March 29th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
Johnny Dent Photography, image source
Outdoor weddings used to be a bit of a rarity in the UK, favoured by a few hardy souls who wanted a boho big day with all the festival feels and weren’t put off by Britain’s notoriously unpredictable weather. There was also the issue of licensing; in England and Wales (the rules are more lenient in Scotland), you have to be married under a fixed roof for a marriage to be legally binding – not a marquee, a tent or a flower arch, however lovely the photo opportunities might be. Gah, pesky laws!
However, in recent years there’s been a rise in the number of venues licensing beautiful outdoor structures for the ‘I dos’ or offering the option of a legal ceremony indoors followed by a beautiful symbolic ceremony outside. Alternatively, some couples opt to do the legal bit in a lowkey ceremony at the local registry office and then go all-out on their outdoor ceremony and reception a few days later. It seems like years of stunning photos of American brides walking down aisles of meadow grass and couples exchanging rings by a lake on Pinterest have worn us down – we want the same levels of pretty! And with numerous companies specialising in props and accessories for outdoor weddings to help your day go without a hitch whatever the weather, open air ceremonies are becoming more common.
Of course, putting the ceremony aside for a moment, the outdoor reception has always been pretty popular concept, from a relaxed marquee ‘do’ in a big back garden or a farmer’s field to a luxe tipi or sperry tent affair resplendent with oak chandeliers, firepits and fancy portaloos (piped music and funky lighting optional). But can an outdoor reception ever really wrestle the crown from indoor weddings, with all their certainty and control? Let’s see…
Photography34, image source
Control, Control, Control: From temperature to lighting, most factors can be controlled with an indoor wedding – appealing for a couple who want things to go as predictably as possible. Most couples worry about rain, especially if planning a spring or summer wedding, but extremely high temperatures can also pose problems: sunburn, wilted canapes and guests going a bit, err, wild on the drinks in an attempt to cool down. If this sounds like a nightmare waiting to happen, then perhaps indoor is the best choice for you.
Rest Your Head: With most indoor venues, there’s ample accommodation to be had either on site or nearby. Hassle-free, all you need to do is confirm your venue and send the details around your family and friends inviting them to book. No worries about putting on transport, setting up a campsite or shepherding people into taxis at the end of the night…
York Place Studios, image source
Extra facilities: With a conventional indoor venue – hotel, restaurant, country house etc – you may have access to other facilities in the run up to or the morning after your wedding. You might find yourself in the spa, letting the other half loose on the golf course, hiring bikes or enjoying a final meal together as Mr and Miss. Not quite so easy if you’re having an outdoor celebration.
Marie Marry Me, image source
No hangover: The morning after the wedding, you want to be scoffing Eggs Benedict and flashing your new jewellery to anyone who’ll humour you – not sweeping up confetti and packing away 300+ glasses. With a conventional wedding this is taken care of by the in-house team, whereas with an outdoor wedding you’ll have had lots of freedom in your planning but also may have to shoulder some responsibility for dismantling/packing up – or hiring somebody to do it for you.
Suzy Wimbourne Photography, image source
Laidback vibes: There’s just something so – chilled – about an outdoor wedding, whether ceremony, reception or both. If the gods are smiling and you land a day that isn’t too extreme at either end of the weather spectrum, there’s nothing more wonderful than a relaxed open-air celebration. The feel-good factor increases by 100% when we’ve got our shades on, a little bit of sunshine on our skin and a glass of something refreshing in our hand. It might be a little risky, but it’s nigh-on impossible to beat if you manage to pull it off.
Super styling: Unless you’re Mariah Carey, you can’t really walk into a hotel and demand that they change the wallpaper, the chairs and that hideous light fitting. Whereas with an outdoor wedding – marquee, tipi or sperry tent – you’re almost given a blank canvas to play with. You’ll have more freedom with styling and decor and, dare we say, simple (and cheaper) decor often works better outside – a few candles, fairy lights and flowers can transform a venue from a Plain Jane into Sandy-at-the-end-of-Grease.
February 15th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
With ever expanding location options for couples to tie the knot, we love to see brides and grooms taking their celebrations outdoors to make the most of the North’s stunning areas of natural beauty; from sweet coastline settings, to historic woodlands and beautiful open areas of rolling countryside.
Though enjoying some fully open-air elements, most brides and grooms still require a structure to provide shelter (and warmth!) for certain parts of the celebrations, such as the feasting and dancing. For us there’s nothing more stunning than a tipi tent to fulfil this need, and we just so happen to be talking to an expert in the field on the blog today, our wonderful Yorkshire-based Sponsor Totem Tipi.
