Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

dream venue: sefton park palm house, liverpool

December 12th, 2017 | Julia Braime

Sefton Park Palm House (3)

We’re all feeling the cold this week as temperatures plummeted from nippy to flippin’ freezing levels following the weekend’s snowfall. In a bid to warm things back up, we’re brining you details of a truly unique wedding venue in the north west that has tropical vibes all year round!

Introducing Sefton Park Palm House, a breath-takingly beautiful Victorian glass house that’s home to the Liverpool Botanical Collection and that provides a spectacular celebration space like no other!

Surrounded by award-winning parkland, iconic monuments and unusual plants, the stunning building can host weddings of up to 400 standing guests and 220 seated guests within its incredible glazed structure.

Not only can couples marrying here be sure of a quirky and individual setting, but following a partnership with hospitality specialists Dine, brides and grooms saying, “I do” to Sefton will also receive exquisite catering and faultless event management as standard.

Planning more than 200 weddings each year, the Dine team are well qualified to make big day dreams at Sefton Park come true, and are here today to tell us what makes this rare venue such a winning choice for a couple’s special day…

Where is Sefton Park Palm House located?

dine say: Sefton Park Palm House is located in the magnificent 235-acre historic Sefton Park, in south Liverpool. The Grade I park is a Green Flag and Green Heritage awarded site with beautiful features and monuments. The park’s bandstand, popular since the Victorian era, is said to be the inspiration for The Beatles’ song Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Can you tell us a little about the history of the venue?

Sefton Park Palm House was designed and built by MacKenzie and Moncur of Edinburgh. Henry Yates Thompson, a Liverpool millionaire, gifted £10,000 to the city to fund the construction. The Palm House was opened in 1896.

During the Liverpool Blitz of May 1941, a bomb fell nearby and shattered the glass. It was reglazed in 1950 at a cost of £6,163. However, after a period of decline it was closed in the 1980s due to safety concerns.

In 1992 a public fundraising campaign raised more than £35,000, which led directly to the repair and reopening of the Palm House in 1993. It was fully restored at a cost of £3.5 million with Heritage Lottery and European funding and fully reopened in September 2001.

Sefton Park Palm House (1)

How would you describe the look and feel of the venue?

Sefton Park Palm House is an octagonal, Grade II listed, three-tier dome conservatory designed in the tradition of Joseph Paxton’s glass houses. The conservatory currently houses one of the oldest horticultural collections in Britain, originally containing more than 4,000 different plants.

The eight corners of the Palm House are marked by statues by the French sculptor Léon-Joseph Chavalliaud. These statues include explorers Captain Cook, Christopher Columbus, navigators Gerardus Mercator and Henry the Navigator, botanists and explorers Charles Darwin, Carl Linnaeus and John Parkinson and landscape architect Andre le Notre.

The Palm House is a luxurious, historically significant venue that makes any event feel special and unique. The combination of the glass and the horticultural collection means that even on a day where the weather isn’t quite perfect, you’ll feel as though you’re in a tropical oasis.

It’s also worth remembering that booking your wedding at the Palm House will contribute towards its preservation for future generations.

Can you tell us about the ceremony and reception areas and how many guests the venue can cater for? 

Sefton Park Palm House is licensed for civil ceremonies, civil partnerships and renewal of vows. The Palm House can host a maximum of 400 guests when standing, while 220 guests can be seated for dinner.

The Palm House is a Victorian glass house and is one large building so both the ceremony and reception take place in the same beautiful space.

What makes Sefton Park Palm House a special wedding venue and sets it apart from others?

The beautiful setting in the 235-acre Sefton Park, combined with the octagonal, tiered conservatory and the significant collection of plants makes this venue truly unique. It is unlike any grand country house or modern venue, and once inside you and your guests will feel as though you are in a world of your own.

The historic significance of Sefton Park Palm House and the chance to preserve it for future generations when used for events makes this a venue one on its own.

Sefton Park Palm House (2)

What sort of bride would be a Sefton Park bride?

Sefton Park Palm House offers a beautiful setting for year-round weddings and often appeals to brides looking for something different and completely unique. The venue is, of course, happy to welcome couples from all over the UK looking for that extra special venue with the ‘wow’ factor.

How can your staff help to make the planning process easier and the big day amazing?

Our experienced events team will expertly guide you through the planning process to turn your vision into reality. They can advise what will work within the venue and make creative suggestions.

We draw on our expertise of planning more than 200 weddings each year, and combined with the extensive experience of the Sefton Park Palm House events team, we are well qualified to make the planning process as easy as possible and your big day beyond imagination.

