July 27th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
If there’s one thing that makes me go weak at the knees, other than gorgeous weddings, it’s a cute dog.
Having grown up with canine companions a firm part of the family, there aren’t many mutts that don’t evoke a genuine ‘ahh’ from me. So when our fabulous Sponsor, The Black Swan hotel, sent over the results of a recent styled shoot at the venue, which featured a fine Irish Red Setter, it was a ‘yes’ from me.
The ‘groom’ isn’t bad either, is he?!
Located in the idyllic North Yorkshire village of Helmsley, the black swan is the perfect venue for a romantic country-inspired wedding (did you catch the beautiful celebration we shared on the wedding blog this morning?). With this in mind the hotel welcomed photographer Annemarie King and a talented bunch northern wedding suppliers, to use the venue as a stunning backdrop for a rustic luxe styled shoot, complete with dapper tweed, natural blooms and detailed dresses.
The setting of the hotel brings all elements to life for an incredibly well-executed shoot that will make you go ‘ooh’ and well as ‘ahh’ (and not just over that dog). So let’s handover to The Black Swan for those all important details…
With images by Annemarie King.
the black swan says: The well-loved country charm, welcoming atmosphere and quaint English gardens, overlooking the pretty churchyard next door, made The Black Swan the perfect venue for Annemarie King and her team to co-create a rustic-luxe themed photographic campaign.
Model James with his red-haired beauties, ‘bride’ Zara and Connor, the Irish Red Setter, are on location at the hotel and also at Helmsley Walled Gardens, which brings the theme to life with a touch of nostalgia. The evocative images are intimate, dream-like, and sometimes fun and light-hearted.
The timeless, informal elegance of the photography mirrors the essence of this historic hotel venue – the smartly-tailored handsome groom James, in his Yorkshire tweeds and smartly polished brogues, along with his bride’s sweet, ethereal beauty and swan-like elegance make for a beautiful pairing, and Connor certainly adds a special appeal to the ‘family shots’.
The various settings demonstrate the hotel’s oak beamed Tudor Lounge, the oldest part of the venue with its original inglenook, and the cosy stone-walled Crosland Lounge, as well as the pretty English walled gardens, in which The Black Swan’s new Oak Gazebo is located, which is now available for outdoor summer wedding ceremonies and celebrations. Helmsley Walled Gardens also plays a part, giving a super botanical backdrop to the shots.
A creative team led by York photographer Annemarie King, is responsible for the shoot with all those who offered their talents and goods on the day doing a fantastic job. Two of Annemarie’s passions are showcased within the shoot as she’s an award-winning photographer specialising in both country weddings and canine photography.
The shoot’s retro-inspired gowns, which include the Alan Hannah’s Tara long lace gown, White Rose’s 50s style R920 gown, Angel B’s peppermint bridesmaid dress Am 242, and the flamboyant Cymbeline Adele design, were kindly loaned by The Bridal Lounge in Northallerton, along with selected accessories.
Carters Country Wear provided the tweed tailored outfit sported by groom, James. Carters specialise in suits and country wear tailored with cloth from Saville Row and Yorkshire tweed mills, with a particular emphasis on country sportswear. They enjoy an international clientele who value their quality and highly personalised service.
Much of the jewellery was generously loaned by Libby Butler Jewellery, located in Helmsley.
The striking makeup and hairstyling of our bride Zara, is by award-winning hair and make-up artist Kate Pymm, who based in the North East and works throughout the UK on a wide portfolio of projects, including bridal hair and makeup.
The sweet bouquets and simple floral arrangements with home-grown ‘grandma’s cottage garden blooms’ inspired by the rural-luxe theme, were all created by Liz Wood at Busy Liz’s Floral Design, of Kirbymoorside.
To complete the stellar line-up, Celebrate Country Cake Design, located in Helmsley’s Walled Gardens, supplied the cake, Fabulously Finished, of Ampleforth, supplied the props and the chair covers were loaned by Chair Covers of Yorkshire, located in Easingwold.
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July 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s real wedding takes place at the gorgeous The Black Swan hotel, one of our beautiful Brides Up North Sponsor venues, and so when Andrea talks about it being an amazing venue, we know exactly what she means.
