December 7th, 2017 | Julia Braime
The official advent countdown to Christmas is on, and we have our chocolate-filled calendars half eaten with our thoughts firmly fixed on the seasonal celebrations to come.
As part of our December plans we always like to squeeze in a festive mini-break, whether it be in the UK or slightly further afield for some alternative Christmas shopping, traditions, food – and, of course, drink!
On our getaway radar this year is France, as it offers a complete change of scenery and is easy, affordable and quick to get to with flights, ferries and trains all travel options.
For you brides-to-be a French festive jaunt could also double-up as an opportunity to scope out the country as a possible location if you’re considering a destination wedding, or it could be an ideal minimoon location to check out if you’re delaying your main honeymoon until later in 2018/19. And as one of the most romantic places in the world, a trip here could be the perfect celebration for the newly-engaged among you, or perfect downtime for those of you that have been caught up in the craze of wedding planning for much of the year.
So, if like us, you’re tempted – what area will you pick, where will you stay and what will you do? Well, as this is a Christmas trip we’d want a grand yet cosy setting where we can envisage ourselves curled up with a glass of something mulled or sparkling, we’d also like it to be peaceful and picturesque though close enough to a city, so we can experience the seasonal culture of the country. One such place that ticks all these boxes is Château Bouffémont – a stunning French chateau, large enough that you could extend the invite to friends or family and have yourself a very merry Christmas at this incredible abode.
For those enchanted by the thought of its perfectly manicured grounds sprinkled with snow and who can almost hear the crackling sound of the lit fireplace from here; this dream chateau is available for a two-night Festive Season Break Package enabling you to enjoy exclusive – yes, exclusive – use of the Château Bouffémont and its grounds, together with an assortment of winter activities for you and your chosen Christmas squad.
You can make yourselves right at home, enjoying drinks by the fire, festive films and games in the lounge and fine food at the dining table. Though the French culinary traditions maybe different to those in the UK, they still like to go all out at this most wonderful time of the year. For example, in France, Christmas Eve is the day when the biggest festive meal is enjoyed in most households, with oysters and/or foie gras on the menu, followed by turkey, often with chestnut stuffing and cheese, and finally dessert of fancy log ice cream or sponge and chocolate.
And when it comes to venturing out, Château Bouffémont is situated just 30 kilometres from the centre of Paris, meaning you can schedule a trip to the ‘city of lights’ into your itinerary – what could be more Christmassy than that?! You can marvel at the jaw-droppingly beautiful illuminations, immerse yourself in the festive markets, admire the stunning festive window displays at the Galeries Lafayette department store during some serious shopping, get your skates on at the ice rink outside the Hotel de Ville, or head to Place de la Concorde for a sight of the spectacular Big Wheel. And if that wasn’t enough, you can find out more about what’s planned for the festive period in Paris at the official website of the French capital’s Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Sounds even better than a scene from The Holiday right? So, we say dig out the passports, get your nearest and dearest that you’d want to spend a magical mini-break with involved, and get booking. We’ll see you on the other side of the English Channel!
October 18th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
Though we’ve had some unseasonably mild days of late, we have to say that our summer holidays are but a distant memory at this point in the year. We’re therefore delighted to be spending this morning basking in the details of Elizabeth and John’s gorgeous Spanish wedding.
Leaving their Cheshire home behind, this sun-loving couple jetted off to Arroyo de la Miel, for a fairy-tale castle style ceremony followed by an open-air golf course reception.
In a nod to the setting, Elizabeth and John’s big day featured an abundance of white blooms, tapas, paellas and, of course, sangria!
So, sit back, relax and bring on the sunshine! Just be warned, viewing this post may result in an irresistible urge to book your next European excursion…
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Lee Brown Photography.
elizabeth says: John proposed while we were on a cruise for his parents 60th birthdays after first getting Paul (my dad) drunk and asking for his permission (he was more than happy for John to take me off his hands!) John’s family were all in on the surprise, concealing the ring and putting petals and champagne in our room. It was a big surprise – so much so that John had to push me into the room to stop me from talking!
