September 20th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
It goes without saying that choosing your dream wedding venue is one of the first – and most important – decisions you’ll make when it comes to tying the knot.
And even before you hone in on different venues and draw up a wish list, the most basic of questions will need consideration: should you marry in the country or the city?
Both locations offer couples something unique; complementing your grander plans and priorities for the day – whether it’s unrivalled photo opportunities, ease of getting from the ceremony to the party after, or quite simply fitting with your overall theme.
For some brides, you may already have the perfect backdrop mapped out in your head, but for others who are undecided, we’re taking a closer look at the merits of both locations and the special qualities they could bring to your wedding celebrations. Which will you choose?
When you think of a country wedding, chances are you’ll think of a magnificent manor house, or even a castle with impressive sprawling grounds.
Country weddings are typically traditional, grand and offer exclusivity. And for the most regal of settings, they tend to come with a heftier price tag, too.
If you’re after something classic, steeped in heritage and in complete contrast to your day-to-day lives, then this style of wedding offers a true fairytale moment and is perfect for couples after a touch of elegance and decadence.
The backdrop will require minimal effort on your part, with the venue decked out in the most pristine and classy of decors – think chandeliers, illustrious artwork, spellbinding staircases and balconies, and majestic furnishings. The surrounding estate (the stuff from period novels, no doubt) will offer the finest of photo opportunities too. What’s not to love?
Of course, there are other types of country weddings which have become increasingly on-trend in recent years. We’re talking about the country barn or tipi.
The barn is another serene, stylish backdrop but it’s much more informal. You’re likely to have more freedom on how you decorate this space (candles, blossom trees and festoon lighting are just a few ideas we’ve seen recently) and you’ll probably be able to bring in your own catering – ice cream parlours, burger vans and street food pop-ups abound!
For something unconventional with an ethereal twist – the tipi is the venue du jour for the boho bride and groom. This is the ideal setting for outdoorsy types who want to break away from the traditional wedding day formula and do it their way, with bundles of rustic charm. We’ve seen everything from outdoors game tournaments to bake offs, and of course, mesmerising photos set within atmospheric woodlands and meadows.
The down-side? The country wedding takes place in a rural, secluded spot and your guests may have to travel far to get to and from the venue. Local accommodation may be limited as well, so guests will need to be super-organised and book early.
Whatever your style or theme though – the country wedding comes in many captivating guises. And irrespective of the venue you choose, all you can really hope for on the day is some good British weather to top it all off!
The city wedding is brimming with cosmopolitan, contemporary vibes. It’s for the bride and groom who are forward thinking, pragmatic and modern in their outlook, looking to make a statement.
The hustle and bustle of the city might prove too much for some couples, but for the bride and groom who opt for an urban backdrop – the thrive on this hectic yet lavish location. And they don’t shy away from attention either. There’s also the added convenience it offers both them and their guests in terms of transport and accommodation on the day itself.
A city wedding can bring glamour and glitz by the bucket load with chic hotels and city landmarks – everything from maritime museums and art galleries to former warehouses, rooftop bars, breweries and zoos – providing your celebrations with an unconventional edge.
There might be limitations on how you can access and decorate these venues and some spaces may also need to remain open to the public, so it’s worth clarifying these points when you go for a show around.
A city location can present unusual and iconic photo opportunities too. Suddenly the everyday becomes a stunning prop in your photo…crossing a busy road, standing in a doorway scribbled in graffiti or even the quirky architecture of the pub on the corner or a distant towering office block.
And if you’re choosing a city wedding, then chances are, the city in question holds special memories for you and your hubby-to-be, so why not go all-out and pay homage to this in your décor and theme for the day? From your table names and centre pieces to your welcome drink and favours – think of original ideas that will personalise the venue and help put your stamp on the day.
Country and city weddings offer such a contrast to your celebrations, and within each location, there’s another myriad of choices to be made when selecting a specific venue. But like most things associated with your wedding planning, we’re pretty sure you’ll have a gut feeling what’s right for you and your fiancé. The key is to make whatever venue you choose your own, and make it the flawless backdrop for showcasing your personalities and sharing your special memories together with your loved ones. Country or city? You decide!
July 25th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
When Rebecca and James’ Christmas wedding dropped into our inbox we simply couldn’t believe our luck. In Rebecca we saw a kindred spirit: a girl hell-bent on gorgeousness, glamour, sequins and a festive berry lip. Plus, she tells a blummin’ good story, not just spilling all the pretty details (obvs) but also gets across a real sense of the laughter and love they shared with their guests on the day. All the goosebumps.
