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up for discussion: indoor vs outdoor wedding

March 29th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh

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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…

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Photography34, image source

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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…

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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.

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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.

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Suzy Wimbourne Photography, image source

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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.

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lookbook: unveiled

July 22nd, 2014 | Rachel Parry

Lee Scullion Photography

So you’ve found your dream dress but how do you intend to top it all off?

For some brides choosing the accessories can prove more challenging than finding that one special dress. Perhaps the trickiest of accessories to decide on is what type of headdress you will wear.

Unlike the shoes, your headpiece and/or veil will be on show in the vast majority of your photos so it’s important to make sure you feel comfortable and confident with your decision. Problem is there are so many fabulously pretty options and styles to choose from – from classic veils and striking headpieces to sparkling hair accessories and whimsical floral crowns.

Clive Doyle Photography

When Real Weddings arrive in my inbox I’m always intrigued to find out what type of headdress the bride has plumped for – in particular I’m keen to see if they’ve stuck with tradition and gone down the route of an elegant veil, or instead chosen an individual headpiece that adds that extra wow-factor to their attire.

While I’m not a fan of all wedding traditions I am in favour of the veil – for me it’s the item that defines a bride and just looks incredibly pretty and timeless.

Dotmoxee Photography

Helen Russell Photography

Mark Newton Weddings

A veil was originally said to be worn by brides as a sign of their virginity or to ward off evil spirits – but just because the reasoning behind the garment has become dated, doesn’t mean the veil is no longer a highly desired bridal accessory.

Clive Doyle Photography

Those brides who do opt for a veil will need to take several elements into consideration when making their selection. The general rule is that a simple dress requires a more decorative veil and vice versa. So for example, if the dress is high-necked or has detail on the shoulders, a short veil such as a bird cage design would be a wise choice. Equally if a gown has back detailing you aren’t going to want to cover that up, so perhaps don’t go beyond shoulder length. Classic, princess style gowns often suit a veil that ends before the skirt projects out. Meanwhile for brides looking at longer lengths there are finger-tip, knee and chapel length veils, providing options right down to the floor. Alternatively brides could follow in the glam footsteps of Kim Kardashian with a show-stopping cathedral length veil that extends several feet along the ground. The reality star is such a fan that she wore an extended veil when she wed first hubby Chris Humphries in 2011, then again when she got hitched to Kanye West earlier this year.

Laura Calderwood Photography

Jamie Penfold Photography

Clive Doyle Photography

Clive Doyle Photography

As well as varying lengths there are also different widths to consider, depending on the fullness a bride requires. Wider veils can be favourable with brides wearing strapless dresses though wanting a little coverage around the arms. Fuller-figured brides may want to choose a sleeker veil that pulls attention to their slimmer areas rather than a voluminous design that frames their body from head to toe.

Next detailing – again brides won’t want to detract from the main spectacle of the dress, so if you’re wearing an elaborate gown it’s often better to select a subtle style veil while those with quieter dress designs can afford to make more noise with their headdress. There are shimmering veils, those with dazzling Swarovski crystal droplets or delicate lace appliqués, plus elegantly edged or beautiful scalloped creations. Some brides may even choose to have a tinted coloured veil in a soft playful hue or a regal metallic tone.

Melissa Kay Photography

Jonny Draper Photography

Katy Melling Photography

And a veil doesn’t have to be worn alone, it can be paired with a pretty tiara for the ultimate princess look, a glam hair accessory for a little bridal bling or to really stand out from the crowd – a totally bespoke headpiece. Any extra accessories and the positioning of the veil itself will often be governed on a bride’s chosen bridal hair style so it’s well worth taking your veil along with you for any hair trials ahead of the big day.