We set the date for Saturday 29th July 2017, with the wedding taking place in Spain. I’ve been visiting Benalmadena for summer holidays since I was a baby and John and I have enjoyed several family holidays together in Spain over the years too.
Our ceremony was held at Castillo de Colomares in Arroyo de la Miel Pueblo. We chose this location after talking with Liz Wilkinson, the celebrant who married us. She mentioned the venue and we fell in love with it instantly. All our family and friends said it was like a fairy-tale castle so it seemed the perfect setting.
Our reception was held at the nearby Torrequebrada Golf Club. My dad often plays golf here and had friends who are marshals at the club. The golf club is gorgeous and it seemed the perfect summer venue to have the reception.
We wanted the wedding to be typically Spanish so we had white flowers everywhere, our tables were named after our favourite restaurants and bars in Arroyo de la Miel. We had tapas as our starters for our wedding breakfast, three different paellas for a main course, and Spanish omelette, serrano ham and Manchego cheese for our evening snack. Our welcome drinks were San Miguel beer and sangria.
The wedding theme colours were white and blue. Our bridesmaid dresses were pastel blue and the groom and groomsmen outfits were navy and white. All decorations at the venue were white, including the chair covers and flowers.
The wedding dress I chose was called Snowdrop by designer Amanda Wyatt. I bought my dress from a shop near home, called The Cheshire Wedding House. The lady in the shop suggested this particular dress, I loved it! It held me in all the right places and I actually felt like a beautiful bride.
John decided he didn’t want to go down the traditional three-piece suit option, he knew how hot it gets in Spain in July and decided on a smart short combination. He picked smart Tommy Hilfiger navy shorts for himself, his best man and all his groomsmen. John then ordered seven made-to-measure shirts from a website called iTailor. John was able to pick exactly what style and colour he wanted for the shirts. John and his best man wore matching brogue loafers from John’s favourite shoe shop, Goodwin Smith.
My bridesmaids wore pastel blue Grecian style bridesmaid dresses from YS Dress in Stockport. They also wore matching earrings and necklaces, which were gifts from John and me.
July 4th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
While we’re clearly huge advocates of couples marrying in the north of the UK, we know that some of our lovely bride readers crave sunnier climes for their big day – and as we look out Brides Up North HQ’s windows while writing this on a grey and drizzly July afternoon – we don’t blame ‘em!
But if you’re going overseas and taking your destination wedding squad with you, which hot spot is going to tick those boxes? While we wouldn’t turn down the option of a ceremony on a postcard-perfect white sandy beach in the Caribbean, we think trying the knot a little closer to home has its benefits in that it should require less time and money to travel there. This hopefully means you could afford to get in a few pre-wedding trips prior to the big day to meet with venues, planners and suppliers, and would hopefully ensure most of those on your guest list could afford to make the journey too.
A favourite holiday hot-spot for us sunshine-loving Brides Up North girls is the Algarve (in fact our Editor has just come back!), and given our many visits to this stunning area of Portugal, we can safely say that it would make an incredible destination for an overseas wedding too. Not only do we love its beautiful golden beaches, idyllic white-washed buildings, friendly locals and fabulous food, but until autumn it’s pretty much sunshine central and is less than a three-hour flight away.
So, in case all this talk of a wedding complete with sea, sun and sand has your piqued your interest, we’re handing over the blog to the expert team at The Real Algarve who know a thing or two about celebrations in the southernmost region of Portugal.
As a privately-owned family business, The Real Algarve was established in 1995 by experienced travel specialists Lynne and Simon Bunting, and the company is now also headed up by their two daughters Katie and Vicky. The team specialise in providing luxury villas and apartments to rent in the Algarve, and also have a wedding planner based in the region, meaning they’ve got the inside track on planning dream weddings in the Algarve – and they’re kindly sharing details with us here today…
The Real Algarve team say: Thinking of tying the knot in the Algarve? Famous for its long sandy beaches, delicious food and welcoming locals, why wouldn’t you want to get wed there? The Algarve is less than three hours away, and has beautiful weather almost guaranteed until mid-October. For those tempted, we’ve put together the ins and outs of planning a wedding in the Algarve, with insider knowledge from a local wedding planner from The Real Algarve.