Super-striking from the outside and wonderfully atmospheric within, Totem’s gorgeous and adaptable tipis provide a blank canvas for couples to make their own and can cater for any size wedding, during any season of the year.
Furthermore, those that choose Totem for their big day will have the added feel good factor that all proceeds for hire of their structures feedback into a local youth arts project, which helps at risk and vulnerable children and young people build confidence and self-esteem, whilst instilling positive attitudes.
The Totem team are here now to tell us more…
DIARY DATE: Totem Tipis will be showcasing their fabulous structures at Brides Up North’s epic festival style wedding fairs; WEDSTOCK’18 at Stockeld Park, Harrogate, Yorkshire, on Sunday 6th May, and WEDSTIVAL’18 at Capesthorne Hall, Macclesfield, Cheshire, on Sunday 20th May 2018, both open 11am to 3pm, FREE ENTRY.
What type of structures do you offer?
[jennaopne]totem tipi say: Our event tipis are Stratus 72 tipis, also known as a Kata tipi or Giant Hat. The stratus 72 is based on a traditional Scandinavian design. Due to their unique interlocking features, the kata tipis make stunning intimate venues for a small wedding party, or can be joined together to create bigger structures to cater for the largest of wedding parties.
Can they be hired for weddings all-year-round?
The structures are built to withstand harsh weathers. With strong sustainable timbers and waterproof fabrics, we can cater for all events in all seasons. So, whether you want to create a summer celebration with the sides up, or you fancy a winter wonderland with an open fire pit, indoor heaters and warm blankets, then the tents can accommodate all ideas, seasons and tastes!
What kind of numbers can the tipis hold and how are they laid out?
The tipis can be set out however you like! Whether you want a dance floor and bar area or want the whole space for seating. It’s really up to you. We can work together to design a plan that best suits you and your guests. As a basic guide we recommend the following maximum numbers per tent:
1 x Stratus tipi – can seat up to 64 guests
2 x Stratus tipis – can seat up to 120 guests
3 x Stratus tipis – can seat up to 160 guests
4 x Stratus tipis – can seat up to 200 guests
What would you say are the main plus points of an outdoor tipi wedding?
There are so many advantages to having an outdoor wedding, there are masses of choices of stunning locations, you can bring the outside in on a lovely summer’s day, and the events are always different. But I think the greatest is the freedom that you get to plan and design your wedding to be exactly how you want it to be. You literally get a blank canvas to stamp your personalities onto!
How can you help couples to enhance the tipis with furniture/decorations/expansions?
At Totem we allocate a member of staff to look after your wedding from start to finish. Your Totem contact will come out and view your location, talk you though the best options for your event and discuss all of our added extras, from chill-out furniture to extra lighting and additional tents!
February 5th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
There’s something effortlessly cool about an informal wedding, and we just love the garden-party vibe of Nic and Kelly’s wedding celebration. They were even lucky enough to get good weather!
Though guests may have enjoyed a relaxed day, no detail was left to chance. Even the date was planned meticulously so Nic and Kelly’s engagement anniversary and wedding anniversary would be exactly half a year apart, meaning they have something to celebrate every six months. Now that’s forward thinking!
They also had some fabulous details and treats, including a very cute table plan sporting photographs of each guest, a delectable ice cream van, a table topped with a colourful selection of cakes and a civilised game of croquet on the lawn. Over to the groom, Nic, to tell us more…
With images by Shane Webber Photography.
nic says: We got engaged on 12th January 2015. Kelly always liked the idea of a London tourist hotspot trip, finishing up on Millennium Bridge with a love lock. When we got to the bridge, I pretended to have lost the padlock we had bought for the occasion. I pulled out a special heart-shaped lock that I had inscribed with the words “forever hold the key to my heart”. The engagement ring was attached, and Kelly had to unlock it with the key for the proposal to be complete. We then went to the Shard for drinks – another surprise bucket-list moment for Kelly, who had no idea what had been planned months before!
We got married on 12th July 2017. We chose that date as we always wanted something to celebrate every six months to the day. The 12th January is our getting together anniversary/getting engaged day and 12th July will be our wedding anniversary.
The ceremony took place at Didsbury House Hotel and the reception was at Eleven Didsbury Park. The venue was ideal for us as it was both ceremony and reception in one but, as the reception was down the road, there was a sense of ‘arriving’ for the evening do! The venue has beautiful grounds – it was the ideal size for our 50 planned guests and we wanted an informal setting that felt more like a garden party than a traditional wedding. We would definitely recommend the venue: the setting is ideal for an intimate wedding, the food was top and the whole team that worked on the wedding could not have been more helpful. It was like having the best house party you have ever been to.
