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 5th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
The most common comment from our featured couples on the blog has to be how quickly the wedding day whips by. As such we’re huge advocates of spreading such special celebrations across more than just the one day – after all, how often to you get to be the centre of attention surrounded by all your nearest and dearest? May as well milk it, right?!
One venue that is fully experienced in extended celebrations is our fantastic Sponsor, Hornington Manor, which offers wedding weekends as standard, with parties arriving on the Friday and staying put until the Sunday, or even the Monday, if they so wish.
With exclusive use of the whole venue, situated in a rural location in North Yorkshire, couples and their guests can make the most of their nuptials, arriving the day before the ceremony to prepare, pamper and break the ice, before enjoying a truly memorable and personal big day followed by relaxation and reminiscing with their friends and family on the day or two that follow.
As we host our Luxury Wedding Shows at this venue twice a year (the next one being on 1st November) we know first hand just how gorgeous the Manor is, with wonderful accommodation and fabulous celebration spaces indoor and out, plus an A-star team that really do go above and beyond for their couples. And with that, we will now hand over the blog to the Hornington team to inspire and inform you on what shape a weekend wedding at this stunning venue can take…
Thomas Thomas Photography
Can you give us a brief overview of weekend wedding packages at Hornington Manor?
hornington manor team say: Our weekend weddings run from Friday to Sunday or Monday, and our wedding parties have exclusive use of the whole venue for the entirety of their stay. Our wedding couples move in on Friday morning and begin setting up in the wedding barn for their celebration. Our prices include the exclusive use of the whole Manor: 19 bedrooms, four kitchens, living/communal areas, the Manor grounds, the Wedding Barn (including all tables and chairs for the ceremony and the reception) and the Gallery. The standard package is for two nights (vacate Sunday am) however our couples can choose to extend their stay by a further night on a per room basis, securing the whole venue until the Monday morning.
Why do you think the weekend weddings are so popular with couples and why would you encourage couples to extend their celebrations across more than just one day?
We pride ourselves on creating a relaxed and homely environment for our couples and their loved ones to truly make the most of the special occasion. Planning a wedding can be so incredibly stressful that having the weekend to prepare and enjoy it removes a lot of pressure. It is so rare that all of your favourite people are in the same place at the same time and having the Manor for the whole weekend really does make the most of this. The communal areas encourage guests to spend their time together, rather than being stuck in their rooms. Our couples love the fact they can set up the wedding barn through the day on Friday, and then relax with their family and friends in the evening before the wedding. Once the celebrations come to an end on Saturday, the wedding party can continue into the early hours in the Manor. On Sunday, the whole wedding party are together for breakfast and can enjoy each other’s company and reminisce on the big day.
What areas of Hornington Manor can couples and their guests make use of during the weekend?
Hornington couples have absolute exclusive use of the whole Manor for their entirety of their stay, meaning the space is completely theirs to use however and whenever they wish. Guests can enjoy the Gallery as a games room or host a pub quiz on Friday night. They can all enjoy breakfast together in the dining areas within the Manor on Saturday Morning. They can play games on Sunday with a barbecue on the front lawn, and not have to worry about packing a single thing away from the Wedding Barn until Monday morning.
Can you give us some suggestions on what types of activities couples and their guests have planned for the Friday daytime and evening upon arriving at the venue – any tips on ice breakers?
For the ladies, Friday night is pamper night. Our bridal parties often get have a spray tan and get their nails done, whilst getting excited for the big day! They could create a home spa and truly indulge and relax after all the planning and preparation. Our groomsmen love to have a few games of pool and relax with a beer (We can pop a hand pull in the Manor for a proper pint too!). We can turn the Gallery into a games room complete with darts, table tennis and indoor badminton for the whole group to enjoy. Our couples often host a big quiz for all their guests to get to know each other, or they could create a home cinema in the Gallery to relax and unwind. In the past, our couples have hosted pre-wedding parties with food vans in the courtyard or a Hog Roast under the Lych gate – the options are endless!
The wedding ceremony would take place on the Saturday; can you give us an idea of the schedule of a wedding day at Hornington Manor?