Can you tell us about the accommodation at the venue or is there accommodation nearby the venue that you could recommend?

Both The Sefton Park Hotel and the Hallmark are located within Sefton Park so you can enjoy a short walk through beautiful parkland to your wedding venue.

Sefton Park Palm House is also a ten-minute drive from Liverpool city centre, which boasts a fabulous selection of hotels on the waterfront and in the town. Such a convenient location means you and your guests will be spoilt for choice.

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berry gorgeous: a rich & opulent styled shoot at soughton hall

December 12th, 2017 | Aislinn Thompson

A Berry Styled Shoot at Soughton Hall (c) Teresa C Photography (36)

We’re getting your Tuesday off to fine start with this styled shoot which features ones of the dreamiest colour palettes for the time of year. Rich berry and golden tones turn up the heat at the opulent Soughton Hall, a Georgian country house in North Wales that once was a bishop’s palace.

Award-winning make-up artist Cathryn Kerwin-Rawlinson engineered the shoot, having witnessed a dramatic change in the interior style of the venue since it changed ownership in the last couple of years. Here she shares her story behind the shoot and introduces us to the talented suppliers who assisted her in achieving her vision…

With images by Teresa C Photography.

A Berry Styled Shoot at Soughton Hall (c) Teresa C Photography (17)

cathryn says: I regularly work and exhibit at Soughton Hall, which is close to Chester in the North Wales countryside. I love the details outside the property and the décor inside and wanted to create a rich and romantic look to complement the high-end venue.

A Berry Styled Shoot at Soughton Hall (c) Teresa C Photography (18)

As a wedding venue, it is my personal favourite and I thought it was a great place to do an autumn/winter styled shoot, so I spoke to friends and contacts in the industry to see if they were interested in a collaboration. Everyone I asked was interested in the shoot and venue and wanted to take part. The theme we chose was romantic styling with rich berry and autumnal tones.

The interior décor of the main room at Soughton is navy blue and gold, so we wanted to pick up on the colours of the room but use rich colours to complement. We opted for a colour scheme of gold, navy, deep reds and burgundy. A Pinterest board was created and everyone knew that the look and feel for the shoot was opulence and richness.

A Berry Styled Shoot at Soughton Hall (c) Teresa C Photography (12)

For the table decorations, Vikki Sweeney from Sapphire Bespoke Events went for very rich golds and jewel colours, while the flowers by Carol Anne’s were a mix of deep reds, again taking inspiration from the Pinterest board we all created before the shoot. Lindsey Devlin of Devlin Designs created invitations and table cards, again picking up on the chosen colour scheme.

A Berry Styled Shoot at Soughton Hall (c) Teresa C Photography (3)

In the summer, I did a wedding for a bride who wore an Essense of Australia gown from Bellissima Brides and I rated it my top dress for 2017. And so, when Carol Ellis-Thompson, our hair stylist, contacted Bellissima to see if they would like to take part, we asked them to bring some of their Essence gowns along. Our model, Gaby, suited these gowns perfectly and they fitted her like a glove!

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river deep, mountain high. anna sul y for a chic garden wedding at eleven didsbury park- jess & craig

December 11th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth

A Chic Garden Wedding at Eleven Didsbury Park (c) Nik Bryant (20)

Today’s love-struck couple, Jess and Craig got engaged 4,000 metres up the Rocky Mountains, but wanted to come back down to earth with an elegant garden themed wedding. And it was the stunning Eleven Didsbury Park – a luxury villa hotel close to Manchester – that ended up being their venue of choice, providing the enviable backdrop to their celebrations.

Keeping things understated and natural, the newlyweds went for a subtle sage colour scheme complemented by some rather gorgeous florals, including amnesia roses, blue thistle, white veronica and eucalyptus gunnii, not to mention plenty of wood, hessian and candles for decoration.

Though sticking to a strict budget, our savvy couple pulled together lots of special touches and treats, including an indulgent cake table (yes, that’s a whole table of cakes!), and we for one are bowled over by their special day.

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Nik Bryant Photography

A Chic Garden Wedding at Eleven Didsbury Park (c) Nik Bryant (4)

jess says: Craig proposed at the very top of the Rocky Mountains, at 4,000m on Peak Eight of Breckenridge ski resort in March 2016. He pretended he wanted to take a photo of us and set up the GoPro, but in fact was filming. He got the whole proposal on film! It was a stunning sunny day, very windy and freezing cold, with the most incredible view. After proposing, Craig produced two small bottles of champagne and glasses, which he’d hidden in his backpack. He almost got frostbite in his fingers as a result of taking his gloves off to give me the ring and pour the champagne!

