July 26th, 2018 | Julia Braime
When planning a wedding the ‘to do’ list can seem never ending, and so we’re all ears for any time savvy solutions that can help to get another box ticked off.
Today on the blog we’re bringing you news that can help save serious time on the wedding playlist.
Introducing, The Wedding Collection, a double-sided compilation album brought to you from the musical experts at Classic FM. Carefully put together to provide music for all parts of the day, from the ceremony through to the reception, the album features classical masterpieces and contemporary hits, to create the desired atmosphere for differing parts of the proceedings.
So, there’s no need to spend hours trying to recall the titles and composers/acts of songs you like then tediously compiling your own playlist as The Wedding Collection has it all covered. Music to your ears, right?!
Time now then to hear more from the pros behind the album on how such music will help to enhance a wedding, which tracks made the big day grade and, most importantly, where The Wedding Collection is available to buy from.
Can you give us an overview of The Wedding Collection?
classic fm say: The Wedding Collection album is a brand-new collection of music which promises to create the perfect atmosphere for upcoming weddings. We know how difficult it can be to choose the perfect wedding music, so with this album we have tried to package up all of the best bits with a modern twist to suit all parts of the day and all guests.Disc one is full of traditional music specially curated to be played during the ceremony including, beautiful performances of classics like Wagner’s Bridal Chorus and Pachelbel’s Canon in D. Disc two features more contemporary music which has been classically arranged, perfect for the reception. There’s something here for everyone, such as Ed Sheeran’s Perfect, Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You, and the much loved This is Me from the Greatest Showman.
What elements of their day should couples take into consideration when picking the right music for their wedding?
Background music (guests’ arrival); ceremony, including hymns and wedding march; reception music; dinner soundtrack and extra entertainment.
What genres of music tend to work particularly well for weddings?
Classical music traditionally tends to feature heavily in wedding ceremonies, with pop music also frequently making an appearance later on as entertainment at the reception. It can be quite difficult to pick your wedding soundtrack as there’s just so much choice! We think the Wedding Collection will help you get a selection of the best traditional pieces and a taste of popular songs rearranged with a classical twist.
What type of music would you suggest for the wedding ceremony and why?
Traditional classical pieces are often chosen for the wedding ceremony as they fit so beautifully, but of course there is a huge variety to choose from depending on your taste. We did a study on the nation’s favourite wedding music (which you can see on the Classic FM website) and the winning piece was revealed as Widor’s Toccata, from his Symphony No.5 for Organ. Other extremely popular pieces are Handel’s Arrival of The Queen of Sheba and Pachelbel’s Canon. All three of these feature on the Wedding Collection Album, the first disc of which was specifically curated for the wedding ceremony.
July 2nd, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
If you’re in love with the idea of tying the knot in a rustic barn, then today’s real wedding will be giving you all kinds of butterflies. Say hello to newlyweds Emma and Marc, who tied the knot during the Easter break at the sublime Owen House in Cheshire.
Floating candles, fairy lights and lanterns all help to set the romantic ambience, complemented by fabulous arrangements of pink, cream and green flowers that really embody the au naturale setting. It’s enchanting beyond words and everything we could hope from a classic barn wedding.
There are plenty of other fabulous highlights to look out for, too, including a prosecco cart, heart shaped fudge pieces as favours and – breaking with convention – the bride ditching heels for a pair of Converse! We think you’re going to be Pinterest-happy with this one, ladies!
With images by Sarah Beth Photo.
emma says: After being together for seven years, Marc decided to pop the question while we were on holiday in New York. We had enjoyed a short walk around Central Park with friends in the morning and then, whilst walking near a bridge, Marc asked to take a selfie with me. Looking in his bag for the ring, he then passed me the ring box to which I asked “what is this?” and he went down on one knee and popped the question.
We did not have a set date in mind but knew we wanted either a spring or summer wedding. I’m a teacher so with Easter being a two-week holiday, this was the ideal time for us.
After visiting a number of venues and knowing that we wanted a barn wedding, Owen House was the perfect choice. When visiting the venue for the first time, it was not dressed and was rather plain, but even from this we could see the potential it had, and we fell in love with it. The ceremony room is ideal, with fairy lights along one side of the room and rustic benches, windows and doors. It was the perfect barn venue for us.