We are licenced for civil ceremonies at a number of locations across the site and the most popular time for the ceremony is around 1pm. We will be here on Saturday morning to get any suppliers settled in and make sure all the final touches are complete. We oversee the ceremony to ensure all runs smoothly and members of our team prepare the reception drinks for when the ceremony is complete. Civil ceremonies usually last around half-an-hour, with another half-an-hour or so for the confetti shots and group photos. If our couple is having a church ceremony, we will be there to wave them off and will be ready and waiting with reception drinks when they return. Our couples usually allow for one-and-a-half to two hours for their guests to enjoy reception drinks and for their photographer to get all the shots of the newlyweds. Once the wedding party moves into the Wedding Barn, they enjoy speeches and their wedding breakfast for two to three hours, before the evening do begins! Timings for the day are totally decided by the couple and we will always accommodate our couples wishes with regards to the running of their day.
After the main celebrations, what types of activities do couples tend to plan for the Sunday?
Sunday is always a day for relaxing and enjoying time together. In the colder months, guests can cosy up in the Manor House in front of an open fire and have a wonderful Sunday roast cooked up for them by any of our fantastic recommended caterers. They could take a trip to York or have a wander into Bolton Percy and visit the fantastic pub! In the warmer months, guests spill out on to the front lawn and enjoy games, music and a barbecue cooked on the patio areas. Hornington Manor is a home from home and we really do encourage our guests to make the most of the space and the family time on the Sunday.
April 6th, 2018 | Julia Braime
We don’t like to get too carried away, but with the temperatures reaching double figures over the past few days we’re inclined to believe that spring has finally arrived – hallelujah! This means that those of you set to tie the knot in the coming weeks can stop considering a snowmobile as a practical method of wedding transport as calm is restored across the country.
Meanwhile, for those of you just getting started on the big day planning, we’re bringing you details of a stunning East Yorkshire venue perfect for stately celebrations. Introducing new Brides Up North Sponsor, the gorgeous Rise Hall.
Sound familiar? You may well recognise the name of the building from Channel 4 show Sarah Beeny’s Restoration Nightmare, when the property guru and her husband Graham Swift brought the historic building back from the brink of dereliction.
From nightmare to dream, the determined couple painstakingly restored the Hall to its former glory, transforming it into a truly unique wedding venue that invites others to share its beauty and heritage, while also helping to safeguard its future.
A grand yet welcoming home from home, Rise Hall is available to hire exclusively for a full weekend of celebrations, giving couples and their guests use of the entire house, including all 29 bedrooms.
Here to tell us more about the venue’s incredible transformation and wedding offering, while also passing on some words of wedded wisdom, is the lady that know Rise Hall best, Sarah Beeny…
Can you tell us a little about the history of Rise Hall?
sarah says: Rise Hall was built in 1820 and was the home of the Bethell family until the Second World War. During the war it was used for the army and shortly afterwards the family moved out to the rectory and rented the house out to a convent who opened a boarding school. This shut down around 1980 and it was then inhabited by the nuns for ten years falling further into disrepair until around 1990 when they moved out. It stood empty and on the market for ten years until myself and my husband bought it in 2000.
What attracted you to Rise Hall and what kind of condition was it in when you bought it?
It was pretty bad but unlike many of the houses ‘at Risk’ that we had looked at, the dry rot hadn’t taken hold too much and it sat happily in the centre of its land. It was solid and straight and surprisingly quick to get to from London, Leeds and York, despite looking a long way east on the map. The first few years were spent with a lot of buckets trying to keep the rain out, but we had fun there and had lots of hardy friends who used to come and stay on mattresses with electric blankets!
What was your vision for Rise Hall and can you give us an overview of the work that has been carried out so far
When we first bought it, I think I honestly thought we might just live there. However, when we had the children we had to make a decision about their schooling and as much of my work was based in London we based ourselves there. It made us look at Rise in a different way and we realised that for it to come out of a ‘building at Risk’ category, it needed a proper future that was financially secure and for that it had to have a purpose. Weddings seemed the perfect option as the dozens of friends who had visited Rise over the years all wanted to get married there so we started the major internal refurbishment which resulted in the finished home we have today.