A Chic Garden Wedding at Eleven Didsbury Park (c) Nik Bryant (1)

We got married on 30th July 2017. We wanted the wedding to be in the summer so that we could have a garden wedding or garden reception. We also chose a date that would mean that all of our close family and friends could be there.

We initially went to the open day at Didsbury House Hotel, and at the end of our visit they asked if we wanted to also see their sister venue Eleven Didsbury Park. We wandered down the road and when we saw the gardens, we completely fell in love with the idea of a garden wedding there.

We had planned to get married in the walled gardens of Eleven Didsbury Park Hotel, however in the end there’d been so much rain the week before that the ground was too soft. Instead we got married in the Blue Room of Didsbury House Hotel, which was pretty perfect and a beautiful back-up plan. We then had the reception back at Eleven Didsbury Park in the gardens there.

A Chic Garden Wedding at Eleven Didsbury Park (c) Nik Bryant (25)

Neither of us are religious however I had a Jewish upbringing. We chose a Humanist ceremony as it allowed us to create a personal ceremony bespoke to us.

Our absolute best decision was using Hannah Wroe Gill as our Humanist Celebrant. It was the one thing we went well over budget on, but she created the most personal ceremony bespoke to us and which had all our guests in tears and talking about the ceremony afterwards.

A Chic Garden Wedding at Eleven Didsbury Park (c) Nik Bryant (47)

We decided against having a strong theme. We felt that the venue itself had such great character and the gardens were beautiful in themselves. We planned a relaxed and understated garden wedding with personal touches and a natural feel.

We wanted the bridesmaids to look fantastic and feel comfortable in their dresses so we picked them out first before deciding on a colour scheme. With two brunettes and one redhead, sage green dresses from Little Mistress suited them best, so we went with that.

The guys then picked out the ties and pocket squares to match – they even took one of the dresses shopping with them to make sure they got it right – what absolute stars!

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belle of the ball. teal & coral for a fairy-tale wedding in the north west – amy & jamie

December 7th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Fairytale Wedding in Manchester (c) Robbie Venn Photography (45)

This afternoon’s gorgeous real wedding features a striking teal and coral colour palette, a truly exotic bouquet and some jaw-dropping stained-glass windows.

Amy and Jamie’s Saddleworth and Ashton-based big day also boasts some stunningly candid speech photographs and a top-drawer mother-of-the-bride outfit – full marks, mum, for co-ordinating perfectly with the colour scheme – the Brides Up North team salutes you!

What turns our head most though has to be Amy’s Disney inspired dress based on the ballgown of one of our very favourite princesses, the beautiful Belle.

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Venn Photography.

A Fairytale Wedding in Manchester (c) Robbie Venn Photography (23)

amy says: We got engaged on 2nd October 2016, while we were on holiday in Puerto Pollensa, Majorca. We’d been out for an evening meal and were walking back to the apartment when Jamie said he’d seen something down on the beach, I followed him down to the sea, he got down on one knee and proposed with a gorgeous ring.

We chose 30th September for our wedding day; originally, we’d wanted 7th October, but the church was unavailable on that day.

A Fairytale Wedding in Manchester (c) Robbie Venn Photography (49)

We chose Friezland Church for the ceremony. I’d driven past it many times and thought it was a beautiful church in a stunning location. The reception was at The Village Hotel; it was a great location with easy access for all of our guests. They offered a great food and drinks package with loads of extras.

In terms of a colour scheme, we chose teal as the main colour. We found that teal dresses suited all of our bridesmaids beautifully. We also opted for a coral colour for the flowers to complement the teal.

A Fairytale Wedding in Manchester (c) Robbie Venn Photography (24)

I wore an Alfred Angelo Disney inspired dress based on Belle’s dress from Beauty and the Beast. I‘d seen the Disney inspired collection and thought the dresses were amazing. I went to Once Upon a Bride and knew as soon as I put it on that it was the one.  My shoes were custom-made Beauty and the Beast Converse hi-tops made by Becci Boo’s Custom Shoes.

Jamie wore a dark grey suit, a chequered grey waistcoat, a white shirt, teal tie and a top hat from Perfect Fit. The groomsmen wore the same as Jamie.

The bridesmaids wore floor-length, teal, halterneck dresses by Alfred Angelo and our flower girl wore a sparkly white dress with a teal sash. All of the bridesmaids wore coral Converse.