Dotmoxee Photography

Lee Scullion Photography

Final elements of consideration – how many layers should the veil have and most importantly will the bride want her face covered when she makes her journey up the aisle? This is a hot topic of discussion and one I noticed has already been raised on the fabulous new Brides Up North Facebook group (an interactive space where the blog’s bride-to-be readers, sponsors, exhibitors and industry friends can share inspiration, questions and recommendations). Opinion was split with some saying they couldn’t stand the thought of something covering their face while others said it was a good shield to hide their tears. Several said they loved the romantic elegance it brought, particularly in images, and one or two industry experts even tipped the “big reveal” as a huge wedding come-back.

To add my thoughts to the discussion, I think if it’s good enough for super bride Kate Middleton it’s certainly good enough for me but I tend to get makeup across everything I look so my only fear would be that I’d arrive beside my groom with my veil resembling a used tissue at a Mac counter.

Veil fail.

So will you be doing the big unveil at the altar?  We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 as tagged, Dotmoxee Photography, Clive Doyle Photography, Lee Scullion, Mark Newton Weddings, Katy Melling Photography, Melissa Kay Photography, Helen Russell Photography, Laura Calderwood, Jamie Penfold Photography, Jonny Draper

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Up For Discussion: The Kids Are Alright! Yes Or No – Children At A Wedding?

February 23rd, 2012 | Julia Braime

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www.danielkrieger.com

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When planning my own wedding, it was a no brainer.  The day would be strictly adults only (with the exception of my very gorgeous 12 going on 25 little friend Lili).  Most of my friends at this stage were still pre-kids, and the ones who had little people were canvassed for their opinion and it was unanimous:  they very much fancied a day off. 

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The style of the wedding also lent itself to a child free day – a black tie style do with fine glassware, oysters and a vodka luge.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m no Cruella De Ville! I love children, and I do love the atmosphere that they can bring to a wedding, but for our wedding it was a no go. 

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The decision can be a difficult one, but make it early (childcare negotiations can seemingly take decades), explain your reasoning to your nearest and dearest and stick to your guns.  Remember that this decision doesn’t make you Cruella De Ville either. 

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If you do decide to invite the brood, my guest blogger Alison has some top tips as a bride who got very familiar with the children’s menu on her own big day. 

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Over to Alison: It’s a very thorny issue – do you allow children at your wedding or not?

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There’s no right or wrong answer. It’s your wedding so you do what you want.

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In our case, we were a bit older when we got married and most of our friends already had children. A childfree wedding would have made it really difficult for many of our friends to share our big day – and as our priority was to have as many of them with us as possible, we took the bull by the horns and made our wedding as child friendly as possible.

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We ended up with over 50 children on the day!

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www.FourT4.com.. .www.FourT4.com

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www.FourT4.com

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Logically, I thought if the children are happy then the parents will be happy – which will make me happy. So this is how we did it:

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We chose the most child friendly venue we could think of – Chester Zoo. It was safe and enclosed with lots to do. There was plenty of space for them to run around and an adventure playground right next to the Manor House where we got married. Then once the zoo had closed to the public our guests were treated to a private safari with one of the keepers which the kids loved.

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We had a Wedding Bus which the kids absolutely revelled in.

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There was a designated children’s room and I hired two child minders. Giving the children their own space was a stroke of genius. There were activities in one room – I photocopied lots of animal related colouring-in sheets, quiz sheets and animal masks which all got used. And there was a quiet room where the littlies in particular could crash out. I asked parents to bring blankets and cushions and we had an ample supply of DVD’s and toys.

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The child minders were probably the best £175 I spent. The two of them were on the go, face painting and entertaining the children from 1pm until 10pm when we physically had to send them home. I provided sticky name labels for the children and their bags and a list of children’s names, who their parents were and their mobile numbers, and in return they face painted as though their lives depended on it.

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I gave instructions in advance about meal times. The last thing you want at your wedding are 50 whinging children, so I sent all parents an e-mail the week before the wedding advising them to feed their children beforehand – what time the meals were, what they would be eating and to bring any snacks they might need.

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Other than the bridesmaids, we didn’t have children in the room with us when we actually got married. There just wasn’t the space. While we didn’t have any screaming babies, one of our bridesmaids did announce very loudly, 30 seconds into the ceremony “(yawn) This is taking ages!” which gave the whole room a good giggle.