What is the look and feel of the Hall like now?
We very much want people to feel it is ‘their home’ when they get married at Rise Hall. Yes, it is incredibly grand and walking down the amazing main staircase it is difficult not to pretend you are in a film, but it is also wonderfully relaxed with our ‘pub’ and ‘kick off your shoes’ style mixed with seamless, cheerful service. Rise is pretty classic and traditional in many ways (with a few modern exceptions in the bedrooms) and I believe this is what attracts a lot of our couples.
When did Rise Hall become available for brides and grooms?
It was about six years ago – we wanted Rise Hall to have a sustainable future and knew that weddings were a great place to start. We also have quite a lot of special birthday parties celebrated at Rise also and regularly host corporate getaways.
Is it still a home to you and your family too?
Yes, very much so – it is trickier now that the children are getting older to get there as much as we’d like but all the children, their cousins and most of our friends’ children all have childhoods full of memories of Rise Hall.
Can you tell us about the areas of Rise Hall that can be used for ceremonies and receptions and how many guests the venue can cater for?
There are actually eight different spaces you can get married in at Rise Hall – and of course Rise Church, which is a lovely walk across the parkland. At Rise itself we have rooms that can seat from as few as 20 in the Gallery to 300 in the Ballroom. We want people to be able to have the wedding that perfectly suits them and their guests.
What makes Rise Hall a special wedding venue and sets it apart from others?
To be honest I think the proof is in the pudding – people rarely visit Rise Hall and don’t book it. It is exclusive yet accessible, impressive but informal, grand but comfortable. It truly is your stately home from home!
What sort of bride would be a Rise Hall bride?
We see such a variety of brides at Rise – from the more relaxed bohemian bride, to the dark red tartan bodice wearing bride and to the bride who has always dreamed of the 20-foot train! You name it, we can do it – we are entirely flexible and it truly is your day. I think the thing that all the Rise Hall brides have in common is a love for grand architecture, the feeling that they want the house to be all theirs for their stay and wanting a really great party with feasting and celebration.
How can the venue’s events team help to make the planning process easier and the big day amazing?
I believe that a perfectly organised event is generally down to how experienced the person delivering it is. We have amazing staff who not only know Rise Hall, but they are headed up by our general manager, Ed, who joined us last summer and is fantastically capable of ensuring the planning and delivery of a wedding is seamless. Our motto is that you should enjoy the journey as well as the destination and our team help to make that happen.
Can you tell us a little about the accommodation at Rise Hall?
We have 29 bedrooms. Graham is an artist and was very hands on for much of the design of all the rooms. We have three rooms that reflect the different periods that the house has lived through – Regency, Victorian and Millenium as houses such as Rise Hall would have had perhaps one or two rooms that were refurbished every generation, but most would have stood the test of time. All the beds are fantastically comfortable with loads of feather pillows and shutters or blackout curtains to ensure a great night’s sleep.
What is the feedback like from couples about Rise Hall?
They all say that it feels like home despite being amazingly grand – they never want to leave as the house and gardens are beautiful and somehow time stands still whilst they are there. I think the roaring fires in the winter and endless lawns that can be enjoyed in the summer are a big plus but also that they can have a truly bespoke wedding that is completely different to all the weddings they’ve been to before – that is probably the biggest selling point.
March 26th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
We may currently be praying for even the tiniest glimpse of spring, but today on the blog we have some breathtakingly beautiful wintery wedding inspiration, perfect for those of you planning a seasonal celebration.
The festivities were in full swing for today’s couple, Suzanne and Bevan, who invited Christmas into their wedding and threw a jewel-coloured, lively celebration that incorporated guest participation, with each guest asked to sing a line from The 12 Days of Christmas during the wedding breakfast.
Suzanne’s desire for foliage and no flowers to keep the decorations seasonal shows how incredible a bouquet can look without the traditional floral additions. Another show-stopper is the cake – an exquisite naked confection studded with foliage and feathers, which perfectly complements the Tudor theme of the wedding breakfast. With an artfully dressed chandelier presiding over long tables in the great hall, Suzanne’s love of this bygone period is evident in the evocative yet simple styling. If this was history coursework, we’d give her an A-star!