To fit in with their roots and the idyllic setting for their big day, Andrea and Steve chose to have a pretty garden themed wedding, complete with a simple white and green colour scheme.
We love the relaxed drinks reception in the hotel’s pretty gardens and the gorgeous shots of the newlyweds in the surrounding countryside, which ties the whole day together beautifully.
Oh, and if you want to see more of The Black Swan, watch out for a stunning styled shoot at the hotel, coming up on the wedding blog this afternoon.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Georgina Brewster Photography.
andrea says: Steve popped the question on the evening of 29th November 2014. We had tickets to see Passenger at the O2 Academy that night and had gone for a pre-gig drink in a champagne bar in Leeds called Epernay on Great George Street. An unforgettable evening!
We got married on 23rd May 2015. After narrowing down our venues it was a case of what availability they had, we couldn’t believe our luck when the bank holiday weekend was still available so we plumped for that. As we were having the ceremony and reception under the one roof and it wasn’t our hometown, the bank holiday gave our guests a chance to make a weekend of it with us.
Our wedding venue was The Black Swan in Helmsley, North Yorkshire. It is just amazing! The staff, the area, the food, the accommodation and just the general feeling and atmosphere of the place. We can’t thank the staff enough, they were exceptional and looked after us all so well.
The theme just evolved. As Steve is from Lancashire and I’m from Yorkshire the roses seemed an obvious choice, although my white rose seemed to prevail over the red of Lancashire! Steve designed our logo that was printed on all the stationary and favours. The Black Swan has a great garden area to the rear and the wedding room is called the Garden Room so I suppose all in all it was a garden theme if any.
In keeping with the theme we had a simple colour scheme of white and green.
My dress was from Alison Jane Bridal in Mirfield, West Yorkshire. It was a Grecian style gown by Alexia Designs, with crystal detailing. Steve loves my back, so a backless dress was a design I chose.
We chose Georgina Brewster Photography, based in Skipton, North Yorkshire, to capture our day and we love our photos! We’ve had so many comments from our friends about them too. Georgina really captured every element so well, she is so personable and really went that extra mile by whisking us away at sunset to a location she had spotted on her drive over. We would highly recommend Georgina to any couple tying the knot. Amazing!
In terms of flowers on the day we had avalanche roses, freshias and vintage roses, which were all from Busy Liz’s Floral Design in Kirbymoorside.
Our favours were napkins with our guests’ names embroidered on the corner. We also gave raspberry and Chambord jam by Woody’s Preserves in Yorkshire.
Jo’s Cakes in Honley created our gorgeous three tiered iced cake of vanilla and chocolate sponge.
For entertainment we hired a pianist called Joseph Barton, to perform. The venue’s recommended musician wasn’t available that day and Joe was mentioned to us. We are so glad we chose him.
To add to the evening reception, we also hired some giant illuminated ‘love’ letters, which we placed in the garden. They were supplied by Fabulously Finished, near York.
We would most definitely recommend The Black Swan to other brides and grooms-to-be. They provide such great service and hospitality with a relaxed atmosphere. The food is exceptional too!
I can’t pin point one particular aspect of the day as my favourite as I loved all of it! It was so magical from start to finish.
For our honeymoon we travelled to Iceland, a place we were both keen to explore. We share a great love for the outdoors and when time allows we participate in triathlons to test ourselves. We had a wonderful time.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be simply to relax and enjoy every minute. The day really does go by so fast.
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July 15th, 2015 | Julia Braime
This morning on the blog we’re thrilled to introduce you to dream venue Chatsworth House, which is located in the heart of the Peak District.
The perfect setting for a wedding (as well as a period drama) the stately house has been home to the Cavendish family since 1549. Keen not to keep its beauty all to themselves, the family opened the venue up to the public and has since become known as one of the UK’s favourite country houses.
Brides and grooms have been able to say their ‘I dos’ at Chatsworth for the past six years in the stable courtyard area, though only recently has the Painted Hall in the main house been licensed for civil ceremonies, which we are most excited about!
Outside the house is surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens and parkland while on the inside it’s brimming with character, history and unique treasures, making for truly stunning backdrop to couples’ big days. Oh and if the house looks familiar that might be because a number of scenes for the Pride and Prejudice movie starring Kiera Knightly were filmed here. Impressive!