We thought we knew what we wanted, but this changed over the course of planning the wedding. When we finally made a decision, we went for a rustic but modern theme. The rustic being the barn and some of the decorations and the modern being the dresses and the rose gold theme that ran throughout the favours and décor.
From trying on a range of bridesmaid dresses from dusty pink to creams, it seemed apparent that our colour scheme was going to be natural. My maids of honour and bridesmaids were originally going to wear dusty pink, but after visiting Dotty Bridal, and trying on their multi-way dresses in a sample colour mink, the girls and myself fell in love with the colour and decided to go with this shade. In addition to this, when I met with the florist, she had some flowers displayed in her house called ‘quick sand’. This was my favourite colour and I fell in love with it and it worked perfectly with the theme and the other pinks, whites and greens used throughout the day.
When visiting Dotty Bridal, I just knew this was where I would buy my dress from. My mum and my maids of honour came with me for each session to try on the different dresses and as soon as I walked out with my dress on, they burst into tears and I knew then that was the dress for me. The whole dress experience was fantastic. The alterations were also done at Dotty Bridal by a local seamstress, who made it fit perfectly to my shape.
I have never worn heels in my life (being so tall), so I wasn’t going to start on my wedding day and risk falling down the aisle! I decided to wear a pair of Converse from Schuh which were super comfy all day!
June 29th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
As we find ourselves at this sensationally sunny mid-point of the year it’s time to reflect on the on the words of wisdom shared by the fabulous brides who have featured on the blog so far this year.
There is certainly nobody better to advise you on how to handle the run up, as well as the big day itself, than those who have been there, done that, said the ‘I dos’ and worn the Jimmy Choos. As such, we’ve picked out top 20 pearls of wisdom that we consider golden to assist you on your planning journey; from recruiting the right suppliers and avoiding a dress shopping crisis, to working as a dynamic duo and really making the day your own!
So readers, prepare to take note as these fully-fledged brides complete the following sentence – “My top tip to other Brides Up North would be…”
Click on the links to see each wedding in full.
Louise says: Firstly, enjoy every minute of the planning as well as the big day. Don’t over think things. Set your budget but when you see something you really like, go for it. I think you can spend so much time scrutinising everything and it can take over your life. Secondly, don’t leave yourself too much to do in the last week before the wedding. The build-up was such good fun and we loved spending that time with our family and friends before the big day. We also used Brides Up North in the lead up to our wedding to help with the planning – I followed the Instagram account (and still do!) We also read the wedding blogs on the site as it is a great way to get ideas – and who doesn’t love to hear about other people’s wedding stories?! We used the online supplier directory as a sense check too.
Sarah says: Don’t stress about the little things; as long as there is good food, drink, dancing and good company you will have the best day regardless.
Rachael says: Enjoy the process of organising the wedding as much as you can. It is such a busy and, at times, stressful experience worrying about making the right decisions and trying to keep everyone happy, but it is also a really special time and one that doesn’t last forever, so make the most of it. Ultimately, it’s your day and, as long as you do what makes you both happy, you can’t go wrong.
Jemma says: Take your time and don’t get stressed! Start planning early and do bite sized tasks bit by bit so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Jessica says: I would strongly recommend getting a venue decorator/stylist. It’s easy to think that it’s easier to do it yourself but it was so reassuring to know that we could enjoy the day before without worrying about centrepieces. Oh, and get married early – it gives you loads of time to chat to everyone!
Jen says: Follow your gut and do what feels right for the two of you. Make sure you push to have an occasion that is personal and keep it fun. Everyone says it, but the day itself goes so fast, take some time to be together and sit back for a minute to look around. The ceremony is the best bit, so don’t forget about it in the planning madness!
Nic says: Do everything together. People often say that planning a wedding is stressful. It’s as stressful as you choose it to be! Make all the decisions together, split the workload and be decisive.
Kathryn says: Don’t let the rain ruin your day! It rained all day on our wedding day, but it didn’t matter in the slightest. I’m so happy we decided to embrace the rain and head into the woods for some photographs, as these ended up being some of my favourite photos of the day. The rain makes everything look so fresh and the colours look so beautiful in our photos.
Emily says: Get a wedding planner as they are well worth the money. They keep you on track and have great recommendations; they know what suppliers you can trust and also help to keep everything on track on the day of the wedding itself. I am an extremely organised person so thought I could do it on my own, but my husband convinced me we needed a planner and I am so thankful he did!
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.
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