Our highlight? Well, that Ritva Westenius gown is a beauty – a slinky statement of a dress with a simple, timeless silhouette – and the gallery setting is something very special indeed – but if the Brides Up North team could direct you to just one detail it would be that makeup. An education in how to do bridal glamour right there. You’re very welcome.
With images by Shane Webber.
rebecca says: We got engaged in 2015 while on holiday in Singapore (this makes us sound very extravagant – it was a treat!) We were sitting drinking cocktails at the long bar in Raffles (as you do), munching away on the complimentary monkey nuts (as you do), when I looked down to see that one had a ring around it. Cue floods of tears from me for the next hour – the poor barmaid didn’t know what was going on. It was a complete surprise (although there may have been some, ahem, gentle encouragement from me in the months proceeding) and the happiest moment of my life (pre-wedding!)
Initially we looked at a September wedding, but struggled to match up availability of our venue and the registrar. I also had a niggling idea about a winter wedding that wouldn’t budge…after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing and wails of “But I thought we’d agreed September!” I think it was actually James who first said “well, what about Christmas?” And that was that. We had a hankering to do something just a little bit different and we both love the festive season, so it felt perfect.
We had both the ceremony and reception at the Manchester Art Gallery. We really wanted to get married in the city centre as it’s local to us, and we both love the paintings there. We looked at a couple of other venues but when we went to look round the Gallery, James (not normally the world’s most effusive about these kind of things) turned to me and said: “I actually feel a bit excited!” I could’ve hugged the woman showing us around! It’s a beautiful building inside and out and such a privilege to marry there.
We loved the idea of an elegant, glamorous theme with a touch of Gatsby. With the ceremony being later in the day at 4pm and the time of year, this theme worked really well. We considered a black-tie dress code for guests but James wasn’t sure. In the end our invites said: “It’s Christmas, it’s evening, so feel free to throw the glitter around and GO ALL-OUT GLAM’”. Sums it up, really!
So the colours? Hints of gold, sequins and dark jewel shades for the best men. And the ‘feel’? Glamorous, warm, festive. We wanted our guests to feel special and essentially have a fantastic pre-Christmas party!
I chose a simple but elegant dress by Ritva Westenius from Isaac Charles in Poynton. It was a sample on its own in the store and when I tried it on I loved how I felt in it. Because of our theme I really wanted something that felt glamorous and luxurious (…and a bit sexy, as I said to my slightly bemused mum) The store and staff at Isaac Charles were lovely and I’d definitely recommend them to any brides-to-be.
James, the best men and both our dads wore elegant white dress shirts, black trousers and velvet dinner jackets from Reiss. The boys wore black and James’ was a dark blue just to stand out a little. They all had contrasting silk scarves, pocket squares and bow ties. I absolutely loved it; they all looked so handsome. James was really keen for something a bit different but also a ‘non-traditional’ suit (that could be worn again for special occasions) and I think he nailed it.
The bridesmaids wore floor-length gold sequinned gowns from Jenny Packham at Debenhams. I had such a strong idea of what I wanted them in that we ended up getting their dresses before mine. Thankfully, they liked them! They both looked so beautiful. Amina at Stockport Wedding Services did a great job with alterations for us all.
July 3rd, 2017 | Julia Braime
We’re getting our usual blogging schedule back underway the only way we know how – in style! Ladies, have your pinning fingers at the ready for today’s real wedding is an absolute stunner!
Bride Elizabeth and groom Rob chose the contemporary King Street Townhouse for their city chic wedding that featured all-white blooms, sophisticated décor and just a touch of sparkle through the maids’ gorgeous dresses and a pair of glistening Jimmy Choos. I mean, need we say more?
With images by Kate McCarthy Photography.
elizabeth says: We got engaged during a holiday to the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. We had stopped off in Paris enroute just to add to the romance. We were in a small village called Deshaies, sat relaxing beside the Caribbean Sea watching the sun slowly setting. It was a very romantic moment and the perfect opportunity for the proposal.
Our wedding was on 30th April. We chose this date purposely as Rob’s birthday falls on 22nd April and mine on 29th April – it gives us the perfect reason each year to go on holiday to celebrate our birthdays and anniversary.
We got married at King Street Townhouse in Manchester. We always wanted the chic city wedding and set to work finding the perfect venue – as soon as we walked into KSTH we both knew immediately that this was the place we would be married.
Our day was a city chic style wedding with lots of grey, white and silver – we really wanted something sophisticated and timeless. We kept the colour palette classic, clean and contemporary.