So let’s hear more about weddings at this stunning house and have a nosey at that fabulous Painted Hall.
With images by Shoot Lifestyle Wedding Photography.
Tell Brides Up North about the venue, what is its history?
Chatsworth House is steeped in history, home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire it has been handed down 16 generations of the Cavendish family. It is a family home, a working farm and a living landscape that is stunning inside and out.
How does Chatsworth House cater for weddings?
We host small intimate weddings and large lavish ones too! Numbers vary from just four to 150! With three licensed spaces to hold civil ceremonies and civil partnerships, a beautiful church very close by, small private dining rooms and the majestic carriage house restaurant there really is something for everyone. Chatsworth weddings are planned and created by our warm and welcoming team, our catering is created by our award-winning chefs fresh on the day of the wedding and the event is delivered by expert operators. We have an amazing team!
The Painted Hall at Chatsworth has recently become licensed for civil ceremonies, why did you want to open up the venue to brides and grooms?
Although we have been licensed to hold weddings in the stables courtyard area for six years, we were not able to offer couples anything in the house. Every time I visited the Painted Hall I could imagine a bride and groom on the Great Stairs delivering their vows, it really is something very special.
What makes Chatsworth House a special wedding venue and sets it apart from others?
The house is known as the Palace of the Peaks and it certainly lives up to this title! The gardens, and surrounding parkland, make the most amazing backdrops for photographs but if I’m honest, I think it’s the team that sets the venue apart from others. The dedication and commitment to every single wedding, large or small, from every member of the team is simply astonishing.
What sort of bride would be a Chatsworth House bride?
Anyone that has a passion for history and heritage. Lots of our brides have loved Chatsworth since they were small children and have dreamed of getting married here. We’re thrilled that we can make such wishes come true.
How can your staff help to make the planning process easier and the big day amazing?
We work closely with the brides on all aspects of the wedding day and can offer our help and advice from the experience we have gathered over the years. We do work with trusted suppliers but we do not enforce them on to our couples and we are always on the lookout for new and exciting wedding partners.
Can guests stay over at your venue?
We have lots of good quality hotels within five to ten minutes of Chatsworth and we also have wonderful holiday cottages spread across the estate which can accommodate guests.
Tell us about your catering services and what makes them special?
Our catering is delivered by our award winning in house team of expert chefs and bakers who are always happy to discuss menu requirements with our couples. We can offer help and advice when picking wines to complement the chosen wedding breakfast. Laurent Perrier is our pouring champagne adding a touch of class to our welcoming receptions and toasts.
Can you give Bride Up North an idea on price?
Weddings start from £800 up to around £15,000 in the stables courtyard areas. Weddings in Chatsworth House start at around £50,000 depending on numbers and requirements, as do our marquee weddings.
We often add special packages to our website incorporating some of our other events. The concert-wedding package is always very popular. If we have any late availability dates we can sometimes offer all-inclusive packages enabling couples to pick up an amazing value for money wedding.
Do you have any open days coming up that our readers might be interested in?
We will be hosting an open day on Saturday 8th August in the stables courtyard area. Chatsworth House is such a special venue that makes wonderful memories, we would love couples to come and experience it for themselves.
To find out more about Chatsworth House and its facilities contact 01246 565366 and speak to Kay or Laine. Alternatively visit the Chatsworth House website.
July 8th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
When putting together our real wedding posts for the blog we ask brides to share a tip with readers who are currently caught up in planning pandemonium organising their own big day. One of the most common that crops up is ‘take time to enjoy the time leading up to your wedding too’, because as they rightly say, it’s all part of the experience.
That not only means trying to enjoy the process of selecting a venue and suppliers instead of rattling through it like one big to do list, but also reserving a little wedding-free time to enjoy with family and friends, or just as a couple.
So to help you find the perfect place to take a break we’ve scoped out another restful retreat where you and either your hubby-to-be, leading ladies or female relatives, can escape to for some pre-wedding pampering.