A Fairytale Wedding in Manchester (c) Robbie Venn Photography (21)

Transport-wise, we hired two retro Volkswagen Campers and two Volkswagen Beetles to take myself, the bridesmaids and my mum to the church from Funcampers in Stalybridge. As a surprise for Jamie and the groomsmen, I hired two Range Rovers, but ended up with a Jaguar XJ as one crashed the day before!

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and for our next trick: introducing wedding magician danny jewell

December 6th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Stephen McGowen photography

Stephen McGowan

A DJ and live music are the types of entertainment that instantly spring to mind for brides and grooms to consider when planning their wedding, but there are further acts that can be incorporated into the day to make it all the more memorable.

Magicians being one such offering – and we’re not talking seen-it-all-before pulling a rabbit out of a hat style tricks, but mesmerising magic that will leave guests impressed, stunned and enthralled.

We know just the man who can help wow you and your guests with his amazing skills – talented north-west based magician, and Brides Up North Sponsor, Danny Jewell.

Having been practising magician for more than 12 years, Danny has developed a fabulous range of close-up magic that works particularly well as an ice-breaker among guests and keeps all ages entertained during the ‘slower’ points of the day, such as during photos and the switch over from the wedding breakfast to evening reception.

Jess Yarwood Photography

Jess Yarwood Photography

When did you first start performing magic and how did you get into it?

danny says: I started performing magic at the age of 13 (I’m now 25!). I saw a magician on holiday in Dominican Republic blow up a balloon, pop it and a live dove appeared on stage! It was the first time I’d seen live magic, so I decided to buy a Marvin’s Magic Set with some pocket money I had saved from my holiday spends. I practised every magic trick for hours then ended up doing my first family show that night. I then found myself a mentor and I started learning all the techniques used with cards and coins.

I ended up performing in Salou, Spain at the prestigious House of Illusion magic dinner theatre show entertaining more than 200 guests per evening six nights a week. All the hard work was worth it in preparation for all the lovely bride and grooms I’ve met over the years. Evidently, I learnt a lot more about the performance side of magic and being a top-class entertainer specialising in wedding entertainment.

Is there a certain type of magic that you specialise in?

I predominantly specialise in close-up magic around Manchester, Cheshire and the North West, performing at weddings to guests of all ages using cards, coins, ropes and other everyday objects. In my opinion, performing high quality magic with plenty of audience participation for adults and children is important because the bride and groom are purchasing a package that they can trust for their wedding day. I have the ability and experience to accommodate the magic to the situation of the event too. For example, performing around tables or mix and mingle magic for guests in groups of two to ten people, who have a drink and are relaxing in the bar area of your chosen venue.

Every single routine I utilise has been tried and tested at more than 150 weddings, so you can be sure to receive the very best in wedding entertainment for your special day!

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For what points of the day do wedding couples tend to book you and what type of magic do you perform at these times?

Drinks Reception – shortly after your ceremony finishes, you will be having photos taken with your photographer so your guests will need entertaining until you sit down for the wedding breakfast. This is the perfect time for me to break the ice for all your guests by performing interactive close-up magic for approximately five to ten minutes per group of two to ten people. Most of the magic I do can be done in the spectator’s hands and I always work my hardest to ensure everyone is involved during the wedding performance.

Wedding Breakfast – the show usually continues from the drinks reception around tables in between the courses of the meal. The magic doesn’t interfere with service and I perform a varied routine which adds a lot to the atmosphere of your special day. I have the experience to work the tables in a professional manner ensuring guests have a fantastic day!

Changeover Section – this is probably my favourite place to perform at a wedding because everyone has eaten, the atmosphere is a lot more relaxed and guests are up for high quality entertainment before your evening party starts. I’d perform magic for people in the bar area and around tables.

Jess Yarwood Photography (1)

Jess Yarwood Photography

In your opinion, why is a magician a good choice of entertainment for a wedding?

Every bride and groom want their wedding to be unique, memorable and to stand out from the rest! A magician is the perfect way to do this because magic is an interactive personal form of entertainment suitable for adults and children. People presume magicians are cheesy however, this is definitely not the case! The right magician with plenty of experience will entertain guests with magic, laughter and plenty of applause throughout the drinks reception, around tables or during the changeover section at your wedding.

Magic has also been revitalised from shows such as Britain’s Got Talent. Therefore, the public understand that a good magician stands out from the rest and is definitely something to squeeze into the plans for your wedding day.

What makes you different from other magicians?

Most magicians are remembered by an audience from one particular trick they did, such as walking on water or bending a coin in the spectator’s hands. The main difference with me is the fact that I have an extensive repertoire whereby every magic trick I do flows in a routine and I have the ability to change my act if people start following me around. This is important on a professional level and develops from a lot of experience performing at many types of events.