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We ordered picnic boxes for the children instead of an adult BBQ, and we saved a fortune by giving them packets of animal biscuits instead of a full cream tea which the grown-ups enjoyed. It was all very informal, there was no seating plan and the children were able to sit with whoever they’d made friends with.

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Finally, instead of traditional favours we had a candy bar full or retro sweets which the kids loved and gave them a big enough sugar high to see them through the rest of the evening – bopping merrily to Nirvana and the Fun Loving Criminals alongside their happy parents.

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As I said at the start, there is no right or wrong answer to the question – but for us I wouldn’t have had it any differently. One of my enduring memories of our wedding is all the children, many of whom had never met before, playing together and having a thoroughly brilliant time.

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Alison writes her own personal blog at http://alison-staples.blogspot.com

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Alison’s latest posts for Brides Up North:

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Naked At A Wedding

Honeymoons – Just The Two Of Us!

Santa Baby- A Bride’s Letter To St Nick

Christmas Weddings In Soap Land – Some Very Un-Real Weddings!

Up For Discussion- Money Can’t Buy You Love – Bringing It In On Budget

Up For Discussion- Don’t Tell The Groom! Man Management

Up For Discussion- How To Do “I Do”- Writing Your Own Vows

Up For Discussion- Empty Chairs

Up For Discussion- Achieving The Perfect Level Of Wedding Morning Zen

Up For Discussion- The Name Game (and meet Alison!)

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Would you like to guest blog for Brides Up North? Email julia@bridesupnorth.co.uk

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2012: 1: www.danielkrieger.com, 2: www.wildflowersphotos.com, 3-6:  FourT4 Photography 

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Up For Discussion: Don’t Tell The Groom! Man Management

December 2nd, 2011 | Julia Braime

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During my new husband’s speech at our wedding, he took some time to thank me and my Mum for all our hard work in planning the big day.  He commented, and I quote: “Wedding planning seems to involve lots of hours spent on the sofa watching Formula 1, rugby and football whilst the girls are out dress shopping.” 

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Whilst it got a laugh from the crowd, I don’t actually think he was joking.  I have the evidence:

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

The groom (centre) with the best man, father of the bride and dog.  That’s the rugby they are watching, not Wedding TV.

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Its not quite fair to say that he didn’t get involved (he had some very controversial opinions on hymns, cars and reception drinks), but it was definitely me (and Mum, thank goodness for her!) that bore the brunt of the planning (and loved it).  No appearance from Bridezilla or Groomzilla. Smiles all round. 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: Image by Nicola Perrott & Carly Elliott

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But what if you want your Groom to play a more active role and maybe, just maybe would like a little help and input planning the most important day of both your lives?  This morning, my fabulous guest blogger Alison Staples addresses that very issue. 

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Over to Alison: Like lots of brides to be, whilst planning our wedding I became an avid follower of ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’, the TV series where the groom gets £12,000 and three weeks to organise a wedding. The bride is kept completely in the dark until the big day.

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See all the images from a recent episode of Don’t Tell The Bride by Emerson Photography by clicking here

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I know it’s all about making good TV, but I’m sure I’m not the only one to sit there thinking “If that were me, he’d know exactly what to do and what to choose – because I’d have briefed him.”

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However, nine times out of 10, despite it not being the venue or the dress that the bride would have chosen, the boys generally organise an imaginative and interesting wedding day that blows their bride away.

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Other than Vegas.

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Yeah – best not to mention Vegas!

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When it came to our wedding, I had a pretty good idea of the kind of day I wanted, but a wedding involves two people. I didn’t want to be a bridezilla and I knew from ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’ that boys can have hidden talents when it comes to pulling off a wedding. This needed to be a team effort.

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I was lucky that Tris (my new husband) was pretty easy going, however I did want him to feel involved and he wanted to pull his weight – after all it was his wedding too.

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However, I soon learned that we approach things very differently – in order to survive, I needed tactics!