Nestled within 27 acres of Cheshire woodland, Macdonald Craxton Wood Hotel, enjoys the luxury of being in a tranquil location but with the gorgeous city of Chester just ten minutes down the road. This makes it the ideal place to enjoy a romantic break, hen do or girly getaway – and wait, it gets better.
As well as providing stunning food, drink and accommodation, the hotel boasts a heavenly spa which has recently benefited from £1.4 million of investment, offering weary souls and pamper seekers a range of blissful spa days and indulgent breaks.
So after having all that money spent on it, we thought it rude not to try out revamped spa on behalf of our readers. And upon doing so we can confidently say – ladies you will love it!
From the moment we stepped through its doors we were completely taken with the spa, which is light, airy, welcoming and incredibly well styled. Seriously this place looks like something straight off the pages of a glossy interiors magazine and it’s that high end finish in décor and furnishings that makes for an incredibly luxurious experience, even before you’ve enjoyed the facilities.
As holidays are coming and we’re desperate to achieve our beach body ambitions, we headed straight for the gym, which is kitted out with all the latest Technogym equipment. This means ladies on a pre-wedding fitness plan can get in their exercise before indulging in pure relaxation totally guilt free!
Next we were handed our fluffy robes and super-soft slippers (why are spa slippers so good?) before being shown around the spa area, which houses way more than you’d think, including an 18 metre pool, thermal suite, relaxation room, garden room and Woodland Spa Café.
Before lunch we took a dip in the pool which enjoys stunning countryside views through its floor to ceiling glass and then retired to the bright and breezy garden room for a herbal tea and a quick magazine fix.
At this point we’d already decided Craxton Wood would be one of our top picks for a hen do, plotting how we would have a day being pampered at the spa before heading out for a night in Chester. And clearly we’re not the only ones who can see it’s girly getaway potential as staff say the hotel is becoming increasingly popular with groups of ladies who take advantage of their spa break packages which include ‘celebration’, ‘indulgent’ and ‘revitalise’ options.
Lunch was next on our agenda. I’ve previously expressed my dislike for spas that only serve up super healthy food as I see pampering as a treat and therefore want a meal to match that experience. Thankfully the menu at the Woodland Spa Café (which again is beautifully decorated) has options that are fairly low in calories but high in flavour, and they serve alcohol – hurrah!
After our delicious two course lunch (and accompanying prosecco, of course) it was back to the pampering, this time treatments. For me a skin specific facial and for Julia Macdonald Hotels’ Elemis Signature.
In the comfort of the snug treatment room my therapist Jess discussed my skin type to decide on the right blend of products for my complexion and then the relaxation began. A balancing cleanser, toner and bliss capsules were gently massaged onto my face to renew skin elasticity and to give it a radiant glow, then while a masque worked its magic on my skin, Jess worked her magic on my arms, shoulders and chest to rub away any aches or pains. It was heavenly and my skin felt super fresh.
Julia’s 90 minute treatment meanwhile started with an exotic body exfoliation. After a light body brushing, warm oils were drizzled over her skin before a lime and ginger salt glow was applied resulting in clean, polished and softened skin. This was followed up by a massage and facial for an overall body experience that Julia described as ‘absolute bliss’ and said it would be an ideal pre-honeymoon treatment.
After coming around in the soothing, candle-lit relaxation room we tried out the thermal suite which has varying steam rooms, saunas and showers to awaken the senses, relax the mind and cleanse the skin.
Finally, to complete our visit, we had mini manicures by therapist Jess who was painted our nails to perfection (mine weren’t gels but lasted an incredible seven days before chipping).
So all in all you can see why we would highly recommend Craxton Wood for a pre or post wedding getaway with your guy or your girls. If you’re in the early stages of planning you might also want to check out the hotel as a potential wedding venue. It has a stunning range of function suites, with both indoor and outdoor options, that can cater for small, intimate weddings up to large parties of 250 guests whilst providing first class accommodation, service and food. And don’t forget about that spa!
For full details of Craxton Wood’s facilities, accommodation and packages, visit the website.
July 7th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today’s real wedding has lots of lovely personal touches with theming based around the venue and season as well as the couple’s interests.
Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Exhibition venue Nostell Priory (have you got the date in your diary?) provided the perfect backdrop to Scott and Sarah’s vintage styled wedding with pretty dusky pink touches in the décor, attire and flowers.