When it came to picking my dress, I was looking for something totally unique and something that would fit the city chic theme. I had already bought a wedding dress but something in the back of my mind said it wasn’t quite right. I continued searching and found a small boutique, as I walked in I saw the dress. I fell in love with it. I had to have it. Unfortunately, it was a designer sample and wasn’t for sale – I tried it on, it was so perfect. So much so that I refused to take it off until the boutique agreed to sell it to me!
On the day of the wedding, my hair and makeup was done by Ariana Rose, who was superb. She arrived just after 7am and stayed with us for almost six hours, a truly talented professional who not only listens but also offers advice where necessary. Outstanding!
My bridesmaids wore grey dresses with silver and white beading that were bought from Lindybop.
July 1st, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely. Usual service will recommence on Monday 3rd July 2017 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from the first half of the year so far.
Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your real wedding was one of our top picks.
Today’s real wedding bride, Niamh, says that her only theme for her and Pete’s city centre wedding in Liverpool was “things we like”.
All we can say here at Bride Up North is that it’s a theme that really works. Led by instinct, Niamh opted for a hint of 1920s decadence with her beaded bridesmaid dresses and a timeless clean-cut Pronovias gown with statement red lips.
Liverpool is a significant place for this gorgeous couple, and their photographs make it clear why – see how many stunning views, famous landmarks and cheeky references to this fabulous city you can spot.
With images by Starwinkle Photography.
niamh says: We got engaged in July 2013 in London. I‘d just turned 27 and Pete and I returned to London (where we used to live) for a night out with friends to celebrate. The following morning we set off for a day out in the glorious sunshine. We put together an amazing picnic and headed up to Primrose Hill, just the two of us. True to form, I fell asleep in the sunshine on the hill, and when I awoke we had to hotfoot it to Piccadilly for dinner – Pete had booked a table at Sketch, a fave restaurant, as a birthday treat.
En route, he suggested we take a detour to Green Park; another old haunt from our London days. It was a really warm evening and the park was beginning to empty out – there were just a few people left catching the last rays. We walked together under the trees; it was really beautiful, no one else around, and the light dappled through the trees. The next bit is all a blur…
Pete is one of the sweetest boys you will ever meet, not one for big ostentatious gestures. He’s incredibly thoughtful and charmingly clumsy and cries at X Factor. As he walked along he began to tell me how much he loved me – he dropped down onto two knees, asked me to marry him, fumbled with his backpack and then produced the most beautiful antique sapphire and diamond ring.
It was so surreal, I couldn’t believe what was happening. All I remember was dropping to the floor with him, both of us on two knees and saying “are you you really doing this?”, and both of us teary-eyed kneeling in the grass. Then Pete said, “you haven’t said yes or no,” and I shouted “yes!”
It was perfect. I had absolutely no idea and the element of surprise was the best thing. It was so simple, no big fancy holiday, just a summer day out with my favourite person.
We were married on Saturday 25th April 2015. We ‘d always talked about having a spring wedding. We decided to get married in Liverpool where we met at Uni in 2006, as it’s a city that means a lot to both of us and our families. So that was it – we went back to where it all began.
We both lived on Catharine Street at Uni in Liverpool’s Georgian Quarter. Although we wanted a fun, different, quirky personalised wedding, it was also important to us to have all of our family and friends there and to say our vows in church. There’s a small church on Catharine St, St Phillip Neri. We explained to the priest that we loved Liverpool and it was where we’d met and he agreed to marry us!
My mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer two months after we got engaged so in the months leading up to the wedding there were ups and downs. Thankfully, she was there on the day and was in great spirits. For so many reasons, our wedding was just the most incredible celebration of life, love and happiness. She made it her goal to be there and she was, she was well and it was brilliant. Some of mine and many others’ lasting memories of her will be her having the time of her life at our wedding.
We chose Oh Me Oh My as the venue for the reception. From the moment we stepped foot inside we fell in love with it. The stunning high ceilings, natural light, quirky vintage furniture, fairy-lit balcony, incredible roof garden and beautiful views of Liverpool’s iconic Liver Building: it was just perfect. Cafe by day and events/exhibition venue by evening/weekend. Then we met Katie, who was so warm and friendly and her enthusiasm and passion for the venue was palpable. She listened to our ideas and suggested amazing ones of her own and made us feel as if anything was possible.
Our only theme was ‘things we like’. We both really like old things and bright colours, so there was a bit of that! We decorated the venue with brightly coloured pom poms and tassle garlands. I made a polaroid timeline with pictures of me and Pete which were punctuated by coloured paper doilies.