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You’ll probably have gathered from my previous blogs that I love a good spread sheet and like to give myself plenty of time. Tris however tends to operate in a different time scale and prefers to go running.

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I remember early into the planning taking Tris for a drink in Alderley Edge, getting my blue A4 file out of my bag and spreading out my papers on the table in front of us. I must have talked for 40 minutes, barely stopping for breath, methodically going through all my ideas and plans.

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I was expecting some discussion, alternative suggestions or interrogation, but when I’d finally finished – there was a pause – and a silence – before Tris said “Well, that all seems very thorough.” There was nothing he wanted to change.

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Oh – OK!” I’d expected a much harder sell.

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So this how we did it.

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While I like a big list with deadlines I know it’s not for everyone, so I was the one driving things forward. But Tris was always there as a sounding board and on hand to help with the big decisions.

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In terms of jobs I made sure I drip fed him the ‘to do’ list. There were never more than three things on his list at any one time and we reviewed new things to add on a monthly basis. My role was to get the jobs in the right order at the right time, generate short lists and ideas for him to work from – and once I’d delegated the jobs, not to take them back if they weren’t done immediately.

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Tris’ tasks included researching and setting up our wedding ‘Bliss List’ of honeymoon treats, choosing the beer for our reception, organising the boys outfits and presents, liaising with our photographer who was an old university friend, stuffing the envelopes with invitations and double checking addresses and names of children, writing his vows and speech (well I couldn’t really do that for him could I) and generally coming with me to see venues, hotels and helping to choose a wedding bus from my short list of two.

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John Roach at FourT4 Photography

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John Roach at FourT4 Photography     John Roach at FourT4 Photography

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John Roach at FourT4 Photography

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By drip feeding Tris jobs and then trusting him to do them, he never felt overwhelmed and I didn’t feel like everything had been left to me.

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It’s so easy to feel swamped when you are organising a wedding and while it can be really hard to relinquish control – try!

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I personally wouldn’t recommend going to ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’ extremes, but do consider a little delegation and you never know, your boy might just surprise you.

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How do you plan to involve your man in the planning process?  Is he hands off, hands on or a complete groomzilla?  Leave a comment and let us know.  It’s officially up for discussion. 

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Alison writes her own personal blog at http://alison-staples.blogspot.com

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Alison’s latest posts for Brides Up North:

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Up For Discussion- How To Do “I Do”- Writing Your Own Vows

Up For Discussion- Empty Chairs

Up For Discussion- Achieving The Perfect Level Of Wedding Morning Zen

Up For Discussion- The Name Game (and meet Alison!)

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Would you like to guest blog for Brides Up North? Email julia@bridesupnorth.co.uk

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2011 Brides Up North, Nicola Perrott & Carly Elliott, Emerson Photography and John Roach at FourT4 Photography

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Up For Discussion: How To Do “I Do”? Writing Your Own Vows

November 25th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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Writer’s block?  Trust me, as a and freelance writer, I know what a pain that can be.  But what if you have writer’s block on the most important day of your life?  This morning, Brides Up North’s resident guest blogger Alison Staples shares her own experience.

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My advice?  Step away from your record collection people. 

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At our civil ceremony at Chester Zoo, we had the opportunity to say some words of our own to each other. In my mind’s eye I could see myself standing in front of my nearest and dearest saying something which was personal, touching and sincere while not too mushy, to my new husband.

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I wanted something that hit exactly the right note. A perfect paragraph which said everything I wanted to say and laid the foundations for a long and happy marriage.

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“Ahhh, wasn’t that lovely,” I heard an imaginary aunt whisper.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

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The problem was that although I could see my mouth saying the words, I couldn’t hear what they were.

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The weight of getting my vows right was enormous. Whatever I promised in the height of matrimonial bliss, I was going to have to deliver on in 40 years time when we were old and grey. They needed to last a lifetime. Now was not the time to get carried away.

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So where to start?

