wedding is an occasion that calls for some new threads. Whether going all out with a miniature tux jacket or silky gown-style coat, or keeping things simply with a floral collar or smart bow tie, your pets will want to look their very best and can even be dressed to match your wedding colour scheme or theme.

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