Sarah’s bouquet is particularly stunning featuring pale roses, ranunculus and hyacinth, but the element of the wedding that caught my eye most was – surprisingly – the favours. Homemade sloe gin in pretty bottles, which tick boxes for looking good, tasting good and being a personalised and useful (well, sort of) gift. Cheers to that idea!
With images by Chris Chambers Photography.
sarah says: We got engaged when we were having dinner on the beach in Borneo in October 2013. Scott had somehow managed to buy a ring – which fit perfectly – and get it half way across the world without me knowing. We were having a pre-dinner Singapore Sling watching the sunset when he brought out the ring and popped the question!
We were married on 7th February 2015. We love winter but didn’t want the wedding to clash with the shooting season so waited until after February 1st.
We chose Nostell Priory as our venue because we love its Georgian style and the Robert Adam Top Hall is so beautiful. We walk our two cocker spaniels in the grounds quite often so it was nice to get married somewhere which meant something to us and where we will go back again and again. We also liked that Nostell is a bit of a blank canvas so we could have lots a personal touches and really make the day ours.
We wanted to complement Nostell’s lovely Georgian features and so we went for a classic, romantic, vintage-style theme for the big day.
Our colour scheme was dusky pink and ivory as we wanted winter tones but without being Christmassy. The dusky pink also worked well with Nostell’s neutral colours and went beautifully with ivory.
I’m a bit of a stickler for detail so even the confetti had to match the colour scheme. We bought our own mix of pink and white rose and delphinium petals from Shropshire Petals which we put into glassine envelopes for our guests.
I chose a Justin Alexander ball-gown cut, ivory satin dress with chapel length train from Mia Sposa in Huddersfield. Justin Alexander’s designs stood out for me when I was going through wedding magazines and the moment I saw this dress on Pinterest knew it was ‘the one’! Mia Sposa were absolutely amazing – the dress was hard to find but they managed to hunt one down and made sure it fit perfectly.
To complete my attire I also had an ivory marabou feather shrug – I’m not brave enough for bare shoulders in February! We ordered extra dress fabric and the ladies at Mia Sposa made the ties on the shrug so that they would match the dress perfectly.
To finish I wore a chapel-length lace veil from Etsy – I loved it and never wanted to take it off! I kept jewellery simple so that the dress detail wasn’t over powered and chose a beautiful diamante cuff by Debbie Carlisle at Beloved Bridal and wore a vintage cameo ring. Finally, I had a pair of Swarovski stud earrings.
Scott Beswick MUA did makeup on the wedding day and Danielle Wright did the hair for myself, the bridesmaids and my mum. Scott is so much fun as well as being a brilliant makeup artist. Danielle is incredibly talented and created a flawless look. They both made us all feel stunning on the day and finished the look perfectly.
Scott wore a grey three-piece suit with tailcoat from Ashworth & Bird. He had an ivory waistcoat and cravat. He had no intention of wearing tails, having initially thought he would prefer a lounge suit, but the lady in Ashworth & Bird convinced him to try the tails and they were perfect.
I made personalised cufflinks for Scott and the groomsmen; Scott’s had quotes from our readings whilst the groomsmen all had quotes relating to their role/ relationship or details about the day. To complete the look, I bought Scott a personalised pocket watch as his wedding present.
Our bridesmaids wore dusky pink floor-length dresses from House of Fraser and ivory fur shrugs and the groomsmen wore three piece suits to match the grooms, all from Ashworth & Bird. All the groomsmen also had dusky pink cravats.
The pageboys – our 18 month old nephews – wore grey suits with ivory waistcoats and cravats from Roco Clothing.
As transport we hired a 1937 Rolls Royce from Yesteryear Cars. It went perfectly with our vintage style and we loved that it was maroon rather than the usual white wedding car.
Chris of Chris Chambers Photography took our wedding photos. Chris was recommended to us and when we saw his style we knew that’s what we wanted. Not only does he take amazing photos, he is also really friendly and professional. We had an engagement shoot a few weeks ahead of the wedding which was great for getting used to the camera and Chris’s photos were so good we knew we didn’t need to worry about them at all. We would definitely recommend him – all the photos are incredible so it’s really hard choosing them for the album!