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Like Dawn and Pete from the TV series Gavin and Stacy, I thought about taking inspiration from our favourite songs. Who could forget Dawn reciting the words of Michael Jackson’s ‘Ben’ (replace Ben with Pete), while Pete chose Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’ to help express his love for Dawn.

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But Duran Duran’s ‘Save a Prayer’ and ‘Street Tuff’ by the Rebel MC weren’t giving me what I needed so I had to look elsewhere.

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Google … surprisingly drew a blank.

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Damnation – there was no one to copy, I was going to have to think of something all by myself.

It took me a really long time to come up with something I felt happy with. I practiced reading them out loud many, many times. I never managed to get beyond the first line without blubbing.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: FourT4 Photography

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Wedding Vows – Alison

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Tristan, in our marriage I promise to always be patient, honest, and kind.

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You are my best friend, my one love, my partner throughout life, always putting my needs first above your own.

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I promise to live a life that will honour the vows we have spoken, and make you glad and proud to have me as your wife.

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We have so much to look forward to. In the good times and the bad, I shall love and cherish you – always.

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My vows were written a good three months before the big day (as per my wedding planning spreadsheet). Tris’ however were still ‘outstanding’ the week before.

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“Have you written your vows yet?” I asked him for the umpteenth time. I knew how difficult I’d found writing mine. This was not a five minute job. But he simply reassured me that he’d been thinking about them and told me to trust him.

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When he finally did the big reveal, what he’d written was beautiful – not a line of early ‘90’s rap in sight.

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Wedding Vows – Tristan

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Alison, I promise always to be there when you need me, to provide the shoulders you can rest your head on, to fill your days with sunshine, to make you smile and laugh.

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To comfort you and encourage you, to help you reach your goals, to be your best friend ever and to love you all my life with all my heart.

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FourT4 Photography

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It’s a very strange feeling when your wedding day does finally arrive and you are quite literally living in your dream. I surprised myself by actually managing to get to the last line of my vows before surrendering to the need for tissues, which were there (courtesy of our best man) as soon as I started to falter.

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Not so my three pregnant friends, who had all decided to sit together, creating a hormonal vortex which kicked off before I’d even entered the room. Our vows just about finished them off!

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As a footnote, we had our six month wedding anniversary recently, which seemed like a good time to dust off the old wedding vows to see how I was doing.

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  1. Patient – Very poor start. 5/10. I shouted at him for not putting his trainers away. They’d only been off his feet for five minutes.
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  3. Honest – Better. 7/10. I told him his butt looked nice in his cycling shorts yesterday.
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  5. Kind – Very good effort. 9/10.  Last week I stood on the side lines in torrential rain, cheering him on in a triathlon, running along the home straight with him in a cagoule.
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I’d say I’ve had mixed success. But this time Coldplay can help. ‘Nobody said it was easy’, but I’m trying hard to get better.

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Do you plan to write or have you written your own vows?  Where did you draw inspiration from?  This is officially up for discussion.  Leave us a comment and start the debate. 

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Alison writes her own personal blog at http://alison-staples.blogspot.com

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Alison’s latest posts for Brides Up North:

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Up For Discussion- Empty Chairs

Up For Discussion- Achieving The Perfect Level Of Wedding Morning Zen

Up For Discussion- The Name Game (and meet Alison!)

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Would you like to guest blog for Brides Up North? Email julia@bridesupnorth.co.uk

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  – Images © 2011 John Roach at FourT4 Photography 

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Up For Discussion: Empty Chairs

November 18th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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Had enough birthday cake yet Brides Up North?  Course you haven’t – and there are still a few more super giveaways in the Great Brides Up North Birthday Bakeaway still to come!  Make sure to tune in over the weekend to enter the rest. 

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This morning, we address a more serious topic here on the wedding blog, and one I am sure that a lot of my readers can identify with – how to remember lost loved ones on your wedding day, and how to deal with those metaphorical empty chairs?

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This is a topic that hits home with me personally, as a week before our wedding we lost a very close family friend after his long battle with illness.  He is – and was on the day – very sorely missed, but having been a larger than life, heart of the party, host with the most, fun loving family man, we knew that he would want the show to go on.  Tears were shed for him during the ceremony and during my father’s speech, and I felt proud to raise my glass to him in the first toast of the day. 