Amanda Boileau photography (1)

Amanda Boileau

What do you enjoy most about performing, and particularly at weddings?

I’ve always had a passion for acting and a strong interest in performing arts. I think magic combines both of these together and enables me to express myself as a performer. I love meeting new people and putting a smile on their faces and after all, there’s not one person I’ve met that doesn’t want to be entertained! Magic enables people to remember a special moment in their lives that they can talk about for years to their friends and family and that means a lot to me.

I love performing at weddings because each wedding is different. Brides and grooms always put their own spin on their wedding and it’s fantastic to see so many people come together and celebrate the wedding of their loved ones. Everyone has a smile on their face and wants to be entertained which makes everyone more approachable and encourages a much better performance.

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run to you. jewel tones for a personal wedding at the bowdon rooms – laura & john

December 6th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

A Jewel Wedding at The Bowdon Rooms (c) Johanna Steward Photography (26)

Most brides spend the morning of their wedding getting pampered and preened in preparation for their impending nuptials, but today’s featured bride spent her final ‘un-wed hours’ completing her 50th Park Run. Now that’s some fitness dedication!

Stepping out in a charity-shop-bought wedding gown to mark her special day and the milestone run, Laura was joined by fellow members of the Lymm Runners running club as she completed the 5km course at Victoria Park in Warrington, before heading to a nearby café in her home village of Lymn for a Bucks Fizz brunch.

But worry not readers, Laura and John’s ceremony was late afternoon, so the bride still had plenty of time for hair and beauty prep and slipping into her proper wedding gown.

Keen for a fun and memorable big day, today’s couple wanted a venue that could offer an intimate space for their personal ceremony as well as room for a real party, with The Bowdon Rooms in Altrincham, ticking all the boxes.

And here’s some advance warning… ready your new diaries for our next glittering Brides Up North wedding show at The Bowdon Rooms, Sunday 4th November 2018. More details on that later.

With images by Johanna Steward Photography.

A Jewel Wedding at The Bowdon Rooms (c) Johanna Steward Photography (2)

laura says: We got engaged on 27th December 2016, in the Lake District during a few days away between Christmas and New Year. We had spent the day relaxing by the fire in the hotel after a lovely big breakfast, then we went for a ten-mile trail run around the lake and up to the waterfalls and finally having lovely meal in a quirky restaurant called The Jumble Room. John proposed in the middle of the road on our walk back to the hotel after our night out, it was completely unexpected, but I was thrilled to say yes.

We set the date for 2nd September 2017. It worked really well as all our friends and family were back from holidays with the kids as they were heading back to school that week, so everyone was able to make it – even one friend who flew from holiday, drove straight from the airport and just made it in time for the vows!

A Jewel Wedding at The Bowdon Rooms (c) Johanna Steward Photography (30)

Our chosen venue was The Bowdon Rooms in Altrincham. We knew that we wanted a local venue which had a lovely atmosphere and we didn’t want it to feel like a hotel. Having looked at quite a few venues, including marquees and local wedding barns, The Bowdon Rooms felt like the right choice. We had been to friend’s wedding party there previously and had such a brilliant evening. The ballroom felt perfect and it even had a stage for a band.

Our ceremony, which was at 4.30pm, was held upstairs in The Bowdon Rooms and it was lovely. John and I wrote our own vows and my son walked me down the aisle before giving me away – he did a fantastic job. It felt really personal and a few people had tears in their eyes – I guess it was intimate even though we had 90 guests.

A Jewel Wedding at The Bowdon Rooms (c) Johanna Steward Photography (34)

In terms of the colour scheme, I didn’t want the usual ‘wedding colours’ of pastels, creams and the like. I love bright vibrant colours, so chose purple, teal and emerald green. They are all colours that are found in peacock feathers, which I love, so we incorporated feathers into the wedding décor.

A Jewel Wedding at The Bowdon Rooms (c) Johanna Steward Photography (12)

I initially considered not having a traditional wedding dress, but quickly decided that I did want to look like a ‘bride’. I visited a few wedding boutiques and had almost given up finding ‘the dress’ when we went to Puure in my home village of Lymm. I chose my gown because I loved the embellishment detailing, which I thought suited the vintage style of the venue. Angie and the girls in Puure are absolutely the best at helping to choose a dress that suits you and were so lovely right through the fitting process too.

To accessorise my gown, I wore some very special hand-painted shoes by a fantastic artist called Kat from Electric Heels. They are covered in images that mean something to my husband and I; the places we are from, places we have visited together, our hobbies etc. They are unique and I now have them displayed in my living room.

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