In terms of a theme, we both love sunflowers and so they were everywhere. There was no real reason – we just think they’re pretty. Aside from that, the theme was relaxed to suit our non-traditional atmosphere. For our colour scheme, we chose off-whites with a pop of yellow to work with the sunflowers – nothing too formal.
For my suit, I decided this was my one life occasion where I could go all out! I wore a black wool Givenchy suit, a pair of patent leather Dsquared2 Oxford shoes, a Lanvin black bow tie and a Dolce & Gabbana gold label white dress shirt. I wanted this day to be my red carpet moment!
Kelly wore a blush champagne dress from Catherine Deane. Detailing was vintage lace and it had a small train. Kelly looked beautiful! The dress was effortlessly sophisticated and complemented her skin tone perfectly. Her shoes were from Jimmy Choo. We had always joked that Kelly would say ‘I do’ in Choo!
Two of Kelly’s sisters were bridesmaids and wore grey multiway maxi dresses from Coast. Again, there was no real theme for makeup, nails or shoes – it was important for our guests to all feel relaxed and great on our special day. My brother Toby wore a black suit from The Kooples, matched with a charcoal Dolce & Gabbana tie and shoes.
December 19th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Great news for outdoorsy types: in just the blink of an eye (and the click of a mouse), today’s beauty of a real wedding is going to transport you to a woodland wedding wonderland. We just adore the bride’s unstructured Tatiana-style dress, accessorized effortlessly with undone hair and glorious flower crown, plus to-die-for details, including a rich rose and amethyst colour scheme and homemade herbal teabag favours. No wellies or waterproofs required, readers; just a thirst for some serious pretty!
Although Beth and Chris placed a lot of emphasis on authenticity and honesty, we think their simple backdrop (think fairy lights, bunting and blooms) combined with rustic embellishments (pinecones, conkers and heather) adds up to a whole lot of #wedspo. They got the relaxed, fuss-free celebration they’d dreamed of, but they certainly didn’t compromise on the gorgeousness.
With images by Jess Yarwood Photography.
beth says: We got engaged in April 2016, at the top of Moel Famau. It’s Chris’ favourite mountain to run up and he really wanted to show me the views as I’d never been to the top before. I just thought we were going on a walk and had no idea he would pop the question at the top. Chris was taking loads of photos of me as we climbed but I still didn’t clock on. In fact, I complained a lot of the way up about how much I needed to pee! When we reached the tower at the top, Chris got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes! We then enjoyed a flask of nettle tea looking out over the views.
Our wedding date was 15th September 2017. We wanted an autumn wedding as it’s our favourite season. The 15th just felt right, plus it was a Friday, and we love Fridays!
We got married at Trafford Hall in Chester. We fell in love with it when we had a look around – it was just so quiet and relaxed. We’re both very chilled out people so we wanted a venue that wasn’t too fancy and fitted with our chilled-out theme.
The Hall has chalet accommodation with grass growing on the roofs as well as little gardens, a woodland area and an impressive allotment! It was very us. We‘re very outdoorsy people and we love nature, so we decided to have our ceremony in the woodland, followed by our reception in Trafford Hall’s ballroom.
Unsurprisingly then, our theme was woodland and nature. We regularly go on little adventures exploring the UK, love camping and grow more veggies than we know what to do with on our little allotment. A nature-inspired wedding was therefore a must, and the woodland theme reflected our woodland ceremony. In terms of a colour palette, the wedding was dominated by purples and pinks, inspired by the heather that grows all over Moel Famau. I looked at a lot of blogs (including Brides Up North, of course!) and especially at weddings with nature/boho themes to get inspiration for our day.
My dress was from Needle & Thread. I must have looked at thousands of wedding dresses but none of them were very me; I wanted something floaty, ethereal and relaxed. When I stumbled across Needle & Thread ‘s website I fell in love with every single gown! When I saw my dress I just knew it was the one; I loved all of the embellishments and the floaty sleeves.
November 30th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
Simplistic and personal, without too much fuss. That’s how today’s beautiful bride describes her big day and we couldn’t put it any better ourselves. There’s a lot to be said about keeping things minimal and pared back for an all-together understated and stylish look, especially in a quaint, outdoorsy setting.
Tying the knot back in May at a charming village church in Millington, Philippa and James hired a stunning marquee for their reception celebrations. And luckily for them, a friend of the family allowed them to put it up in their field – a reception venue truly unique to our couple.