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Chelsea Shoesmith Photography.
suzanne says: Bevan and I met in Singapore on Tinder, despite both living around the corner from each other in London! One of the first places we headed to as a couple when we were back visiting the UK was Grasmere, where we walked up the Lion and the Lamb. So, when Bevan decided he wanted to propose, he took me back to Grasmere and up to the top of the Lion and the Lamb, where he suggested we take a break. He then pulled from his rucksack what appeared to be a Christmas present (Bevan proposed on 21st December 2016). I opened the gift and it was a book entitled ‘Our Adventures’. Each page was a different picture of our life together so far. When I reached the final page, there was a picture of a jewellery shop with the caption, “I want to ask you to begin another adventure with me” and the next page said, “Will you marry me?” Bevan got down on one knee with a vintage engagement ring – a 1930s blue sapphire with two diamonds either side.
We got married on 22nd December 2017, at Samlesbury Hall in Lancashire. As we live overseas, we tried to pick a date when our overseas friends would also be back in the UK. We liked the idea of making the day a big Christmas party. The venue is in my home town of Preston and I love history, especially the Tudor period, so a Tudor house seemed ideal. The ceremony was in the old chapel, the drinks reception in the antechamber and the wedding breakfast in the great hall. Some of our guests stayed overnight in the shepherd’s huts, which are located in the grounds of Samlesbury Hall. Angela, who runs the venue, is amazing at making your day run smoothly and the venue is bursting with character.
The wedding was not a religious ceremony. However, the ceremony itself was very personal to us. We used Cate Baines at The Ceremony Company and she was fantastic. She really set the scene with a flamboyant explanation of how we met.
In terms of a theme, I was keen to have a vintage feel to my dress because of my engagement ring but we didn’t really have a specific theme, other than telling everybody it was first and foremost a Christmas party.
For the colour scheme, I went with champagne (because of my dress having that vintage look), dark green, dark red and dark blue. I wanted to keep the colours simple and in tune with Christmas.
My dress was designed for me by an Irish designer based in Singapore called Elizabeth Gregory Couture. It was great working with Elizabeth. She designed my dress around my engagement ring and she also designed and made my fake fur stole, which I finished off with a vintage brooch that belonged to Bevan’s great grandmother. I added a back necklace by Tilly Thomas Lux and matching hairpins. I’d like to give a shout out to Chloe and Sarah for the fantastic hair and makeup – two lovely working mummies!
Bevan wore a suit, also designed and made by Elizabeth. Her suit brand is called Elizabeth Grace. Bevan wore navy with a beautiful grey waistcoat sporting bright red lining.
March 23rd, 2018 | Julia Braime
Some of our very favourite recent real weddings and styled shoots like this one here (and you know we get through our fair share of those here at Brides Up North HQ!) all had one thing in common – the venue. Saltmarshe Hall was a name that kept cropping up again and again in our most stylish celebrations, so we just had to find out more. One thing led to another – as these things often do – and that curiosity was the start of a (VERY) beautiful friendship!
Now a permanent fixture in our diary, we are delighted to present another Brides Up North Bespoke Luxury Wedding Fair at Saltmarshe Hall on Sunday 15th April 2018, to showcase the venue and a truly handpicked selection of the area’s most fabulous wedding suppliers. As those of us sporting a sparkler on our ring finger know all too well, the best things come in smaller packages. As wedding inspiration goes, this event is one of our best!
This event is pure luxury, an open doors, friendly soiree, to show you exactly why Saltmarshe (and our chosen supplier team) is so very special. If you are on a venue hunt, or are simply looking to finalise the last wedding details with the very best industry creatives available in a relaxed and stunning, no pressure environment, then you must put this date in your diary.
We’ll be showing off our most fabulous find yet – East Yorkshire’s most romantic wedding venue – between 12pm and 3pm on Sunday 15th April, and as with all of our events, entry is FREE.