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As we think about the ones that we will personally miss, I will hand you over to my fabulous guest blogger Alison, who discusses the empty chair at her own wedding. 

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Weddings are emotional enough, before you even start thinking about how to include and remember loved ones who can’t be there for your special day.

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For me, it was my mum who sadly died back in 2002.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: Alison Staples

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As a bride, if there is one person you want there to help you plan, choose and decide. To be by your side while you visit and try on. To huddle with over bridal magazines, and phone up on the spur of the moment to blurt “I’ve just had a brilliant idea, what do you think of ……”

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To be swept up with the excitement, while keeping your feet on the ground, and then to be there on your big day to reassure you, keep you calm and to wear an enormous hat – then it’s your mum.

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Had she been alive, we’d have planned the wedding together and she’d have been a huge vibrant presence on the day itself.

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After she died, I described moving forward like re-arranging the furniture. When a chair is taken away you have to move the furniture to fill the space left in the room. That’s what we had to do at our wedding both metaphorically and literally.

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I wanted to include and remember her, of course I did, but I didn’t want to upset people or myself. After my recent health scares I was already going to find my wedding day emotionally and physically demanding.

So in addition to a mention in my dad’s speech, I chose a few positive, lovely touches which were a nod to mum. The guests who knew and remembered her recognised them without prompting.

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A few years before she died, mum gave me and my sister a package each. It was a gift from her wedding to each of us. In the package were two black and white photos from her wedding in 1964 and three squares of fabric. White satin and lace from her wedding dress and blue satin from her older bridesmaids dresses. For my wedding I copied her colour scheme. My little bridesmaids wore ivory with blue accents and my sister wore a long cornflower blue gown – as did hers.

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My sparkly clutch bag was one that my ever so glamorous mum carried to cocktail parties in the ‘70’s and the beautiful circular diamante broach that held my furry wrap in place was the one mum wore in the late ‘50’s as a newly qualified teacher.

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Mum loved music and was an amazing pianist, so including her favourites in our ceremony was an easy decision. Our choices included ‘The Entertainer’ by Scott Joplin and ‘Side Saddle’ by Russ Conway. Those two pieces are so evocative of my childhood – lying upstairs in bed while she played her ragtime favourites in the room beneath me. While we signed the register, it was like she was right there with us filling our wedding with her energy and joy.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: Alison Staples    Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: Alison Staples

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It’s traditional for the groom’s father to walk back down the aisle with the mother of the bride. For us that wasn’t an option, so instead we surrounded him with the little bridesmaids and my ‘best boy’. My mum was a primary school teacher, so having the children represent her felt right.

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Finally, in addition to our civil ceremony at Chester Zoo in June, we also had a much smaller church blessing a couple of months later in the town in Lincolnshire which mum and dad retired to. My mum is buried in the churchyard, so after the ceremony Tris and I went and put my flowers on her grave. I left her a message:

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I missed you.

Although I couldn’t see you at our wedding,

I knew you were there.

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Mum never met Tris, my husband – but she left such an imprint, I knew what she’d have said. “Alison, he’s very dishy – well done!”

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Including someone special and madly missed in your wedding day can be really hard. I worried about striking the right note – enough, but not over the top, reflective but not over sentimental. Every situation is obviously different – but this is what I did for my mum. I hope if you are in the same situation as me, you find it helpful.

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How to you plan on remembering lost loved ones at your own wedding?  Leave a comment to start the discussion. 

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Alison writes her own personal blog at http://alison-staples.blogspot.com

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Alison’s latest posts for Brides Up North:

Up For Discussion- Achieving The Perfect Level Of Wedding Morning Zen

Up For Discussion- The Name Game (and meet Alison!)

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Would you like to guest blog for Brides Up North? Email julia@bridesupnorth.co.uk

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  – Images © 2011 Alison Staples

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