There are lots of wonderful details to inspire you today – from the 60-seater school bus and home-baked wedding cake and gins, to some rather fetching floral displays and decorations, all in keeping with the country vibes. We’ll let Philippa share with you all the lovely highlights…
With images by Carly Bevan.
philippa says: We got engaged in New York. I booked a holiday there as a surprise for James’ 30th as it was somewhere he had always wanted to go. We ended up going later in the year, around my birthday in October. James designed a beautiful ring and somehow got it to New York without me knowing! He popped the question after a bike ride around Central Park.
Our wedding was on 27th May 2017. As a teacher, we were limited as to when we could have the wedding. Initially we were thinking the summer holidays would be ideal but it felt like too far away so we picked the bank holiday weekend in May instead, giving everyone an extra day to recover after the wedding!
We got married at St Margaret’s Church in Millington followed by a reception in a beautiful petal pole marquee in a nearby field in the village. The marquee was supplied by Will’s Marquees. The team were amazing and worked so hard to get the marquee up and looking perfect! I would definitely recommend them.
We chose to get married in Millington as this is where my parents live and work, they own the pub in the village, The Gait Inn. The village itself is beautiful and means a lot to us as a couple. My parents approached friends of theirs who live in the village about the possibility of using their field for the reception venue. The field is very close to the church, has a beautiful view and fitted perfectly with our vision for the day. We wanted to be able to walk from the church to the field with our guests without any fuss, wedding cars or our guests needing to take a long trip to another venue.
We wanted our wedding to be simplistic and personal without too much fuss. We didn’t have a theme in mind but our wedding did have a vintage, country feel.
We chose green and white as our main colour scheme. We thought this would fit with the country feel of the wedding – and I love green!
November 23rd, 2017 | Rachel Parry
Forever fans of a festival wedding (have you seen that our WEDFEST’18 tour dates are out?!), we’re thrilled to be sharing the wonderfully relaxed and joyful wedding of David and Alana on the blog today.
Falling in love with the beautiful gardens of Abbeywood Estate, Delamere, they decided to wed outdoors, making the most of the gorgeous surroundings and countryside views beyond.
Keen for an informal rather than traditional celebration, the proceedings were laidback but fun with a prosecco afternoon tea wedding breakfast, garden games, colourful leis for favours and live entertainment.
To remain within budget, David and Alana planned, sourced and styled much of the décor themselves resulting in both pretty and personal touches being peppered throughout their day.
With images by Anna Beth Photography.
alana says: We got engaged during a weekend trip to Venice in March 2016 to celebrate our ten-year anniversary. We went out for a meal in the evening and then for a walk. David had asked during the day where my favourite view was from and I had said the Ponte dell’Accademia over the grand canal. At around 10pm we arrived at this spot and took some photos while David looked around for someone who spoke English to take our photo (I thought this was odd as we had so many photos in that spot from that day). We eventually found a young couple who spoke English and the woman took one photo, David asked for her to take another and when I turned to look at him, he was down on one knee. I said “yes” of course and the woman captured the moment. Such a magical moment. Afterwards we went for champagne at Danieli. Perfect end to a perfect night!
We got married on Friday 1st September 2017. We wanted to get married late summer and this date seemed perfect!
Our wedding took place at Abbeywood Estate, Delamere. The ceremony took place within their gardens and reception took place in the Glasshouse. We chose this venue as it is a beautiful with amazing gardens and close to home. We could have the ceremony and the reception in one place and we could also have our dog with us to share our day. Having our ceremony outside allowed us to have a beautiful backdrop of the Cheshire hills and stunning gardens of Abbeywood.
We decided on a more relaxed style of wedding as it reflected our personalities more than a traditional style. We started off with a festival theme in mind but as time went on it turned into a festival/garden party with lots of music, games and a very relaxed atmosphere.
We didn’t have a colour scheme in mind. David hates everyone wearing the same colour so my bridesmaids wore nude dresses from ASOS, and the best men and ushers wore grey and blue. We wanted it to be bright so had blue, purple and pink bunting, and all our guests were given different coloured leis to wear for the reception.
My dress was an off-the-shoulder design. I tried on so many dresses in various boutiques however, I purchased my dress from Oxfam Bridal on the Wirral. From the moment I put this dress on it felt like my dress – I felt like a bride. The dress I bought was strapless and I bought a bolero (from eBay – still had tags on) to make it into the vision I had in my head since we got engaged.
David designed his own outfit and put it together from various different shops, including Next, ASOS and eBay. He wanted something he could keep. He wore blue trousers, blue and grey tweed waistcoat, a Thompson tartan tie, brown shoes and bright blue laces.
The best men and other groomsmen provided their own trousers and shoes and we provided blue braces from Primark and knitted blue and white polka dot bowties from eBay.
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