Getting married in Portugal isn’t complicated but there are a couple of important things you need to know before you start booking your flights and accommodation.
Just like in the UK, civil ceremonies and Catholic church weddings are recognised by law and are legally binding. As with any wedding, there is some paperwork that needs to be arranged in advance so allow plenty of time to get your documents in order. Your documents will need to be originals, Apostille stamped (a stamp which authenticates the document) and translated into Portuguese by an agency verified by the Portuguese Consulate.
For a civil ceremony, you’ll need long-form birth certificates and certificates of no impediment, as well as your passports. Catholic church weddings are a bit more complicated, as you’ll need to provide some permission letters from your parish priest and bishop – for the full list of what’s required, contact the Portuguese Embassy.
Even if you’re very familiar with the area and have visited many times before, arranging a wedding in a different country can be a challenge, which is why it’s a good idea to consider hiring someone with some local knowledge to help out. They’ll be on hand to take care of the arrangements before you and your party arrive, leaving you able to enjoy the experience without the stress.
This is where you’ll need to tap into your wedding planner’s knowledge of local suppliers. They will be able to advise you on florists, caterers, makeup artists, hair stylists, and photographers in the local area and give you honest recommendations.
June 19th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
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.
Prepare for take-off as we’re leaving the north of the UK behind today and jetting off to Lake Como in Italy to relive the utterly gorgeous big day of Cheshire-couple, Emma and Glen.
Everything about this wedding says style, class and romance; from the insanely beautiful location to the wedding party’s stunning attire and the lavish speed-boat transport.
It’s all be captured perfectly by Ally M Photography, and we have to say that Emma and Glen work the camera like pure pros!
With images by Ally M Photography
emma says: We got engaged during a surprise trip to Venice in October 2015, and the proposal was as romantic as it gets. Glen got down on one knee on a gondola boat in Venice through the inner canals of the city with a photographer, videographer and finished with a pre-arranged candlelight dinner and my favourite white roses.
We specifically selected the 26th July 2016, to get married as it’s an extra special day for the family. It was my mum’s birthday and we wanted to include her in the day as much as we could. Unfortunately, she passed away five years ago, but we know she was there in spirit on the day.
After the proposal, we fell in love with Italy and so chose a venue on the beautiful Lake Como to hold the wedding at. Our venue, Relais Villa Vittoria, was an Italian villa on the edge of the lake overlooking the mountains. We hired the whole villa and had close friends and family stay there with us for four days. The weather was so beautiful on the day!
We wanted a modern, contemporary wedding. We kept the wedding classy with a James Bond twist – Glen arrived by speed boat but would have chosen to sky dive if he could have! At 11pm a yacht picked the wedding party up and we partied on the lake until the early hours.
Our colour scheme was made up of natural whites, light blues and silvers. I love white roses and as Glen included them in his proposal to me, they have an extra special meaning and so had to be included in the wedding.
For my wedding dress, I wanted something that resembled a glamourous evening gown but that wasn’t too heavy with it being so hot. I still wanted something that was magical though so I made sure it had a long train. I chose an off white, Pronovias 2017 collection dress.
Glen meanwhile, had his suit made by a company called Signature Bespoke, whose suits are handmade in Italy.
My lovely bridesmaids wore dresses from Coast.
Ally M Photography was our chosen photographer for the wedding. Ally and his fiancée Lucy, were just brilliant and captured the perfect moments!
May 10th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
We’re predictable creatures here at Brides Up North. Usually when we’re sent a wedding featuring a Maggie Sottero creation, we can’t tear our eyes away from the bride. However, today’s groom almost – almost! – steals the limelight from his stunning lady in a tropical blue jacket and chino shorts combo.