On the day I had a loose bouquet with ivory and dusky pink roses, ranunculus and hyacinth, wrapped in a ribbon made from the same fabric as my dress. The bridesmaids all had small versions of my bouquet. They were by BlossEm. Emily there is a fantastic florist; she has so much style and as soon as we met her we knew the flowers would be absolutely amazing. I was completely in love with my bouquet which looked, and smelled, beautiful.
Emily also made little bunches of gypsophila for our hair, instead of hairpieces. The groomsmen had buttonholes made with similar flowers but with small game bird feathers and the page boys had small gypsophila buttonholes.
Bloss Em provided all the flowers for the reception too. We had small bouquets at the ends of the aisles in the Top Hall. For the tables we had candelabras filled with flowers, complemented with game bird feathers – as it got dark the candles gave the room a really warm, romantic feel. The top table was filled with small vases and bottles full of flowers. Emily also made a garland for the balcony, filled with fairy lights. It was breath taking when we walked in and saw how beautiful the room was.
I had seen some lace chair hoods on Pinterest which were perfect for the reception but couldn’t find any UK stockists, so I whipped out the sewing machine and made my own! I also made lace table runners. They really softened the look and added to the vintage feel.
I bought signs and other bits and pieces in the run up to the wedding as and when I saw them to add to the decor. Instead of a guest book we had a white ‘wishing tree’ decorated with wicker hearts. My sister made tags to match the stationery which guests could write their wishes on.
As favours we made sloe gin using sloe berries that we had collected last winter and put it into personalised bottles made by my sister. The little ones had similar bottles filled with pink and white jelly beans, to match the wedding colours.
For our wedding cake we had a magnificent croquembouche (a French dessert consisting of choux pastry balls bound with threads of caramel) made by Thierry Dumouchel. It was delicious and definitely had the wow-factor!
We wanted traditional but delicious food and our caterers Dine definitely delivered. Canapés included mini Yorkshire Puddings and Roast Beef and the wedding breakfast was Potted Shrimp, Sirloin Steak and Crème Brulee. We had bacon and sausage sandwiches in the evening, which were just the ticket after a few drinks!
As entertainment we had Silver Strings quartet for the ceremony and reception which complemented the classic styling. They even played the theme from Scott’s favourite movie – Indiana Jones.
In the evening we had a DJ sourced by Dine. We wanted everyone to get up and dance on the evening so we kicked things off with our first dance, Power of Love by Huey Lewis & The News (from another classic movie, Back to the Future). The DJ said it was the first time in ten years he has played that as a first dance!
We also had a photobooth, run by Chris Chambers. It was great to see everyone from the toddlers to the nannas embrace their silly side!
To make the day more personal we added in some special touches such as asking our grandmas to sign the register – it was so nice that they could be involved in a special part of the day.
We also named the tables after game birds – another nod to the country sports – and for the table plan I hand-drew a tree filled with the birds. Emily at Bloss Em complemented this with the feathers in the candelabra flowers. My very talented sister made all our beautiful wedding stationery and all our invitations were sealed with a personalised wax stamp – another little vintage touch.
I sewed little trinkets into my dress for ‘old’, ‘blue’ and ‘borrowed’. My old was a tiny horseshoe charm which has been the ‘old’ for my mum and sister’s weddings before mine. My ‘borrowed’ was a pendant which Scott’s Nanna always wore. She passed away a few years ago so it was a way to have her with us on the day. I also had a small blue bow.
We would definitely recommend Nostell Priory to other wedding couples. The whole venue is stunning but especially the Top Hall. Craig at Dine was brilliant, accommodating every little detail and putting up with all my ‘bridezilla’ moments! His attention to detail on the day was second to none and he really did make sure everything was perfect.
After the wedding we had a few days in Oxford before jetting off for a week in Jamaica and a week in Barbados. It was nice to be able to relax together in the sun after spending so many months wedding planning. I think the highlight was swimming with turtles – it was an incredible experience.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to enjoy every minute, from the engagement until the last day of the honeymoon. Oh and, do what you want to do – everyone will love being a part of your day simply because it is yours.
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