A restored Georgian Grade II listed Hall with a dash of style and elegance combining both traditional and contemporary charm and set in 17 acres of stunning parkland, Saltmarshe Hall is a truly unique place to say I do. The Saltmarshe ethos is to listen to what you want; and we love that they don’t enforce any off the shelf packages, rather letting their couples’ creative input flourish.
All the rooms are licensed for ceremonies and there’s also the option to hold your ceremony outdoors. The team also promise to never hold more than one wedding per day at Saltmarshe Hall, so that the venue is truly your home – and blank canvas – for your personal celebration.
We’re giving away up to 100 free Bride To Be Media Packs, filled with glossy magazines and treats from Brides Up North and the brand new issue of UNVEILED Magazine. As demand is high, to pick up your VIP pack all you need to do is pre-register using the form below.
While stocks last.
We would love to welcome new exhibitors and old friends to the Brides Up North family in 2018. We are now accepting exhibitor bookings for all of our award winning luxury wedding exhibitions across three regions. Exhibitors will be strictly limited by category and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Discounts are available for block bookings. Get in touch for pricing, exhibitor info and to guarantee your place.
Email email@example.com listing the events or area that you are interested in.
Find out and see more at www.saltmarshehall.com.
March 1st, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
Mike Plunkett Photography, image source
The date’s in the diary, the venue’s booked and now it’s time to make one of the biggest weddingland decisions of them all: who gets the photographer gig?
Trust us, there are lots of talented snappers out there (including those featured in our Suppliers We Love directory) – we are blown away by the beautiful imagery that is submitted to the blog every week, and so we understand it can be tricky to narrow down the choices.
Beyond the aesthetics there are further aspects to consider – cost, packages, approach, albums – but there’s no need to get in a head-spin, for we’re elaborating on these points today as we share our top tips to finding the right photographer for you and your big day…
James Tracey Photography, image source
As you trawl through magazines and blogs, what style of photography speaks to you? Classic portraiture, i.e. posed couple shots and family groups with everyone smiling and looking the right way? Or are you a fan of a more documentary-esque, reportage style – pretty much the opposite, with events caught candidly ‘in the moment’ and barely an eye on the camera? Are edgy shoots your thing – often (but not always) featuring urban settings, bold colours, dramatic backdrops and quirky props, angles and cropping? Or there’s fine art, where reality has an extra-dreamy romantic filter applied; these pictures are super-tasteful, with the pretty pumped up to the max and a fashion magazine feel.
There’s always some overlap, but a wedding photographer generally leans towards one of the above – so decide what feels most ‘you’ and start looking for shooters who specialise in your favourite style.
Sarah Mason Photography, image source
There isn’t one set standard in wedding photography, so now that you’re noting down names and details it’s time to pay attention to the fine print. How many hours coverage will you need? Can they be flexible if the day runs over? Are you set on a second shooter and, if so, can they offer one? What do they provide in terms of an album: how many edited images; what about hard copies; is there an online gallery for friends and family to peruse? Start digging deeper: check client testimonials, look at whole albums rather than a handpicked selection of highlights from the last few years and make comparisons between your shortlist and other similarly-priced photographers.
Kate McCarthy Photography, image source
You’re going to spend a LOT of time with your wedding photographer – probably more time than any of your other suppliers – so once you’ve narrowed the potentials down, it’s best to meet in person. Have a list of questions ready – perhaps email them in advance – and put together a Pinterest board of images you love so that you can clearly communicate the kind of end result you want. A wedding photographer needs to be personable, confident, and outgoing, but also sensitive, respectful and professional. Once you’re face to face, it’s easier to make the judgement call as to whether they’re the one for you. Do they feel right? Our ultimate advice is to trust your gut.
Jessica Grace Photography, image source
Once you have the photographer on board, it’s time to relax. You picked them because you loved their work. Now its time to let them do their thang!
Obviously, your chosen photographer will have to work within the constraints of your agreement (and what actually happens on the day and what’s there to shoot!) but if you want our advice, here’s ten popular photographs we think you can’t miss. If you love these ideas, talk to your photographer in advance of your wedding, then stand back and let them set the agenda for the day. Everyone works best if they are allowed the freedom work in their own way and if everyone is on the same page, then its sure to be a match made in heaven!
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