Jack and Zalie were married on the Costa del Sol and their jaw-dropping pictures really have us aching for a summer holiday. They settled on a tropical blue theme and the azure sea, aqua skies and blue detailing really packs a photographic punch.
Add in some original photo styling – swings, brides in goal, grooms air punching – and you’ve got one of the most inspirational beach weddings we’ve seen in a long while.
Images by Peace Photography.
zalie says: We got engaged at Jack’s family home in Spain on Christmas Day in 2014. It wasn’t a surprise for me; we‘d arranged and planned most of our wedding before anyone knew and surprised our families on Christmas Day when we told them.
Our wedding was organised for 29th May 2016. We chose the date as it was a bank holiday, falling in half term so that family and friends were likely to be able to attend. Also, being in May meant that the weather wasn’t too hot or too cold.
We married in Benalmadena on the Costa del Sol in Spain, and we had the ceremony and reception on the beachfront. We chose a destination wedding as my husband grew up in Spain and the place holds a lot of great memories for the two of us. Because we were getting married abroad, we used wedding planner Melissa Palmer of Bespoke Weddings Spain. I’d highly recommend her – she made life so simple from the day we met her until the day of the wedding.
Our wedding theme was connected to gin; we had a gin-inspired table plan titled ‘Grab a seat and let’s be-gin.’ Each table was named after a different type of gin, and we placed a bottle in the centre of the table along with fruit and berries. Guests could then help themselves to the many different types flowing on different tables.
For colour, we went with a bright, tropical blue. It suited a beach theme!
Jack wore a tropical blue suit jacket, cream chino shorts, a white shirt and white leather Converse.Our groomsmen wore the same as Jack.
February 2nd, 2017 | Rachel Parry
If there’s one thing we love as much as weddings here at Brides Up North, it’s a holiday – and so what could be better than combining the two with an overseas wedding?
And it seems we’re not the only ones thinking along these lines, as were informed by the experts that Portugal is fast becoming a destination wedding hotspot, with couples favouring the beautiful country for it’s warm temperatures, short flight times and incredible scenery.
Better still, Portugal has a fitting location for all styles of weddings; from relaxed celebrations on the beaches of the Algarve, to vibrant city nuptials in the likes of Lisbon and Porto. Intrigued? Us too! Thankfully we know of an event where you can find out more about planning the perfect Portuguese wedding and meet an experienced team of people who can take care of every little detail for you.
Taking place at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Manchester on 11th and 12th February, happy couples from around the UK looking to marry in Portugal’s Algarve, Lisbon, Cascais and Sintra areas, are invited to experience first-hand the renowned Portuguese hospitality, warmth and exceptional service in one-to-one appointments with the very finest Portuguese wedding planners.
With Algarve Wedding Planners & The Vows, brides and grooms-to-be can discover all of these amazing locations and much more, with a complete and tailor-made service to make each dream wedding become reality.
Those that attend the showcase can pick up elite tips and advice from Paula Grade and Karina Sousa, two of the Algarve’s very best and professional wedding planners, and be inspired by a selection of handpicked and exceptionally talented Portuguese suppliers, including designers, florists, gastronomes, photographers and five-star venues.
paula says: Why get married in Portugal? From Lisbon down through to the sunny Algarve, you will find a great destination for your dream wedding in the sun. Portugal has a range a stunning settings to suit all tastes, from breath-taking beaches and traditional countryside villages to unique palaces for a true fairytale day. The beautiful country is best known for its long sandy shores, good quality food at excellent prices and lovely welcoming people.
So, if you’ve been thinking of tying the knot abroad, why not chose sunny and accessible Portugal?
The bridal showcase event is free to attend, though booking is required. To book your appointment and be with a chance of winning a fantastic full board weekend trip away, send your full name and wedding date to email@example.com or call +351 96 56 23 091.
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