We hired a candyfloss and popcorn stand as the canapes with reception drinks. We also had pick and mix and personalised football accumulators bets as the favours.
We didn’t really have an ‘official’ colour scheme, either. The bridesmaids wore silvery grey, the boys wore navy and then venue was filled with bright coloured and gold paper decorations fairy and candle light. The reception venue was a big blank space, with high ceilings and beautiful natural light and carefully picked quirky pieces. We decided to embrace this and add more of our own.
We filled a glass cabinet with our parents and grandparents’ wedding photos. We decorated the balcony as a ‘games area’, including Subbuteo, a game called ‘Pucket’ and DIY photo booth. I made bunting out of Trivial pursuit cards to mark out the games area as Pete is a massive trivia/useless information fan!
May 15th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
Today’s real wedding is all about the beautiful summer florals and gorgeous detailing – think kitsch bunting, homemade chutneys and cupcakes, plus lots of twinkling lights.
Set in one of our favourite northern cities, York, the couple’s special day perfectly captures the beauty of an urban wedding, with park benches, stairwells and bustling streets all featuring in their stunning wedding album.
After exchanging vows against the magnificent backdrop of their local church, Roz and Rob then celebrated with family and friends at the National Centre for Early Music. Going for something of a creative DIY approach (would we expect anything less from an art teacher?) the bride was very hands-on in the lead up to the wedding and a few of the guests even baked some scrumptious treats to tuck in to on the day.
With images by Alwin Greyson Photography
roz says: After asking my parents for permission, Rob decided to pop the question at one of my favourite places near my home town of Sheffield, on 26th May 2014. We decided to go for a walk to Stanage and once we arrived at Robin Hood’s cave Rob presented me with a gift, which was a photo album filled with pictures from our past two years together. Whilst I was looking through the last page, he got down on one knee and popped the question. I said yes and as we embraced we heard someone clapping, we looked up to see a rock climber cheering us on – we thought we were alone, but what a spontaneous surprise!
We tied the knot on 25th July 2015. As a teacher, I wanted to get married during the holidays – this gave me a week after school finished to get things sorted, as it was very much a DIY wedding!
We got married at St Michael Le Belfrey Church in York. This is the church where we met and both attended.
May 5th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Sarah and Chris’ chic city wedding was held at the stunningly eclectic Great John Street Hotel in Manchester. They wanted a laidback day that was big on personal touches and low on formality and, by Jove, they got it.
Their photographs prompted a strange, hybrid emotion in the Brides Up North team. A smidgen of envy, a touch of nostalgia, and more than a little bit of excitement for long, hazy summer days and barbecue season on the horizon.
Ladies, please. Check out that classic hourglass dress, that gypsophila headband and those perfectly #bridesquad personalised sliders and tell us you don’t feel your heart tremble.
Images by Delicious Photography
sarah says: Our engagement was just brilliant. As we’d been together for 12 years, I thought it wouldn’t happen; Chris had planned a normal Christmas Day morning with lots of presents so that I wouldn’t suspect a thing. Later, we went for Christmas dinner with my family. We were all sitting there and he made an announcement in front of them all. It was a such special moment and totally not us. My granddad was poorly at the time so it was extra special and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house!
We were married on 14th October 2016, we were desperate to get married in the same year. Great John Street, our chosen venue, was booked up but we managed to get a cancellation.
We had our hearts set on Great John Street in Manchester city centre from the beginning. It’s a 5* eclectic hotel, with stunning décor that matches my style exactly. We had a simple brief: we wanted live music all day and no sit-down formal table plan. We ended up having a barbecue on the roof terrace and it was perfect for us.
Our theme was pretty relaxed. I had one décor specification and that was lots and lots of flowers and candles. We had a photo booth that our friends set up for a giggle and got our wish of live music all day long.
Colour-wise, I went for white. However, we also chose a dusky tan for the bridesmaid dresses and my dress also had a faint tan/pink coloured underlay.
I chose a very fitted dress with a classic hourglass shape from Adele Howarth-Winstanley Bride in Upper Mill. To me, the lace created a vintage feel about it and I was desperate to find a dress that had a hint of colour.
Chris wore French navy tails, from Best Man with a mustard waistcoat, navy polka dot tie, a handkerchief and a pocket watch.
The groomsmen’s suits were similar to Chris’, also from Best Man. The bridesmaids’ dresses were from ASOS and were long, dusky-coloured, high-neck pleated gowns.
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